Peter Link ’10, a participant in the law school’s Indigent Defense Clinic in partnership with the Ohio Justice and Policy Center, has accomplished a task that few lawyers, let alone law students, ever achieve. His appeal to the Supreme Court of Ohio was accepted, giving him the opportunity to argue before the Court this summer.
As an addition to his work assignment, Link was asked to take on the extra burden of researching and writing the majority of a jurisdictional memorandum sent to the Supreme Court of Ohio asking the court to hear the case of State v. Kenneth Hodge. In 2008 Hodge pled guilty to nine felonies in relation to an aggravated robbery he participated in during December of 2007. Hodge received an 18-year sentence comprised of five consecutive three-year terms for aggravated robbery and three years for gun specifications. In imposing these sentences, the judge made no fact-findings before imposing the five consecutive three-year sentences.
Link, and his supervisor Janet Moore, argued that the judicial discretion allowed in this case regarding the imposition of consecutive and concurrent sentencing is inappropriate in light of the conflicting decisions between the Supreme Court of Ohio case of State v. Foster and the Supreme Court of the United States case of Oregon v. Ice, as well as the current Ohio statutes on the subject. Link and Moore argued that a sentencing judge is required to make factual findings before imposing sentencing.
On February 10, 2010, the Supreme Court of Ohio accepted Link’s appeal and will hear the case. In the past, three other defendants have asked the Supreme Court of Ohio to overrule its decision in Foster. The Court refused to hear all three of those appeals, but has accepted Link’s argument on the matter.
This summer Link will be arguing before the Supreme Court of Ohio as a legal intern, as long as the date of the argument does not interfere with his taking the Ohio Bar exam. Additionally, he will be primarily responsible for writing the 50- page brief to the Court while still continuing to help his other clients in the Indigent Defense Clinic and keeping up with his classes.
What Is The Indigent Defense Clinic
Through the Indigent Defense Clinic third-year law students provide legal representation to clients charged with misdemeanors and felonies in Hamilton County. The Clinic is a cooperative effort of the law school, the Ohio Justice and Policy Center, the Salmon P. Chase College of Law, the Hamilton County Public Defender’s Office, and the local private defense bar.
Information provided by Carolyn Besl, Indigent Defense Clinic.