Evidence in a Sex Crimes Case in Cincinnati, OH
Ohio’s evidence rules in sex crime cases are specific and rigidly applied. State laws say that compelling testimony from an alleged sex offense victim could be all the evidence required for a conviction. As your defense attorney, we know the importance of presenting evidence that challenges such testimony. We also have experience implementing the types of strategies that can dismantle other evidence-based components of the prosecution’s case against you.
Joslyn Law Firm has handled more than 20,000 criminal cases in Ohio. We have the experience, and we have the passion to protect your rights as a criminal defendant. As a teen, Brian Joslyn was falsely accused of a crime and brutalized by police. You can count on this experience driving his every effort in defending you against the charges you face in Cincinnati.
Our firm is nationally recognized and locally respected. Joslyn is the recipient of multiple awards, including Columbus CEO magazine’s “Top Lawyer” award, Super Lawyers “Rising Star” award, and the National Trial Lawyers’ “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” award. Martindale-Hubbell has designated Joslyn an AV Preeminent attorney, which means he has been peer-rated for the highest level of professional excellence.
Our Defense Lawyers Know How Evidence Can Work for and Against You in a Sex Crimes Case in Cincinnati, OH
Ohio criminal laws state that a sex crime prosecutor must present evidence that convinces a jury of your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Our lawyers will challenge the prosecution’s evidence in an aim to strip their case down to one that fails to meet the state’s standard of proof.
In some instances, we can file a motion to suppress evidence that was wrongfully obtained, in violation of your Constitutional rights. If we succeed in proving this violation, the judge will throw out this evidence along with any connected evidence that police would have discovered were it not for the illegally obtained evidence.
Our legal team knows the judges, prosecutors, court staff, and probation officers that comprise Cincinnati’s court system. This deep familiarity empowers us to pick the right defense strategies to work in your case.
Our knowledge and passion for Ohio criminal law have earned us the status of subject matter experts for news media (The Cincinnati Dispatch, The Plain Dealer, NBC4, ABC 6, FOX28, and 10 WBNS) when they are writing or producing stories about the state’s criminal laws. We will put this knowledge and passion to work for you, too.
Joslyn Law Firm’s Cincinnati lawyers stand ready to get results in your sex crime case. Call our firm today for a free consultation: (513) 399-6289.
Information Center for Evidence in a Sex Crimes Case in Cincinnati, OH
- Overview of Evidence in a Sex Crimes Case in Ohio
- Types of Evidence Prosecutors Use to Prove Allegations of a Sex Crime
- Evidence for Defense Against Allegations of Sex Crimes
- Defenses Against a Sex Crime Charge in Cincinnati, OH
- Resources for Evidence in a Sex Crimes Case in Cincinnati, OH
- News About Evidence in a Sex Crimes Case in Ohio
- FAQs About Evidence in a Sex Crimes Case in Hamilton County
- Defense Lawyer for Sex Offenses in Cincinnati, OH
Overview of Evidence in a Sex Crimes Case in Ohio
When someone accuses you of a sexual offense in Cincinnati, their first course of action is to file a police report. A law enforcement officer will investigate the case, gathering all the evidence possible, then present it to the prosecuting attorney. Based on the strength of the evidence, the prosecutor’s office will decide whether it will file criminal charges against you for the alleged sexual offense.
The statute of limitations for prosecuting a sex crime in Ohio is six months for minor misdemeanors, two years for misdemeanors, and around six years for felony offenses.
You should know that Ohio Supreme Court decisions reinforce state evidence laws, which, in cases of rape, maintain that the credible testimony of the alleged victim is sufficient evidence for a conviction (See the Ohio Supreme Court case State of Ohio vs. Johnny Fortson). Even if the alleged victim later withdraws from the prosecution process, prosecutors can still press forward if they feel they have enough evidence.
