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Published: Thursday, February 08, 2018 @ 9:53 AM
Columbus — Convicted murderer James L. Dunson makes about $40 a month at his state prison job — money that he’d like to spend on medical co-pays, deodorant and other personal items — but every cent of it is garnished by Montgomery County to whittle down the bill for his court costs.
Dunson is arguing in court that the garnishment is cruel and unusual punishment, prohibited by the Constitution. The American Civil Liberties Union, Southern Poverty Law Center and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law agree with Dunson and are lending him support in his case before the Ohio Supreme Court.
The trio of civil rights groups filed an amicus brief in the case this week and cited a recent letter from Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor sent to judges statewide last month, reminding them that “courts are centers for justice, not automatic teller machines whose purpose is to generate revenue for governments, including themselves.”
“It would violate the U.S. Constitution to require indigent criminal defendants who exercise their right to trial to pay court costs they cannot afford,” the ACLU and others said in their supporting brief filed in Dunson’s appeal.
Prisoners earn between 21 cents and $1.23 an hour.
Dunson and his legal team want the Ohio Supreme Court to uphold a 2nd District Court of Appeal ruling that trial courts must evaluate a defendant’s ability to pay before assessing court costs. Mongtomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck appealed that decision to the supreme court, arguing that there is no law requiring a trial court to consider an inmate’s ability to pay court costs. Heck also argues that inmates can apply for waivers from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to exempt them from garnishment.
Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 2:04 AM
TROTWOOD — The Montgomery County Coroner has been requested to a fiery crash in Trotwood.
The crash was reported around 1:20 a.m. in the 5200 block of Little Richmond Road. Initial reports indicated one person was trapped in the car after the car crashed and caught fire.
Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 1:47 AM
DAYTON — A man got into a physical altercation with at least one Dayton police officer and pepper sprayed the official, prompting a ‘Signal 99’ officer assistance call early Friday morning.
The incident was dispatched as a fight in the 100 block of N. Wright Avenue around 1:15 a.m., per initial reports.
Officials from several jurisdictions in Montgomery County responded to the call.
The man, who was reportedly injured as a result of the ordeal, was transported to Grandview Medical Center.
Officials say the individual was also resisting arrest.
Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 1:05 AM
DAYTON — A vehicle crashed into an apartment building on Jewelstone Drive and the driver fled the scene early Friday morning, officials said.
OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Teenager, reportedly on bike, and car collide on Heaton Avenue in Dayton
The incident was dispatched as crash in the 3000 block of the Brownstone Apartments just after midnight, per initial reports.
There were no reported injuries to anyone inside the apartment, according to authorities.
Published: Wednesday, May 16, 2018 @ 2:44 AM
Updated: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 1:29 AM
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