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Man wins the battle for new sentence hearing, but loses the war

It's definitely a case of "winning the battle but losing the war," for a convicted sexual offender in Ohio.

The man, a former attorney, was convicted in 2014 of several sexual offenses, many involving former clients. He was convicted of a total of nine charges, including one rape charge and one kidnapping charge -- but acquitted of two other charges where prosecutors couldn't make their case.

After the conviction, the man was sentenced to a total of 13 years behind bars. The judge ordered him to serve consecutive terms, nine years over the rape and then another four for kidnapping. The man promptly appealed the sentence, saying that it was unfair. The higher court agreed that he should have a new sentencing hearing because the kidnapping and rape sentence should have been merged, since the charges essentially arose from the same act.

Once the appellate court ruled, the man was taken back to the trial court for a new hearing -- this time before a different judge than the one who had passed down his sentence after the initial trial. He was not due an entirely new trial, just a new sentencing evaluation and hearing -- although he quite obviously hoped that the new sentence would be more favorable.

Unfortunately, when the judge reissued the man's sentence, she combined the rape and kidnapping sentences per the appellate court's order into a nine-year sentence and tacked on four years for one of the other charges -- that of sexual battery. She then ordered those to be consecutive terms. In essence, the man will still end up serving 13 years for his crimes.

The judge said that she felt that the consecutive sentences were merited by the facts of the case because the ex-attorney had abused his influence and power over his victims, violating a very sacred trust. She further stated that, had she been the original judge, she would have made the sentence much stiffer.

Cases like this illustrate how the quirks of the law can often surprise even those who know it well -- particularly in proceedings involving technical appeals.

Source: Marion Star, "Ex-attorney convicted of rape, sexual assault keeps 13-year sentence," Sarah Volpenhein, March 27, 2018

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