Types of Evidence Prosecutors Use to Prove Allegations of a Sex Crime
A prosecutor keen on getting a conviction will not rest their case solely on the alleged victim’s testimony. They will support the victim’s statements with as much evidence as they can get their hands on—whether it is forensic, physical, or biological.
Common types of evidence in sex crime cases include:
- Semen, blood, saliva, and other forms of DNA evidence
- Bite marks
- Hair follicles
- Fibers from clothing
- Photos that show injuries, like bruising or bleeding
- Victim testimony
- Witness testimony
- Medical records
To obtain a conviction for a sex crime charge in Ohio, the prosecutor must provide evidence that convinces a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that sexual activity transpired and that it was not consensual.
Evidence for Defense Against Allegations of Sex Crimes
Ohio’s rape-shield law bars the admission of any evidence about an alleged rape victim’s previous sexual activity. The purpose of the rape-shield law is to protect sex abuse victims from “victim blaming.”
In a significant ruling in April 2020, the Ohio Supreme Court unanimously ruled that this law applies to both consensual and non-consensual sexual activity. The defense counsel in this case argued that the law applies only to consensual sexual activity, hindering evidence that paints the alleged victim as promiscuous and therefore responsible for somehow inviting or encouraging sexual activity.
The Supreme Court ruled this is not the case and that the rape-shield law also blocks admission of evidence pertaining to an alleged victim’s non-consensual sexual activity—from a previous sexual assault, for example.
Defenses Against a Sex Crime Charge in Cincinnati, OH
Even with the constraints imposed by Ohio’s rape-shield law, our sex crimes lawyers can strategically build your defense by raising any of several arguments, depending on the circumstances of your case.
If you look at case law in Ohio, consent constitutes a complete defense against rape charges, despite the fact that state law does not specify it as such. Provided the alleged victim was not impaired (intoxicated or otherwise incapable of consent due to physical or mental condition or age) and/or unable to give their consent, we can look for evidence via videos, texts, or witness statements that support an argument of consent.
If you and your accuser are married—or were married at the time of the alleged sexual battery, sexual imposition, or gross sexual imposition—Ohio law does not consider the activity to meet the definition of these crimes (Ohio R.C. 2907.023). Similarly, the state does not acknowledge rape as occurring within a marital relationship unless the individuals are separated and living in different residences.
Expired Statute of Limitations
As per Ohio R.C. § 2901.13, Ohio prosecutors have a window of time in which to prosecute an alleged sex offender. The deadlines differ depending on the offense:
- Rape: 25 years
- Sexual battery: 25 years
- Unlawful sexual conduct with a minor: 20 years
- Gross sexual imposition: 20 years
- Sexual imposition: 2 years
- Importuning: 6 years
- Voyeurism: 6 years (felony); 2 years (misdemeanor)
- Public indecency: 6 years (felony); 2 years (misdemeanor)
The only exceptions to these statutes of limitations arise when DNA evidence connecting the offender to the sex crime is discovered after the expiration of the legal deadline.
Sadly, any number of reasons exist for someone to concoct false allegations of a sex crime. It could be a matter of a misunderstanding, revenge, a bitter custody battle, or something even more sinister. If you have been falsely accused of committing a sex offense, your best bet is to say nothing and to avoid your accuser. Our attorneys will find evidence to refute your accuser’s testimony.
A key strategy in any sex crime defense is to dismantle the prosecution’s case by attacking the evidence they present. Our firm uses the exclusionary rule to weaken this case structure by removing pieces of evidence, brick by brick. We can challenge or refute key pieces of evidence—by calling out conflicting testimony, for example—and we can also move to suppress evidence that investigators obtained by violating our client’s constitutional rights.
Examples of arguments our lawyers can use to suppress evidence in a sex crime case include:
- Fourth Amendment violations: If investigators conducted an unlawful search and seizure (without a warrant or probable cause), the evidence they obtained in the process we would move to suppress, along with any evidence that would not otherwise have been discovered had it not been for the unlawfully obtained evidence (known as “fruit of the poisonous tree”).
