Judicial Release is a type of early release that is granted by a judge. On September 30, 2011, House Bill 86 went into effect, during which time it made two significant changes to the prior Judicial Release law:
- The 10 year sentence cap was eliminated; therefore, if an inmate was otherwise eligible, he or she could file for Judicial Release even if their total sentence, including mandatory time exceeded 10 years.
- The inmate's eligibility date is determined in part by his or her total non-mandatory time.
Ohio's new judicial release law applies to any judicial release decision made on or after September 30, 2011. It doesn't matter where the crime took place or when the inmate was sentenced. If the judge rules on the motion on or after September 30, 2011, the new law is the one that applies.
An inmate is not eligible if they are serving only a mandatory sentence. The inmate must be serving at least one non-mandatory sentence. An inmate is not eligible during any period that they are serving a mandatory sentence.
Once judicial release is granted, any time the inmate has remaining on their sentence will become suspended time, and the inmate will be given 1 to 5 years of community control, which is local supervision. If the inmate completes the entire 1 to 5 years successfully, then the suspended time will disappear and the inmate will not have any further postrelease control (state supervision).
If an inmate violates the terms of their community control, the court could re-impose the remaining portion of their sentence. If the court elects to do so, the inmate faces further postrelease control (state supervision) once the inmate completes their prison sentence.
Please note, if you do not want time on community control, do not file for judicial release.
Filing for Judicial Release
If you are interested in applying for judicial release, we will need to file a motion. It is always recommended that you go through an attorney to file any motions with the court.
When we file the motion, we want you to be aware that the most important aspect of the motion is the Memorandum. This is where you explain to the judge why you believe that early release is appropriate in your case. You will have to explain to the judge what you have learned from the experience of coming to prison and you will want to discuss any institutional programs that you successfully completed.
The judge will want to hear specifically what you plan to do to break the cycle of criminal behavior in your life. Your plan should include inpatient or outpatient treatment, your support network, as well as avoiding negative places and people. The court will want to know where you plan to live, if you have employment lined up or a source of income available, as well as any other community resources such as a supportive family.
As you can see, a lot of careful thought and planning needs to go into your motion for judicial release. Since there are various stipulations based on when you can file, it's important to discuss your eligibility with a Columbus criminal defense attorney from The Meranda Law Firm LTD. We believe that judicial release is an excellent opportunity for those who qualify. We encourage inmates and their loved ones to contact our office to take advantage of our free case evaluation. We can be reached at (614) 707-4239.