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Oct. 26, 2011
Criminal and Juvenile Sentencing Law Review

Judges and lawyers across the state are studying how Ohio House Bill 86 changes the way they issue sentences in criminal cases and are learning about the new law through training seminars.

House Bill 86 went into effect on Sept. 30, and the changes in criminal sentencing laws include
shorter prison terms to reduce prison overcrowding, an increase in the threshold for felony theft from $500 to $1,000, and a thorough review of all parole-eligible inmates who are 65 years or older and have already had at least one parole hearing.

Those in the judicial branch are going to courses and webinar sessions to learn more about House Bill 86 and how it will affect their sentencing procedures.

“We prepared ‘cheat sheets’ to guide judges and others through the changes in sentencing and drug penalties,” David Diroll, executive director with the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission, said. “I’ll appear before various groups over the next couple of months to help people understand and apply the new rules.”

Juvenile judges will be educated on new laws concerning juvenile sentencing on Dec. 1 during a Judicial College course in Columbus.

The juvenile judges face new rules including one that states 14- and 15-year-olds can no longer be tried as adults. Youths who commit a serious crime must also pass a “competent” test to see if they are fit to stand trial.

Diroll said House Bill 86 “made the most significant changes in felony sentencing law in 15 years.”

Diroll said other training programs scheduled include: Chief Probation Officers on Nov. 3, acting judges with the Judicial College on Nov. 10 and the Marion County Bar Association on Dec. 2.