- Miranda rights not read: Before interrogating a suspect in custody, police must inform the suspect of their right to remain silent, that anything they say can and will be used against them in a court of law, and that they have right to legal counsel. Confessions and other information obtained from a suspect’s statements when they have not been informed of these rights are inadmissible in court.
- Problems in Evidence Chain of Custody: Every piece of evidence the prosecution submits for trial goes through a rigid chain of custody, which includes documentation and specific protocols for handling and preserving the evidence. In response to a serious rape kit backlog, then Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine changed laws regarding this important evidence, giving law enforcement only 30 days to submit all rape kits collected in connection with a crime to a laboratory for testing. If this, or other links in the chain of custody are broken, we will move to have the affected evidence thrown out.
Our legal team will study every piece of evidence the prosecutor has collected in their case against you. We will work every legal angle to have as much evidence suppressed as possible. When the prosecution is left unable to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, it could drop the charges, or a judge could dismiss your case.
Resources for Evidence in a Sex Crimes Case in Cincinnati, OH
The Ohio Supreme Court heard arguments about the state’s rape-shield law and whether it blocks evidence of nonconsensual sexual activity in an alleged victim’s past. Cedric Jeffries, the appellant, argued that his jury trial wrongly prohibited the introduction of evidence that his accuser had previously suffered sexual assault by another individual. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the rape-shield law applied to evidence of both consensual and nonconsensual sexual activity.
The University of Cincinnati’s Public Safety Office provides important information for victims of sex crimes. This web page explains the various types of sex offenses a person might experience and the steps someone should take if they were the victim of a sex crime at the university.
The site also offers links to various counseling centers and psychological services on campus. The phone number for crimes committed on the University of Cincinnati campus is (513) 556-1111.
The Office of the Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney houses a Sexual Offender (SO) Unit, which comprises an assistant prosecuting attorney and an investigator. The unit helps the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department with monitoring sex offenders’ residences and registration requirements.
Besides reviewing criminal prosecution referrals that the Sheriff’s Department sends, the SO Unit also prosecutes offenders. The office is located at 230 E. Ninth Street, Suite 4000, in Cincinnati. You can reach the unit by phone at (513) 946-3000.
Visit this page, provided by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, to search its database of sex offenders. The Office updates the database with sex offender information, and enables the public to search by ZIP code, school district, address, and/or the sex offender’s name. You also have the option of signing up to receive sex offender-related updates and alerts via email.
The ODRC’s website provides pages of useful information regarding inmate transfers, correspondence, funds, and medical services. It also contains important details about visiting any of the facilities that fall under the DRC domain.
You can search for offenders using the ODRC online database and access mini webs for each of the ODRC institutions. The site features an online chat option. You can also opt to contact the ODRC via phone at (614) 387-0588.
News About Evidence in a Sex Crimes Case in Ohio
May 19, 2021
9ABC WCPO Cincinnati reports that evidence from a video chat with a Boone County inmate led to the arrest of Jessica Ahlbrand. Sheriff’s deputies watched the video chat and saw Ahlbrand and the inmate (the father of Ahlbrand’s 18-month-old child) laughing at photos of the child, who seemed to be under the influence and incoherent.
During the video chat, Ahlbrand also entered the child’s bedroom and performed sexual acts on herself in the child’s presence. The child has been taken into custody, and Ahlbrand was charged with a single count of sexual abuse of a victim under 12 years of age and criminal abuse of a child 12 or under.
April 23, 2021
Emotional testimony from a man who says he was raped 30 years ago led to a grand jury indictment of Catholic priest Geoff Drew. According to 9 ABC WCPO, the victim’s testimony will play a large role at trial. Other witnesses, including a man who also accused Drew of sexual assault, will offer their testimony at the trial, which is set for October.
ABC also reports that the prosecution will use internal Catholic church documents to support their case. Police in Green Township executed search warrants and seized computers, discs, Drew’s rental property, and church property. They also downloaded data from Drew’s mobile phone.
