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Old 01-15-2005, 01:35 PM   #316
spookyfish
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That Wacky Issue 1!

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Originally posted by andViolins
Claim: Unwed abuse victims left unprotected under Issue 1

Ohio's new constitutional amendment aimed at denying special legal rights to gay and unmarried couples also may strip legal protections from thousands of unwed victims of domestic violence.

Legal and victim-advocacy circles are buzzing over motions from the Cuyahoga County public defender's office to dismiss domestic-violence charges against unmarried defendants.

The argument: that the charge violates the amendment to Ohio's Constitution known as Issue 1 by giving spouselike status and protection to victims who live with, but aren't married to, their accused attackers.

"The thing is, you can only get a domestic-violence charge now if you are a wife beater, not a girlfriend beater," said Jeff Lazarus, a law clerk for public defender Robert Tobik and chief architect of the motions to dismiss.

Issue 1 became law on Dec. 1, and none of the cases in Cleveland Municipal and Cuyahoga County Common Pleas courts has produced a judge's ruling yet. But the filings have stunned domestic-violence victims advocates, who expect that the office's novel tactic will start an avalanche of copycat pleadings across the state.

"It's a bad, bad thing," said Cathleen Alexander, director of the Domestic Violence Center in Cleveland. "We're very worried that some victims will not be granted the protection they need because they're not married. That could jeopardize people's lives.

"I think," she added, "that this is consistent with the law of unintended consequences."

Yet the public defender's tactic gives hope for opponents of Issue 1, which Ohio voters approved in November. Some lawyers who oppose the amendment say if a judge sides with the public defender's reasoning, the court could declare the amendment a violation of the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection under the law. Specifically, a married victim of domestic violence would have more protection than an unmarried neighbor beaten by a live-in lover, and married and unmarried defendants would be treated differently as well.

Alexandria Ruden, a Legal Aid Society domestic-violence lawyer and battered-women's advocate, said she hopes that instead of having the unintended consequence of undermining part of the domestic-violence law, Issue 1's unintended consequence will be its own self-destruction.

"Hopefully, instead of the [domestic-violence] statute, it will blow out the constitutional amendment," said Ruden, who co-authored a leading legal text on Ohio's domestic-violence law.

That, Lazarus acknowledged, is exactly why he concocted the public defender's line of attack.

"Personally, when I was brainstorming this, it was with an eye toward, 'How could we make this amendment look not so good?' " he said Wednesday.

Phil Burress, a leader in the drive to pass Issue 1, said the claim that it would undermine parts of the domestic-violence law "on its face is absolutely absurd." He dismissed the prospect of that as an unintended consequence as "a lot of hypotheticals."

Ohio's quarter-century-old domestic-violence law gives special criminal status to an assault by a family or household member and establishes unique protections for the victim. Courts also have consistently applied it to homosexual couples.

It is one of only two criminal offenses - along with menacing by stalking - that automatically gives the victim access to a protective order to keep the defendant away, and police are obligated to enforce it. Further, a violation of the protective order, or any second offense, "accelerates" misdemeanor domestic-violence charges to a felony.

The law treats anyone "living as a spouse" the same as a spouse when it comes to domestic violence: It defines domestic violence as an attack, or attempted or threatened attack, against a household member, and includes unmarried couples - so-called cohabitants.

Therein lies the rub, the public defender's office motions contend. The new amendment forbids any state or local law that would "create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design . . . of marriage."

Yet, that is exactly what the domestic-violence law does for unmarried couples living together, says Lazarus, a third-year law student who drew up the boilerplate motion to dismiss. The law, he wrote, "clearly creates a legal relationship between unmarried individuals."

"The two just completely butt heads," he said in an interview this week.

At least two of Lazarus' colleagues, assistant public defenders John Stanard and John Martin, filed the pleadings in felony cases this week. Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Stuart Friedman will hear arguments Jan. 27.

"We have some real serious issues here," Friedman said Thursday. "It is an interesting twist on the law, and the ramifications of it are so great that I don't want to make a decision without thorough consideration.

"You toss a pebble into a pond, and you never can tell where all the ripples will end up."

The Cleveland prosecutor's office declined Friday, through Mayor Jane Campbell's spokesman, to comment on the pending cases. But Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason called the motions "ridiculous."

Lisa Reitz Williamson, one of Mason's assistant prosecutors who is handling an affected felony case, said it is folly to argue that the domestic-violence law creates any special legal status for unmarried couples that would "approximate" marriage.

All it does, she insists, is describe the sorts of relationships to which it applies. Ohio criminal law, she said, protects special classes of victims - children and the elderly, for instance - and stiffens penalties where they are victimized, yet doesn't bestow special rights on the victims.

Further, Williamson said, the courts must look at the intent of the amendment.

"Issue 1," she said, "was not meant to be a license to abuse."

Lewis Katz, a Case Western Reserve University criminal-law professor, said the conflict most likely must be settled by the Ohio Supreme Court. While courts may divine and apply the amendment authors' intent, Katz said, the letter of the law gives strong support to the public defender's position.

Legal scholars say thousands more could follow. According to the Ohio Domestic Violence Network in Columbus, more than 20,500 people were arrested for domestic violence in 2003 (the most recent year for which figures were available), and courts issued 16,219 protective orders. As many as one in five such cases involves unmarried partners, estimated Nancy Nealon, the network's executive director.

