History: A case involving a 10 year old child rape victim was postponed 18 times primarily by defense and a couple times by the state over a three year period. The emotional strain of preparing for the trial every couple months over the three year period only to be met with more continuances diminished the impact of counseling services and had taken its toll on the child and parents. At 10 years old she was a sociable active straight A student; now 13 she was struggling to maintain C & D grades, dropped out of all sports activities, missed a considerable amount of school, and had become withdrawn and isolated. The child’s parents were denied the right to be present during proceedings and victims objections to the numerous continuances were never presented by the prosecutor to the court as statutorily required. The case had just been continued again for three months later and the parents, feeling there was no end in sight and wanting for their child to begin her healing and recovery, were considering requesting the charges be dropped.
Violations: Prosecutor’s Office - Victims Right to Object to Substantial Delay in Prosecution Ohio Revised Code 2930.08; Victim’s/Parents Right to be Present at Trial Ohio Revised Code 2930.09
Status: The Justice League met with the elected prosecutor and informed of speedy trial and right to be present violations. The prosecutor contacted the judge and the trial date was set within 2 weeks. The prosecutor also honored the parent’s right to be present. The Justice League is working with the prosecutor on developing victims’ rights policies and procedures & training to ensure that the violations do not continue and that prosecutors present victims objections to substantial delay to court as required by law so that we can ensure victims cases do not unnecessarily drag on for 3 years. Case will remain open until victims’ rights policies and procedures have been adopted and prosecutors have received victims’ rights training.