Ohio Court of Appeals Orders Trial Court to Follow Ohio Expungement Law
Attorney Mathews of OhioExpungementLaw.com obtains a major victory for people applying for an expungement/sealing of record in Ohio.
The Case at Trial Court
Our client and “Defendant” applied to seal a conviction for Attempted Aggravated Vehicular Assault, a felony of the fifth degree. The Defendant’s conviction occurred several years before, he had no other convictions, and he was a law abiding citizen since the time of his conviction. Included in our brief was a letter from the victim who did not object to the expungement.
The prosecutor’s objected citing the exaggerated facts of the police and stating that the dangerous nature of the offense was reason not to grant the expungement. Based simply on the prosecutor’s objection, the court denied the Defendant’s expungement application without conducting any type of hearing.
All too often, Judges will accept what the prosecutor’s objections without following the requirements of the Ohio expungement statutes. We could not let this decision stand and appealed to the Court of Appeals. We argued that the Court erred in denying the application to seal the record without conducting a hearing, failing to follow the requirements as set forth in the Ohio Expungement Statute.
Ohio case law supported our argument. When considering the language of the statute governing sealing of records, the Ohio Supreme Court held both of these sections require that courts “shall set a date for a hearing” noting the mandatory obligation. This Court of Appeals has interpreted the statute as requiring a mandatory hearing and that each application for expungement must be set for hearing. Further, the Eighth District Court of Appeals has repeatedly held that an oral hearing is mandatory for an application to seal/expunge a criminal record.
The prosecutor argued that the decision to deny the application for expungement was the discretion of the court. We strongly disagreed. Judges cannot simply make a decision based upon anything they choose, they must follow the law.
Appeal Upheld and Expungement Granted
The Court of Appeals agreed with our argument and reversed the trial court’s decision. The court of appeals ordered the trial judge to conduct a hearing and pursuant to law. At trial, when we had the opportunity to fully present the history of the case, and evidence of all the good that our client had done for his family and the community since the incident, the trial Judge ruled in favor of our client and granted the expungement.
Our client was very happy to have the burden of being a felon removed and to have a second chance. He now plans on returning to school to advance his career.
Beyond our satisfied clients, this case will cause Judges to take notice that it is simply not enough to deny expungements if the prosecution objects. Rather, the Court of Appeals made it clear that Judges shall be required to comply with Ohio Expungement Law and conduct fair hearings in the future. It is our mission and goal that this case will serve to help other people who have made a mistake to obtain expungement and sealing of their records so they can also have a second chance.
Record Sealing/Expungement Firm
Our law firm has been in business and located in central Ohio since 1988. We know Ohio laws related to Sealing of Criminal Record and Expungement. As trial attorneys and former prosecutors, we have the knowledge and experience to have your criminal record sealed. We handle cases in all 88 counties of Ohio.
Contact our Ohio law firm for a confidential and free consultation. Our law firm emphasizes expungement and sealing of criminal records in Ohio.
State ex rel. Cincinnati Enquirer v. Lyons, 140 Ohio St.3d 7 (2014), 14 N.E. 3d 989
State v. Boddie, 170 Ohio App.3d 590 (2007), 868 N.E.2d 699.
State v. R.A., 8th Dist. Nos. 97550 & 97551, ¶ 6.