Ohio Judge Reversed After Denying Public Defender To Adult Because His Parents Could Pay For Lawyer

grimIn Ohio, Athens County Municipal Judge William A. Grim has been reversed in his denial of the right to appointed counsel to a young man accused of interfering with police. While Kelly Kasler, 22, is an adult and her parents declined to pay for a lawyer, Grim refused counsel to her because she was being supported in college by her parents. It was a clearly wrong decision and the concerns over Grim’s judgment were magnified in a case where a citizen is accused of interfering with police.

Kasler was charged with obstructing official business and resisting arrest. She told Grim that her parents would not pay for a lawyer and she had no funds for a lawyer. Grim noted that her parents paid for her tuition and housing and list her as a dependent on their taxes and carry her on their health insurance. By considering their $100,000 household income, he found that she was disqualified from getting a public defender.

The problem is that such support is discretionary. Since the parents are under no obligation to give her money, their income cannot be viewed as her own.

Ironically, on his Democratic candidacy for the court, Grim promised “to bring balanced experience to the bench . . . [and] believes that each person is deserving of attention and respect.” While I understand the judge’s concern, I cannot understand his belief that he can attribute income to the defendant that the defendant does not control. Such an approach of attributed income could be used to deny counsel in a myriad of cases. It is particularly worrisome in a case of alleged interference with police. We has seen this type of charge abused in many cases where citizens film police in public or object to the mistreatment of arrested individuals.

Source: Dispatch

33 thoughts on “Ohio Judge Reversed After Denying Public Defender To Adult Because His Parents Could Pay For Lawyer”

  1. Please, please, please, Jonathan Turley — “His” in the headline, then it turns into “her” in the story!?! Please have someone who knows what they’re doing “check your work” before someone pushes the “publish” button.

  2. Gene,
    you beat me to the response on Gideon. Bron, you can watch the movie about Mr. Gideon. I believe Henry Fonda played Gideon, if I remember correctly.

  3. Bron,

    That’s held since the inception of the union and the ratification of the Constitution for felony charges in Federal Courts, but it wasn’t until Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963), that it was applied to the states officially by SCOTUS although many states already recognized the right. So, no, it wasn’t expanded after 1900. It was held applicable to the states via the 14th Amendment. The charges in the instant case are felony charges.

  4. Odd reasoning by this judge… actually, a pretty blatantly poor judgement.

    Glad to see the correct decision was reached… but it shouldnt be that hard.

  5. I like the fundamental basis for the appellate court’s ruling: As to the right to representation, the question is not whether a defendant ought to be able to hire an attorney, it’s whether he actually can.

  6. Twenty Sixth Amendment makes an 18 year old a full citizen. “18 Up and Out!” This means that the adult is an adult and if he has someone giving him gifts for tuition it does not mean that the donor will give him gifts for a lawyer for Christ sake.

  7. cant you write off a child in college?

    Seems good to me unless the girl is paying her own way.

    Why should tax payers have the burden if the parents are using her for tax gains? Or otherwise supporting her.

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