Criminal Defense: Judicial Release
Prison in Ohio is a concept that most people, hopefully, don’t consider. The loss of liberty associated with a prison sentence is a scary thought. The reality is, if a person finds himself or herself accused of criminal conduct, going to prison is a very real risk. But Ohio provides an avenue for early release from prison called judicial release. In the past, judicial release was known as “shock probation.” It’s a unique power that the sentencing judge has to grant inmates early release from prison under certain circumstances.
If you or a family member or friend is currently serving a prison sentence in Ohio, Contact Attorney Jeffrey G. Edleman in Amherst, Ohio to discuss his or her eligibility for judicial release and the likelihood of a Judge granting it. We represent clients in Judicial Release motions in all eligible felony cases in Lorain County Common Pleas Court and in some adjoining counties.
Ohio Revised Code 2929.20 sets out the requirements for judicial release. Only eligible offenders qualify for judicial release. Eligible offenders cannot be serving a mandatory prison sentence. If the sentence includes a mandatory sentence, the offender must serve the mandatory time before the eligibility clock begins to run. Public officials serving a sentence for certain felonies cannot become eligible offenders. Eligible offenders may file for judicial release after serving a required amount of time in a state prison facility. Consecutive and concurrent sentences do not affect an offender’s eligibility for judicial release.
- If you are serving less than two years you can file at any time after beginning your sentence.
- If you are serving two years or more but less than five years you can file after 180 days.
- If your prison term is 5 years, you cannot file for release until after four years.
- If your prison term is more than 5 years but less than 10 years, you must serve five years.
- If your prison term is more than 10 years, you have to serve half your sentence or five years, whichever is greater.
Offenders essentially only have one chance for early release. The reason for this is partially because the court can deny the motion with or without a hearing. If the court denies the motion without a hearing, inmates can refile later as long as the first motion was not denied with prejudice. If the court holds a hearing and then denies the motion, game over, the offender is finishing out his or her sentence unless the court moves for early release. Needless to say that’s rare, to say the least. A hearing is required before the motion is granted.
The hearing must occur within 60 days after the motion is filed, but the court may delay up to 180 days. After the hearing, a decision is required within 10 days. If the court is going to deny the motion and not have a hearing it has 60 days.
All parties involved in the original action will receive notice of the hearing and an opportunity to be heard. The prison must provide the court with reports on successful rehabilitative activities, if any. The report will also include information about the inmate’s conduct at the prison and his or her participation in educational or vocational training, work, treatment and other rehabilitative activities along with any disciplinary action taken against the inmate.
Once the motion is granted, the offender is released from prison and placed on supervision, also known as community control, for 1 to 5 years, with the balance of the prison sentence suspended. If the offender violates community control, the court may put the offender back in prison to serve the balance of the prison sentence.
Jeffrey G. Edleman
Attorney At Law
260 S. Main St., Suite 108
Amherst, OH 44001
T: (440) 823-4077
F: (440) 984-3338