Prosecutors seek mandatory jury trials

Associated Press


Ohio prosecutors say they’re not giving up in their efforts to pass a law that would allow them to demand that criminal defendants undergo a trial by jury.

The proposal by the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, which was before lawmakers this year and in the past, is aimed at situations where defendants waive their rights to a jury trial and demand a judge hear the case instead.

Occasionally, prosecutors believe a judge will not provide a fair hearing and they want the ability to demand a jury trial, said John Murphy, a lobbyist with the prosecuting attorneys association.

“The only time we run into problem is when this particular judge won’t give us a fair hearing for one reason or another,” Murphy said. “Some judges have particular views on cases we disagree with.”

Several prosecutors testified before House and Senate committees this year in support of the measure, which passed in the House but died in the Senate earlier this month. It would apply only to serious crimes.

“Prosecutors and the victims of crimes should have the same choices as the criminals,” Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci told the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year.

“In a time when we have finally come to recognize not only the rights of the criminally accused, but also the rights of the victims of their crimes, giving the victims, through the State, some say in the use of a jury at trial seems only fair,” he said.

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