In any such case, defendants' lawyers now may be ethically and legally bound to file a motion to dismiss on the constitutionality grounds, said Tim Downing, a lawyer and gay-rights activist who opposed Issue 1. If the defense succeeds and a defense lawyer fails to use it, he or she could be accused of malpractice.

"It's one of the consequences of passing this amendment that we tried to warn people about," Downing said. "And for whatever reason, the majority of people in the state didn't listen."

http://www.cleveland.com/

aV
Unintended consequences, my ass. The passage of Issue 1 is further proof of just how much we've allowed the inmates to run the asylum. There were tons of editorials before the election speaking to just this sort of consequence, but nobody listened, because it was drowned out by all of the GOP fear-mongering about them "fags" threatening the sanctity of marriage and family.

We have truly become the Mississippi of the North.
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Old 01-15-2005, 01:55 PM   #317
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That Wacky Issue 1!

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Originally posted by spookyfish
Unintended consequences, my ass. The passage of Issue 1 is further proof of just how much we've allowed the inmates to run the asylum. There were tons of editorials before the election speaking to just this sort of consequence, but nobody listened, because it was drowned out by all of the GOP fear-mongering about them "fags" threatening the sanctity of marriage and family.

We have truly become the Mississippi of the North.
If the fine citizens of the Buckeye state elect Mr. Blackwell as the next governor, then I do believe that you will be correct.

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Old 01-15-2005, 01:58 PM   #318
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That Wacky Issue 1!

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If the fine citizens of the Buckeye state elect Mr. Blackwell as the next governor, then I do believe that you will be correct.

aV
Care to place any bets on this? He does have name-recognition, you know.
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Old 01-15-2005, 02:18 PM   #319
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That Wacky Issue 1!

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Care to place any bets on this? He does have name-recognition, you know.
I'm hoping the higher ups in the OHio GOP get some sense knocked into them and put up Petro as the "official" candidate.

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Old 01-15-2005, 02:47 PM   #320
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That Wacky Issue 1!

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I'm hoping the higher ups in the OHio GOP get some sense knocked into them and put up Petro as the "official" candidate.

aV
From what I know of him, and I will admit that my knowledge of Petro is certainly anecdotal, he's not a bad guy.

But Betty's going to be pissed if that happens. . .
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Old 08-31-2005, 03:51 PM   #321
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We're Not Number 1!

Cleveland no longer poorest U.S. big city

You might not feel any richer, and experts question whether the region is any less poor, but Cleveland shed a shameful label Tuesday. No longer are we the poorest big city in America. Not even close.

The city fell to No. 12 from No. 1 in the government's ranking of America's poorest big cities, tied with New Orleans -- before the hurricane. Cleveland's one-year reign as the nation's poorest big city is over, while Detroit's has just begun.

The U.S. Census Bureau's fledgling annual survey of standards of living in American cities has generated controversy for its possible inaccuracies, especially this year.



IN YOUR FACE DETROIT!!!!! WOOOOOO!!!!

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Old 08-31-2005, 04:04 PM   #322
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We're Not Number 1!

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Originally posted by andViolins
Cleveland no longer poorest U.S. big city

You might not feel any richer, and experts question whether the region is any less poor, but Cleveland shed a shameful label Tuesday. No longer are we the poorest big city in America. Not even close.

The city fell to No. 12 from No. 1 in the government's ranking of America's poorest big cities, tied with New Orleans -- before the hurricane. Cleveland's one-year reign as the nation's poorest big city is over, while Detroit's has just begun.

The U.S. Census Bureau's fledgling annual survey of standards of living in American cities has generated controversy for its possible inaccuracies, especially this year.



IN YOUR FACE DETROIT!!!!! WOOOOOO!!!!

aV
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Old 09-01-2005, 02:04 PM   #323
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Penske Account, yes THE Penske Account, will be posting here tonight about 11 PM PST. The post will complete a sept-fecta for him and he will not want to have to spend too much time dreaming up a post. Spooky and Violins, you should try and post some interesting things for him to base his post upon.
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Old 09-01-2005, 03:34 PM   #324
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Penske Account, yes THE Penske Account, will be posting here tonight about 11 PM PST. The post will complete a sept-fecta for him and he will not want to have to spend too much time dreaming up a post. Spooky and Violins, you should try and post some interesting things for him to base his post upon.
That's cool. I'll just copy and paste the most recent entries from the Detroit Board.

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Old 09-01-2005, 04:29 PM   #325
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Penske Account, yes THE Penske Account, will be posting here tonight about 11 PM PST. The post will complete a sept-fecta for him and he will not want to have to spend too much time dreaming up a post. Spooky and Violins, you should try and post some interesting things for him to base his post upon.
Hank sucks. Discuss.
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Old 09-02-2005, 12:21 AM   #326
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Hank sucks. Discuss.
penske penske penske penske penske penske penske
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Old 09-02-2005, 12:34 AM   #327
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penske penske penske penske penske penske penske

Hi.
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Old 09-02-2005, 03:30 PM   #328
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Hi.
14-fecta in ET office hours yet!
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Old 09-02-2005, 03:32 PM   #329
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14-fecta in ET office hours yet!
I right behind you.
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Old 09-02-2005, 03:44 PM   #330
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I right behind you.
Yes. Behind, as usual.
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