Those convicted of a crime that occurred in Ohio on or after June 30, 1996, may apply for judicial release if their prison sentence is for 10 years or less. Judicial release in Ohio is governed by Ohio Revised Code Section 2929.20. Those serving sentences that include “mandatory time” are not eligible for judicial release during the mandatory period, but they may be eligible afterward. If your prison sentence is for less than two years, you may file for judicial release after 30 days. If your prison sentence is for two to five years, you may file after 180 days. If your prison sentence is for more than five years, you may file after five years.
Prepare your paperwork to file for judicial release. Submit three documents: a motion for judicial release, a support memorandum and a certificate of service. The motion for judicial release is a formal court document outlining your request. It includes your name and background information and the case number from your conviction. Make your case in writing in the support memorandum. The Ohio Public Defender’s Office recommends including reflections on your prison experience, evidence that you have become a better person, lessons learned in prison, and your plans following your release. The certificate of service is your assurance in writing that you have mailed a copy of your motion to the prosecutor who oversaw your case.
File your judicial release motion with the court. You should send your motion and the appropriate copies to the county in which you were convicted. Each county has its own procedures and fees, but generally you will send several copies of all your paperwork to the county court clerk in charge of looking after and processing paperwork.
Attend the hearing if the judge orders one and requests your presence. The judge may deny your motion without a hearing, but he may not grant it without a hearing. If a hearing is granted, it must be scheduled within 60 days of the filing of your motion, but the court may postpone it for up to an additional 180 days. The judge will decide whether you will attend the hearing.
Wait for the judge’s ruling. If your request for judicial release is granted, the judge will place you on probation for one to five years. The time you are on probation will not be subtracted from your sentence: If you violate your probation, you may be required to serve the remainder of your original sentence. If your motion for judicial release is denied, be sure to note whether the judge indicated if it was denied with or without prejudice. A dismissal with prejudice means you may not make another request for judicial release. A dismissal without prejudice allows you to make another request for judicial release.
The information in this article does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.
You may file for judicial release with or without the assistance of an attorney.
Mike Bell has been writing professionally since 2006. He wrote for and edited the "Independent Florida Alligator," and has also contributed to the "St. Petersburg Times," "Orlando Sentinel" and "Miami Herald." With a Bachelor of Science in journalism, Bell is now a student at the University of Florida Levin College of Law.