At Patituce & Associates, we are excited to announce that our team, along with the help of several others, has achieved a huge win on behalf of one of our clients accused of rape. In a unanimous decision, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld the Eighth District Court of Appeals’ ruling that the trial court should not have admitted certain 404(B) evidence and a new trial must take place without that evidence.
Testimony About Past Crime Allowed at Trial
A woman claimed that, in October of 2015, our client, Mr. Hartman, raped her in a hotel room. Mr. Hartman maintained that the sexual encounter was consensual.
During the trial, the prosecutor called our client’s stepdaughter to testify. She recounted an incident in which Mr. Hartman entered her bedroom and assaulted her.
Attorney Joseph C. Patituce objected to the testimony as evidence. He argued that the incident involving Mr. Hartman’s stepdaughter was not related to the current case. Allowing it would serve only to influence the jurors against our client.
Despite Attorney Patituce’s objection, the trial court allowed the testimony. The jurors entered a guilty verdict on two counts of rape. However, they found our client not guilty of burglary and kidnapping.
A Long Legal Battle
At Patituce & Associates, we refuse to lose, especially when evidence the prosecutor introduces has a prejudicial effect on the case. We appealed the trial court’s decision to the Eighth District Court of Appeals and achieved victories.
Eventually, we took the matter up to the Ohio Supreme Court. But we didn’t do it alone. The fight for Mr. Hartman was a concerted effort between our team and others in the legal field.
Attorney Megan Patituce was instrumental in writing compelling briefs and arguments for our client. The appellate attorneys at the Cuyahoga County Public Defender’s Office helped prepare for the case and provided incredible oral argument advice. Russ Bensing assisted in developing a strong amicus brief. Attorney Patituce delivered the oral arguments.
In a 7-0 decision, the Ohio Supreme Court agreed with the Eighth District Court of Appeals in reversing our client’s convictions and remanding the case for a new trial without the stepdaughter’s testimony. It asserted that, although such testimony may be admitted in some cases, it was not appropriate in Mr. Hartman’s. The prior incident was unrelated to the alleged offense that occurred in October of 2015.
We are proud of our team’s work on this case and grateful for the amazing help we received to obtain this victory.
If you’ve been charged with a crime in Cleveland, turn to Patituce & Associates for your defense. We expend all resources to seek the best possible outcome.