Judicial Release for First & Second-Degree Felony Offenders


In State v. Orms, the state of Ohio appealed a Franklin County Court of Common Pleas’ decision to grant judicial release. Ohio’s 10th District Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision to grant judicial release, overruling the state’s objections.

The defendant pled guilty to one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and nine counts of money laundering. At the sentencing hearing, the court sentenced the defendant to four and a half years in prison. The defendant served six months of his sentence at which point he applied for judicial release – early release from prison – that the court granted.

In an appeal to the lower court’s decision, the state of Ohio claimed that the trial court erred and abused its discretion when it concluded that there was no economic harm nor organized criminal activity.

When determining whether an offender is eligible for early release from prison, the trial court that imposed the sentence must evaluate eligibility based on certain findings of fact. This defendant as sentenced for one second-degree felony and nine other third-degree felonies. In Ohio, in order to grant judicial release to an offender imprisoned for a second (or first) degree felony, the court must find that:

  1. A punishment other than prison time is adequate to both punish the offender for his or her offense and protect the public from future acts of a similar nature.
  2. A punishment other than prison time would not take lightly the severity of the offense committed.

The appellate court overruled the state’s assignments of error and affirmed the Franklin County Court’s decision to grant the offender early release from prison. Koffel Brininger Nesbitt has provided additional information about early release in Ohio if you are interested in learning more about the terms of judicial release for different degrees of felonies. Contact us today if you are interested in representation from one of our Columbus criminal defense attorneys.