March 31, 2021
Anthony Pecord, a former police officer in Loveland, was convicted of gross sexual imposition, reports 9 ABC WCPO. When arrested, Pecord was charged with rape (two counts), and an additional six rape charges and eight counts of sexual battery, as added by a grand jury.
The man allegedly sneaked and gave an intoxicant to the victim and had sex with them while they were unable to give consent. Investigators discovered photographic evidence of the offense. The man was sentenced to a prison term of four years and will never again work in law enforcement.
December 11, 2020
Journal-News reports that Hamilton chiropractor Dr. Stephen Boyd faces 12 counts of gross sexual imposition, seven counts of sexual battery, four counts of rape, two counts of attempted sexual battery and one count of attempted rape.
Four patients filed complaints with the Ohio State Chiropractic Board, in which they accused Boyd of touching them in a sexual manner during treatment. While investigating the accusations, police served a search warrant on the man’s office and uncovered “sufficient evidence to charge him criminally,” Hamilton Police Chief Craig Bucheit told reporters.
National News About Evidence in Sex Crime Cases
July 7, 2021
This Time Magazine feature article explores the societal, cultural, and judicial environment that contributed to a judge overturning comedian Bill Cosby’s conviction for sexual assault. Although Cosby had been accused by more than 60 women of either rape or sexual assault, the case for which he was ultimately convicted was the only case for which the statute of limitations had not yet expired.
The court made no comment about Cosby’s innocence or guilt but ruled on overturning the 2018 conviction because of a violation of his Fifth Amendment right. When Cosby testified in a civil case in exchange for a prosecutor promising not to file criminal charges against the comedian, his right to avoid self-incrimination was violated.
FAQs About Evidence in a Sex Crimes Case in Hamilton County
Q. Is Victim Testimony Enough to Convict for a Sex Crime in Ohio?
- Ohio evidence laws state that the credible testimony of the alleged victim is sufficient evidence for a conviction. The Supreme Court referenced this law in its ruling on State of Ohio vs. Johnny Fortson.
Q. What Types of Evidence Do Prosecutors Use at Trial for a Sex Crime in Cincinnati?
- Testimony from the victim and witnesses are usually key types of evidence at an Ohio sex crime trial. Other commonly used evidence includes DNA, hair follicles, medical records, photos of injuries, and clothing fibers.
Q. What Is the Statute of Limitations for Prosecuting a Sex Crime in Hamilton County?
- The statutes of limitations for sex crimes in Ohio depend on the offense and how it is charged, as follows:
- Public indecency and voyeurism: 6 years (felony); 2 years (misdemeanor)
- Importuning: 6 years
- Sexual imposition: 2 years
- Gross sexual imposition and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor: 20 years
- Sexual battery and rape: 25 years
If new DNA evidence is discovered that connects an individual to a sex offense, this could extend the statute of limitations.
Q. Does Ohio Law Allow a Defense Attorney to Enter as Evidence an Alleged Victim’s Previous Sexual Activities?
- No, Ohio law prohibits defense counsel from presenting as evidence any of the alleged sex offense victim’s sexual activities—whether they were consensual or nonconsensual.
Q. How Long Does Law Enforcement Have to Submit a Rape Kit?
- A defense lawyer can raise the defense of “broken chain of custody” if law enforcement does not submit all the rape kits linked to a sex offense within 30 days.
Defense Lawyer for Sex Offenses in Cincinnati, OH
If you have been accused of a sex crime in Cincinnati, consider retaining legal counsel sooner, rather than later. The sooner you hire our firm, the better access we have to evidence that we could use in your defense.
The stakes are high when it comes to how you handle your defense. Ohio judges, prosecutors, and juries do not tread lightly on people who have been charged with a sex crime. With our experience, knowledge, and passion for protecting the rights of the accused in Cincinnati, you can rest assured that your case is in good hands.
Call Joslyn Law Firm today at (513) 399-6289 for a free consultation.