Question: I have a friend that is incarcerated in an Ohio Prison. He was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of felonious assault. He was sentenced to 20 years. He has served 7 of that so far. He didn’t have a trial, waived his rights, plead no contest and took a plea agreement. At the time he was covering for his then-girlfriend that was pregnant at the time with his child. We since have found out that she aborted the child right after he was sentenced. He says that he is pretty sure he knows who committed this crime. There also has been some inconsistencies with the case and some things were never brought to the judge’s attention. How can I go about helping his either 1, get his sentenced reduced or 2, get some sort of release or new trial?
Answer: You will need to retain a good criminal defense lawyer in your area. You should look for one who does a lot of post-conviction work. I would look to the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers at www.OACDL.com. Second, to get a new trial there will need to be “newly discovered evidence.” This window will not open if he himself decides to change his story and he knew this info since the beginning. What he will likely need is a witness to recant their testimony or a new witness to come forward with new evidence.
That said, there is still another option. In a few years, he will be eligible for judicial release. Those sentenced to more than 10 years are eligible after serving 10 years. If he has a good record from prison he at the very least has a chance to be granted judicial release. Keep in mind that there are a number of factors a judge considers and the prosecutor may still object to release. Again, this will require an experienced defense attorney from the area.