We’ve been getting a lot of questions about judicial release due to the emergence of COVID-19 in Ohio’s prisons. The first and most frequent question is whether we can file judicial release motions on behalf of Ohio’s prisoners.Criminal Defense Lawyer

We can file motions for judicial release on behalf of Ohio’s prison inmates.

Attorney Sean Buchanan is an experienced criminal defense lawyer with Slater & Zurz LLP who has represented clients throughout the state of Ohio on a wide variety of cases. He has successfully defended numerous criminal defendants on the merits of the charges against them, and has represented prison inmates seeking judicial release. He will answer any questions you may have, and, assuming that you are eligible, can file a motion for judicial release on your behalf, and represent you in all proceedings pursuant to the motion.

Most prisoners are eligible for judicial release—some sooner than others.

Prisoners convicted of most offenses are eligible to file for judicial release at some point. Each case varies depending on the specific charges. Timing is the most critical question concerning eligibility. There is a specified period of time, based on the length of the sentence, that an inmate must serve before becoming eligible for judicial release. Sometimes that time period can be difficult to calculate because of the variations in sentencing for similar offenses.

Judicial release cannot reduce any mandatory time that’s included in any inmate’s sentence. Not all offenses have mandatory time. However, firearms offenses and higher-level drug charges often carry a mix of mandatory and non-mandatory time. We can let you know whether your sentence includes mandatory time and the length of that time, as well as the date when you are or will be eligible for judicial release.

We’ll look into the facts of your case, your conduct in prison, and your future prospects.

We begin every judicial release case by requesting your conduct report. How an inmate has behaved in prison is an essential part of every judicial release case. We then review the sentencing entry in your case to determine (1) whether you’re eligible, and (2) if you’re not yet eligible, the date when you will be eligible. If you are eligible or will be shortly, we’ll speak with you, your family, and others to determine what supporting information we can present to the court to make the strongest case in your favor.

Courts want to know not only what you’ve done with your time in prison, but also whether you’ll have family and economic support if you’re released. While a court may begin its review with a focus on the charges that resulted in your incarceration, we‘ll do our best to present evidence that you’re more than just a prison number—that you’re a devoted parent or son, that you’ve demonstrated yourself to be a dedicated worker, that you have strong community ties, or whatever sets you apart in a positive way.

How long the process takes is ultimately up to the court.

Every case is different, but generally we can get your conduct record within 30 days and file the motion itself within 45 days. How long the court then takes to schedule hearings and make a decision varies greatly among different courts and even specific judges in the same court. Unfortunately, a court’s scheduling is out of our hands.

The court may or may not schedule a hearing and permit you to appear.

Each court has leeway to conduct the process in its own way. In many cases you may not be permitted to appear at the initial court hearing, but would be able to make an appearance at a second hearing. The court can also deny the motion without holding a hearing at all. We will make every effort to see that a hearing is scheduled to enable you to make your own case—to look the judge or magistrate in the eye, to address any issues he or she might have, and to demonstrate that regardless of the circumstances that resulted in your incarceration, you have the potential and the determination to be an asset to your community going forward if released.

We will work with your family and communicate with you by phone as much as possible.

Unfortunately, because of the COVID-19 restrictions, an in-person visit with you at the prison is difficult if not impossible. However, we will work closely with your family, your case worker, and you whenever you have access to a phone. We’ll do all we can to expedite your case.

How much will a motion for judicial release cost?

We charge a flat fee of $1,000 for judicial release motions. This fee includes our review of your sentencing documentation, consultation with your family member(s), research concerning issues specific to your case, communication with you, preparation of the motion, and participation in any court hearings.

Trust Slater & Zurz to handle your motion for judicial release.

We understand the concerns that you and your loved ones may have in light of the presence of COVID-19 in so many state institutions at this time. If you’ve served the amount of time necessary to qualify for judicial release, we’re here to help you.

If you believe you may be eligible for judicial release, contact Slater & Zurz at 1.888.534.4850