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Columbus Divorce Law Blog

Two men arrested on multiple offenses involving heroin

Heroin use is a growing issue in Ohio and across the country. The increased availability of the drug and its addictive qualities make it a growing target for law enforcement. With that in mind, law enforcement authorities in many states are taking steps to pursue those they believe are distributing heroin, and in some cases they are seeking stringent penalties to dealers who have been connected to a fatal overdose. An example of the police making arrests when it comes to violation of heroin laws recently occurred in New York.

Two men were placed under arrest after a seizure of $30 million worth of heroin in police operations in Yonkers and the Bronx. According to law enforcement, a vehicle belonging to one of the suspects contained 22 bricks of a powdered version of the drug. It was hidden in a compartment in the trunk.

Officers crack down on drug offenses on Ohio highways

It was reported on Sept. 30 that Ohio authorities were involved in a six-state crackdown that ran from Sept. 24 to Sept. 27. In total, 37 felony drug arrests were made on Ohio's highways alone. The other states involved in the crackdown included Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Michigan, Kentucky and Indiana.

According to a spokesperson for the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the goal of the crackdown was to reduce felony crimes that were occurring on public roadways. The authorities also made 155 misdemeanor arrests for offenses related to marijuana possession. Ohio authorities have been cracking down on unsafe drivers or those believed to be involved in drug-related crimes throughout the summer of 2015. For example, officers targeted distracted driving, speeding and safety belt violations on the state's highways.

Overdose deaths plague Ohio

Ohio residents may have heard about some of the actions local authorities are taking to reduce the alarmingly high rate of heroin overdose-related deaths occurring in the state. According to statistics, almost 1,000 residents are dying from these overdoses every year. This number is four times higher than it was in 2008. As a result, many alleged heroin dealers are facing greater enforcement from local police and prosecutors.

Authorities are now pursuing the people who purportedly sold the drugs to the person who died from an overdose. Investigators are now reviewing some of these decedents' phone records for any data indicating who may be responsible for selling them the heroin. The dealer may be charged with involuntary manslaughter for the death and face incarceration if convicted.

Man sentenced to life in prison for heroin says he's innocent

On Sept. 14, a man in Ohio was sentenced to life in prison after maintaining his innocence throughout the entire trial. The 33-year-old man is accused of acting as the leader of a heroin-trafficking ring in a notoriously dangerous section of Cleveland's East Side. The man is one of 60 people who were issued federal indictments in 2013 after an investigation called Operation Fox Hound.

Authorities working on Operation Fox Hound reportedly used undercover buys and wiretaps to obtain information about the accused man and his alleged accomplices. While stating that he never dealt heroin, the defendant repeatedly questioned the validity of the prosecutions' evidence during the trial. In June, a jury found the man guilty of conspiring to possess and sell heroin and use a communication facility to facilitate a drug trafficking offense. After his sentencing hearing, the man told his relatives that he plans to appeal the convictions.

Teen accused of underage rape removed from sex offender list

Ohio residents may be interested to learn that a 20-year-old Indiana man who confessed to having sex with a 14-year-old will be removed from the Michigan sex offender registry. The case made national headlines after the girl confessed to claiming that she was 17 at the time of the encounter.

The young man, then 19 years of age, stated that he met the girl online. The girl reportedly told him that she was 17, though she was really 14. They met near her Michigan home in December 2014. The girl's mother reportedly called the police after not being able to contact her daughter. Because Michigan's age of consent is 16, the man was facing charges even though the girl's mother requested leniency. The man ultimately pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for which he spent 75 days in jail for. However, he was also facing being listed as a sex offender for 25 years.

Father wins custody of child placed for adoption

As Ohio residents may have heard, a father in South Carolina was recently granted full custody of his child after going to court in a unique case. He and his former girlfriend had conceived a child, and he was led to believe he and his girlfriend were going to live together and raise the child. Without his knowledge, the child was born and placed with an out-of-state adoptive family.

Over 25 states across the country, including Ohio, maintain a registry where expectant fathers are notified if their child is placed for adoption. After being told that his daughter had been adopted, the South Carolina man went to court to request custody and won after showing that he had been lied to by the child's mother.

The use of plea bargains

As some Ohio residents may know, criminal courts around the country are overburdened with a large number of cases. In order to alleviate some of the problems associated with this, the process of plea bargaining is used in a great majority of situations. Deciding if a plea bargain is appropriate in a particular case depends on a series of factors.

Plea bargains may be used to help decrease the case load while possibly lowering the charges and potential jail time for the defendant. Essentially, a plea deal is a swap. In it, a defendant accepts a guilty plea in exchange for concessions by the prosecution. With the introduction of mandatory minimum sentences imposed on the courts allowing for little if any judicial discretion, such mandatory minimums require prison terms of a specific duration with little room for variance. In some cases, a plea bargain is a way for a defendant to reduce his or her sentence, assuming that a potential jury trial would result in a guilty verdict.

How divorce mediation affects children

When an Ohio couple is heading for divorce, they often face court dates and meetings with attorneys. Not only can this process interrupt the daily lives of everyone involved, it can be expensive and cause stress in the relationships between the family members. For those who wish to avoid this, divorce mediation is an alternative.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner opted to go this route when dealing with their divorce. The former couple, who have three young children, have reportedly chosen to co-parent after their marriage ends. Through mediation, they are allegedly attempting to come to a solution that works for everyone without conflict. Because mediators are neutral third parties, they are in the position to help the family work through a major emotional event without causing more conflict.

New school year may merit new child custody arrangements

The start of a new school year is a good time for co-parents in Ohio to assess child custody arrangements. A custody schedule negotiated when children were younger may no longer fit the children's or parents' schedules.

An important consideration for co-parents is open communication. Objective communication confirming pick-up and drop-off times and locations serves the interests of the children and avoids children being picked up late or being left without adequate supervision. Smartphone apps are available to assist parents in maintaining custody schedules and in communicating with each other regarding custody arrangements or other issues.

Sexual battery law in Ohio

In Ohio, sexual battery is defined in the Ohio Revised Code. The codified law outlines both the type of conduct that is proscribed as well as the types of relationships between the two people that will make the behavior sexual battery. The law also makes sexual battery a third-degree felony when victims are older than age 13. It is a second-degree felony when the victim is under age 13.

According to ORC 2907.03, sexual battery is sexual contact between a person and another who is not the person's spouse. In order to meet the criteria for the offense, the contact must be obtained be obtained by knowing coercion, done when the other person is too impaired to consent, done when the other person doesn't know that sexual conduct is occurring or done by making the other person believe that the offender is the person's spouse.

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