Bengals Player Arrested (Again).

Orson Charles, a Bengals Player, was arrested in Kentucky on March 31, 2014.  News reports from ESPN and other sources suggest that Charles was stopped by Richmond police on Interstate 75.  Another driver had complained to the police that Charles had pointed a fun while driving down the highway.

From the Cincinnati Enquirer:

Bengals fullback Orson Charles was arrested in Madison County, Ky., late Monday charged with wanton endangerment-first degree, according to the jail.

Charles allegedly pulled a gun during a road rage incident.

Wanton endangerment in the first degree in Kentucky is defined as when, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, someone wantonly engages in conduct which creates a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to another.

According to the NFL arrests database, this marks the seventh arrest of a Bengals player since 2012.

MKA Obtains a Reversal of a Felony Conviction in the Court of Appeals

An Ohio Court of Appeals has reversed a domestic violence felony conviction for a woman in Greene County.  Michael K. Allen & Associates represented the defendant.

The case is available to read here:  State v. Zumwalde,  2014-ohio-1285

In January, 2013, the defendant was arrested on a charge of domestic violence after an incident with her husband. She did not dispute that her conduct constituted the offense of domestic violence, but she challenged whether the State could prove that this was a felony offense. In Ohio, a second or subsequent offense of domestic violence is a felony. A first offense is a misdemeanor.

The Defendant had a prior conviction for attempted assault, but the indictment did not identify the victim of her previous conviction for attempted assault as a family or household member. The court said that she could not have been convicted of a felony:

Upon review, we conclude that by pleading no contest to “domestic violence,” as charged in the indictment, Zumwalde essentially admitted to nothing more than a misdemeanor of the first degree absent the essential element that the prior conviction involved a family or household member. Although the indictment charges Zumwalde with having previously been convicted of Attempted Assault, it does not charge that the offense resulting in that conviction involved a victim who was a family or household member at the time of the offense; therefore, the allegations set forth in the indictment in the case before us state, at most, a misdemeanor offense.

Dayton Traffic Cameras Case Coverage and Videos

The media covered the Dayton Traffic Cameras class action case pretty closely.

The Cincinnati Enquirer discusses prior traffic camera cases brought by Michael K. Allen & Associates:

Allen’s Downtown Cincinnati law firm, Michael K. Allen & Associates, sued and stopped at least two local villages from using speed cameras to ticket motorists and generate revenue: Elmwood Place in Hamilton County and New Miami in Butler County.

In the Elmwood Place case, a Hamilton County Common Pleas Court judge last year ruled the village’s three speed cameras that began operating in 2012 were illegal and ordered the village to shut them down.

Judge Robert Ruehlman called the cameras a money grab, describing them as “a scam motorists can’t win” and “a game of three-card Monte.”

* * * In the New Miami case, a Butler County Common Pleas Court judge recently ruled the village ignored “the basic tenants of procedural law” by enacting a similar system that was “strongly skewed in (New Miami’s) favor.”

The Dayton suit marks the first time Allen’s law firm has filed suit against a municipality for using red light cameras.

Mike Allens discussed the case on Fox19:
Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

[Read more...]

Dayton Traffic Cameras Complaint Now Available

The complaint filed in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court challenging the Dayton traffic cameras is now available.

Read it here:  Dayton Traffic Cameras Complaint

Mike Allen on WLW Discussing Class Action Lawsuit Against Dayton Traffic Cameras

Mike Allen spoke with Scott Sloan about the new lawsuit against speed and red light cameras in Dayton.

Press Conference Scheduled on New Dayton Traffic Camera Class Action Lawsuit

Michael K. Allen will hold a press conference to discuss the new class action lawsuit filed against the City of Dayton’s Traffic Cameras.


Tuesday March 25, 2014 – 2:00pm

Office of Michael K. Allen & Associates

5181 Natorp Blvd, Mason, OH 45040

According to the lawsuit, Dayton’s ordinance is unenforceable because it “fails to provide adequate due process to vehicle owners as guaranteed by the Ohio Constitution,” and because it unconstitutionally divests the Dayton Municipal Court of jurisdiction.

The Dayton automatic traffic enforcement system improperly relies on evidence generated by RedFlex, an Arizona Corporation. Motorists who receive a notice of liability can challenge the ticket in a hearing, but are unable to bring in witnesses, obtain discovery, or otherwise receive documents that might show that the system was not operating correctly.

