OACDL Joins National Organizations in Successful Defense of One of Its Members
State of Ohio v. Brian Jones, Esq.
RE: State of Ohio v. Brian Jones, Esq.
Case No. 2008‐P‐0018
The Eleventh District Court of Appeals overturned the criminal contempt conviction against Attorney Brian Jones imposed by Judge John Plough in the Portage County Municipal Court, Kent Branch on August 16, 2007. The decision can be viewed on the Portage County website at www.co.portage.oh.us (link to decision) Mr. Jones was held in contempt after refusing to proceed to trial in a criminal matter as he had received the case file only one (1) day earlier. At the time, Mr. Jones served as an Assistant Public Defender in the office of the Portage County Public Defender's office. He had graduated from law school approximately four (4) months earlier.
Because the contempt finding was seen as egregious and contrary to the fundamental principles of the criminal justice system, lawyers across the United States rendered assistance in the case. Parties to this action included the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Ohio Public Defender's office, the United States Public Defender's office, the Jacob Burns Center for Ethics in the Practice of Law, the Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics, the University of Miami School of Law's Center for Ethics and Public Service. Additionally, an amicus brief was filed by Jenner & Block, L.L.P. in New York.
The importance of this case cannot be overstated. The Eleventh District Court of Appeals recognized that all individuals charged with a criminal offense are presumed innocent. As such, they are to receive not just a trial, but a fair trial. Additionally, the vital role of the criminal defense lawyer was respected and found to outweigh concerns for expeditious processing of criminal cases. This precedent is persuasive throughout the State of Ohio and may be cited by courts across the country.