In Re: O'Neil


CHARGE(S): Aggravated robbery, in violation of Ohio Revised Code 2911.01, a first degree felony, firearm possession and facilitation.

POTENTIAL PUNISHMENT: 14 to 16 years in prison as an adult

VENUE: Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, Cincinnati, Ohio

ALLEGATIONS: White female business woman was robbed and beaten at gunpoint. Victim identified Mr. Bennett's client, a teenage black male, as the assailant.

DISPOSITION: Mr. Bennett successfully argued that his juvenile client should not be bound over and tried as an adult. After the juvenile court retained jurisdiction of the case, Mr. Bennett prepared, filed and argued a Motion to Suppress the eyewitness identification of his client on the grounds that the procedures utilized by the police in the identification process were unduly suggestive of his client being the person who committed the crime and, therefore, the victim's identification of his client as the assailant was unreliable.

RESULT: Motion to suppress identification granted. All charges dismissed with prejudice. Identification made by victim determined to be unreliable because it was made under high stress situation and across racial lines; victim had little opportunity to see the assailant at the time of the robbery; victim's degree of attention to assailant compromised and/or limited; victim's description of assailant was vague and the photo array/lineup did not comply with the requirements set forth in Ohio Revised Code 2933.83 (a statute requiring that the police do certain things when attempting to get a victim to identify an assailant.)

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