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State v. Jones

2008 Ohio 6994 (2008)

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State v. Jones

Ohio Court of Appeals

2008 Ohio 6994 (2008)

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Facts

The day before trial, the court appointed Brian Jones from the public defender’s office to defend Jordan Scott for misdemeanor assault. The next morning, Jones met with six other clients before receiving Scott’s file, then met with Scott for 20 minutes. When the judge stated trial was that day, Jones stated he could not be effective as Scott’s counsel, was uncomfortable representing him, and needed time to interview witnesses. The judge stated three witnesses were present and trial would begin after lunch. Jones stated he needed to interview other witnesses. After break, the court called the case and asked Jones if he was ready to proceed. Jones replied that he was not and had not interviewed witnesses. The judge threatened Jones with contempt unless he proceeded with trial. After the prosecutor waived opening statement, Jones stated he could not participate. The judge threatened Jones with jail. The judge reasoned that if trial resulted in conviction, Scott could simply appeal on ineffective assistance of counsel grounds. Jones refused. The court held Jones in direct contempt, had him taken into custody, and affirmed him guilty of contempt after subsequent hearing. Jones appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (O’Toole, J.)

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