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Ohio's Top Court Declines To Change Rules On Plea Deals

Ohio Supreme Court Gavel statue
Creative Commons

Ohio defendants will still be able to plead to lesser crimes that don't bear much resemblance to the facts of the original charge, because the state's top court has rejected a proposal to end such plea deals.

Some trial court judges say the pleas undermine public confidence in the justice system because the seriousness of a crime isn't reflected in the end result.

Cuyahoga County judge Michael Donnelly has taken issue with deals that reduce rape or sexual assault charges to assault or kidnapping.

The Ohio Supreme Court without comment declined to move the proposal forward Thursday.

Opponents of the concept included both prosecutors and defense attorneys. They say the reality of bringing people to justice against a backdrop of sometimes flawed evidence and uncertain witnesses requires creative negotiations.