Confessing to a sexual crime

Confessing to a sexual crime will no longer lead to harsher sentence in Ohio!

Although not just applied to confessions, so far the Ohio Criminal Code had a provision that allowed the court to mete out a lengthier sentence if corroborating evidence was available in the matter. The provision has now been struck down by the apex court of the state in a decision that had the approval of 6 of the 7 justices who heard an appeal against the law.

Judith Lanzinger, one of justices in the panel, explained the decision by saying that once a charge has been proved beyond reasonable doubt, the body of evidence should not impact the degree of punishment meted out. In fact, this not only compromises the rights to due process of the accused but may prove counterproductive to the investigation of such cases.

The fear of a confession earning the defendant harsher punishment deters the alleged perpetrator from admitting his involvement in the crime. Also, this often makes it necessary to subject the victim who may be child age to endure a trial. The decision came on the heels of an appeal filed in the Supreme Court by the attorneys of Damon L. Bevly who has been convicted for gross sexual imposition of a minor.

The criminal court had originally sentenced him to 3 years in prison but increased the prison term to 5 years based on the appeals of the prosecution which were filed under this law. The Appellate tribunal conceded with the lower court which is why the matter was taken to the Ohio Supreme Court.