Allen Photo

Judges in Hamilton and Butler counties have found that similar systems violated the due process rights of motorists. In a case brought by Allen against the Village of Elmwood Place, Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Ruehlman wrote that a similar hearing system was “nothing more than a high-tech game of 3 CARD MONTY. It is a scam the motorists can’t win.” Similarly, in a case brought by Allen against the Village of New Miami, Judge Michael Sage found that a civil administrative hearing system denied motorists due process rights because it ignored the “basic tenants of procedural law” and was “strongly skewed in [the Village’s] favor.”

The decision of a City to bypass a municipals court and establish a separate hearing system for automated traffic violations has also been found to violate the Ohio Constitution by two separate courts of appeals. That issue is presently before the Ohio Supreme Court, but a decision is not expected until the end of the year.

Michael K. Allen & Associates Files Class Action Lawsuit Against Traffic Cameras in Dayton


Breaking News:

Read the Full Press Release.

Michael K. Allen & Associates has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a handful of citizens against the city of Dayton, Ohio, challenging its use of traffic cameras. Today’s action follows other successful cases brought by the Firm against Elmwood Place in Hamilton County and New Miami in Butler County.  Motorists will ask a judge to throw out traffic tickets issued by Dayton’s automatic enforcement systems and refund their fines.   The Dayton lawsuit is joined by attorneys Tom Manning, of Dayton, and Paul DeMarco, of Cincinnati.

This action targets both speed cameras and red-light cameras run by Redflex Traffic Systems, the longest consistently operating company in photo enforcement with about 3,000 systems in 250 cities throughout the U.S. and Canada. Redflex shares ticket proceeds with the city of Dayton.

Michael Allen will provide additional information and be available for comment at a press conference at 2:00 at the Firm’s Mason Office. He stated, “Automatic traffic enforcement systems are often more about raising revenues for cash strapped municipalities than improving traffic safety. We are not saying that these devices can’t be a valuable law enforcement tool. We are saying that if the government wants to impose fines on citizens, it has an obligation to give the citizens a fair chance to defend themselves.”

Brief Filed in Elmwood Place Speed Cameras Appeal

Michael K. Allen & Associates filed a brief with the First District Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on Wednesday in the Elmwood Place Speed cameras case.

Read the brief here:  Elmwood Place Brief

The appeal involves two decisions by Judge Ruehlman in the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.

Michael Allen arguing against speed cameras in Elmwood Place

Michael Allen arguing against speed cameras in Elmwood Place

First, Judge Ruehlman had previously found the Village of Elmwood Place in contempt for continuing to schedule hearings and collect fines following an injunction shutting down the speed monitoring program.

Second, Judge Ruehlman had certified the case as a class action, meaning that all of the claims for refunds could be handled in a single case.

Mike Allen on 700 WLW at 9:00 a.m. this morning

sliderApparently some states’ AGs are trying to urge large retailers with pharmacies to stop selling tobacco products. Mike will talk about that topic this morning. Don’t miss it!

Ohio Supreme Court: Youth Is A Mitigating Factor in Sentencing

The Ohio Supreme Court has held that a court must separately consider the youth of a juvenile offender as a mitigating factor before imposing a sentence of life without parole for an aggravated murder committed by a juvenile.

The case is State v. Long, Slip Opinion No. 2014-Ohio-849.

Ohio Supreme Court

The 17 year old Defendant and his two codefendants were charged with several offenses, including aggravated murder, stemming from two separate shootings in March 2009. He was convicted following a jury trial and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.

The case arose, in part, under the  Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  This amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.  This includes the imposition of the death penalty and the imposition of life without the possibility of parole for nonhomicide offenses for juveniles.

The Supreme Court said that before a sentence of life without parole can be imposed on a juvenile, the court must consider the “defendant’s youth and its attendant characteristics.”  The United State Supreme Court has recognized that juveniles are  different from adults for purposes of sentencing, in part because juveniles have diminished culpability and greater prospects for reform.

The Ohio Supreme Court emphasized that there is no prohibition on the penalty of life without parole; only that a judge “follow a certain process—considering an offender’s youth and attendant characteristics—before imposing a particular penalty.”

The court said:

we expressly hold that youth is a mitigating factor for a court to consider when sentencing a juvenile. But this does not mean that a juvenile may be sentenced only to the minimum term. The offender’s youth at the time of the offense must still be weighed against any statutory consideration that might make an offense more serious or an offender more likely to recidivate. Yet because a life-without-parole sentence implies that rehabilitation is impossible, when the court selects this most serious sanction, its reasoning for the choice ought to be clear on the record.