COLUMBUS — State Representatives Shane Wilkin (R-Hillsboro), John Rogers (D-Mentor-on-the-Lake), Senator Bob Peterson (R-Washington Court House), and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost unveiled legislation Tuesday to establish a procedure for counties to seek financial assistance from the state regarding extraordinary capital cases.
“Justice cannot be dependent on affordability,” said Wilkin. “This bill has been crafted to not only provide funds so that justice can prevail but also prevent county budgets from unforeseeable considerable costs, which undoubtedly would impact other essential county services.”
The legislation proposes that to be considered an eligible capital case, the case must include either multiple victims or defendants, with the estimated cost of a trial exceeding 5 percent of the county’s budget for the year in which the case is prosecuted. In addition, there is a $4 million appropriation from the general revenue fund to the Controlling Board’s Emergency Purposes Fund to assist Pike County with the anticipated expenses related to the ongoing Pike County Rhoden family murder trial proceedings.
“Given that any given county and its responsibilities in this arena are in reality an extension of Ohio, it only makes sense we create a methodology of support in the case of a capital offense and the extenuating circumstances that accompany these types of cases,” said Rogers.
“I believe that it is appropriate for the state of Ohio to assist counties in dealing with mass tragedies, such as what happened in Pike County in April of 2016, to ensure that justice is served,” said Peterson.
“Small county governments shouldn’t have to choose between funding the sheriff’s deputies that catch the bad guys and prosecuting the bad guys when they’re caught,” said Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. “Justice requires both.”
This bill will now be assigned to a committee and will await its first hearing.