Ohio Appeals Court to Victims: “You Have the Right to Restitution”

(BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio) - Marsy’s Law for Ohio applauds a recent decision by the Ohio 12 the District Court of Appeals that tells Ohioans that they have a Constitutional right to receive compensation when they are victims of a crime.

In the case “ State ex rel. Howery v. Powers,” the 12th District Court of Appeals ruled for the first time that Ohio crime victims have the right to seek higher court review under Marsy’s Law if a trial court does not consider restitution during a criminal case. Under Marsy’s Law, a court must consider full and timely restitution and, at minimum, hold a hearing when the issue of restitution is in dispute.

The facts of the case were that the victim’s vehicle was stolen and wrecked by the defendant. At the sentencing hearing, the victim alleged she sustained an economic loss and submitted an impact statement that included repair estimates for her vehicle. The judge sentenced the defendant to 18 months in prison but did not order restitution. In response, the victim sought a writ of mandamus (an order from a court to a public official compelling them to perform a duty they are legally bound to perform) with the 12th District Court of Appeals seeking to compel the trial judge to reopen sentencing under Marsy’s Law and enforce her right to full and timely restitution.

In its favorable decision, the 12th District stated “...it is undisputed that the victim suffered an economic loss from the offender through the commission of a criminal offense. Under the new provisions under Marsy’s Law, there was a clear legal duty to provide for full and timely restitution.”

“This ruling sends a message to all Ohioans that their constitutional right to restitution cannot be ignored,” said Morgan Keilholz, attorney for the victim with Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center. “Marsy’s Law has changed victims’ rights in the criminal justice system for the better here in Ohio and this case is proof.” Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center provides free legal representation for victims of crime. “

Despite the current pandemic and limited judicial operations across the state, Marsy's Law is thrilled to see the 12th District uphold the constitutional rights of Ohioans,” said Erinn Mahathey, National Outreach Director for Marsy’s Law.

Marsy’s Law was approved by 83% of Ohio voters in 2017 as Ballot Issue 1. Prior to the passage of Marsy’s Law, there was no constitutional right for Ohioans to full and timely restitution nor would a victim have had the legal ability to be able to file a writ as demonstrated in this case.



About Marsy’s Law

Marsy’s Law is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas of California who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Only one week after her death, Marsy’s mother and brother, Henry T. Nicholas, walked into a grocery store where they were confronted by the accused murderer. The family, who had just come from a visit to Marsy’s grave, was unaware that the accused had been released on bail. In an effort to honor his sister, Dr. Nicholas, co-founder of Broadcom Corporation, has made it his mission to give victims and their families constitutional protections and equal rights. He formed Marsy’s Law for All in 2009, providing expertise and resources to victims’ rights organizations nationwide.