Appeals Court Ruling States Jury Should Have Received Instructions on Lesser Offense

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A recent decision from the 10th District Court of Appeals found that a trial jury should have received instructions about a lesser offense in a case involving aggravated assault. The case involved a man who had been convicted of felonious assault for having a weapon under disability from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. In his appeal, the man argued that the jury did not receive instruction on aggravated assault and a lesser included offense.

The largest issue in the case involved whether the defendant should have been convicted of a lesser aggravated assault charge rather than felonious assault. Under state law, felonious assault occurs when a victim suffers serious physical harm. However, a lesser aggravated assault law states that a crime occurs when a person acts under sudden passion brought on by serious provocation from the victim.

It was revealed that the defendant in this case had committed the assault after the victim propositioned his girlfriend's son – who was seven at the time. The defendant claims he had been acting on the belief that the victim asked the boy for oral sex. This, the appellate court found, would qualify as serious provocation and therefore possibly allow the defendant to be convicted of the lesser aggravated assault charge. The appeals court rules that the trial court should have allowed the jury to consider the lesser offense.

This ruling highlights the many procedures involved in criminal trials. If certain steps are missed or any failures made, it can significantly compromise defendants and subject them to wrongful convictions or unfair sentencing. At The Koffel Law Firm, our Columbus criminal defense lawyers make sure to protect the rights of our clients during all stages of their legal journeys.

If you or someone you love has been charged with a criminal offense and would like to discuss your case and rights, call 614-675-4845.

UPDATE: Ohio is now providing an informative video to potential jurors to brief them on the process. Learn more.