WOOD COUNTY, OHIO JURY RETURNS NOT GUILTY VERDICT FOR MAN FALSELY ACCUSED OF AGGRAVATED BURGLARY, AGGRAVATED MENACING, AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE / ASSAULT

Recently, Criminal Defense Attorney Steven L. Spitler assisted a client falsely accused by an ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend of:

  • Aggravated Burglary (O.R.C. 2911.11(A)(1);
  • Aggravated Menacing (O.R.C. 2903(A); and
  • Domestic Violence (O.R.C. 2919.25(C)

The client was accused of sneaking into the home of his ex-girlfriend and hiding under her bed with a large knife.  However, he was not there.  The police and SWAT team searched the residence and failed to find the client.  The Wood County Prosecutor’s office still sought charges on the claim that he fled the residence before the authorities arrived. 

Criminal Defense Lawyer Steven L.  Spitler met with and consulted with his client and to prepare the strongest possible defense.  These were very serious charges with a possible sentence of 20-30 years in prison if found guilty.  Attorney Spitler and his legal team thoroughly investigated the matter, interviewed alibi witnesses and provided vigorous representation. 

Even with the testimony of alibi witnesses stating that the client was not at the scene of the alleged crime, the prosecution continued to pursue these serious charges.  Unwilling to accept plea deals that would have resulted in a substantial prison term, the client and Attorney Steven L.  Spitler proceeded to jury trial. 

At the three-day jury trial Attorney Steven L. Spitler zealously represented his client.  Two lines of opposing testimony were present for the jury, the ex-girlfriend and boyfriend saying the client was there and committed the offenses and our client and the two alibi witnesses stating he was not there.  The criminal defense trial experience of Attorney Steven L. Spitler was able to prove to the jury that this whole incident was a fabrication.

At the conclusion of the trial, the jury deliberated for less than 20 minutes before returning a verdict of NOT GUILTY.  These accusations against the client could have resulted in a serious prison sentence, for a crime he did not commit.  By making the wise choice to retain a highly skilled criminal defense lawyer, the client was able to go home to his family and not have to serve prison time for something he did not do.

Criminal defense attorney Steven L. Spitler of the Spitler Huffman LLP. law firm has 23 year’s experience in the area of criminal defense including robbery, burglary, domestic violence/assault, OVI, Drug Trafficking,  Drug Possession and other related felony and misdemeanor offenses.  Located in Bowling Green, Wood County Ohio, Steven L. Spitler is a premier attorney serving clients across Northwest Ohio.  

The outcome of an individual case depends on a variety of factors unique to that case.  Case results do not guarantee or predict similar results in any similar or future case.

Changes in bankruptcy allowances.

Its that time of year again when the Bankruptcy Courts update the bankruptcy allowances. Below are the changes for this year. These changes are effective as of May 1, 2019.

New Ohio Median Income Allowances

Period1 person2 people 3 people 4 people 5 people 6 people 7 People 8 people Additional people over 8
Year$49,624.00$62,308.00$74,969.00$89,454.00$98,454.00$107,454.00$116,454.00$125,454.00$9,000.00 per
additional person
6 Months$24,812.00$31,154.00$37,485.00$44,727.00$49,227.00$53,727.00$58,227.00$62,727.00$4,500.00 per additional person
Monthly$4,135.00$5,192.00$6,247.00$7,455.00$8,205.00$9,705.00$9,705.00$10,455.00$750.00 per additional person
Semi Montly$2,068.00$2,596.00$3,124.00$3,727.00$4,102.00$4,477.00$4,852.00$5,227.00$375.00 per additional person
Bi Weekly$1,909.00$2,396.00$2,883.00$3,441.00$3,787.00$4,133.00$4,479.00$4,825.00$346.00 per additional person
Weekly $954.00$1,198.00$1,442.00$1,720.00$1,893.00$2,066.00$2,240.00$2,413.00$173.00 per additional person

New National Living Allowances

Type1 Person2 People3 People 4 People5 People6 People 7 People8 PeopleAdditional Person
Food$386.00 $685.00$786.00$958.00$1,182.00$1,407.00$1,632.00$1,857.00$282.00 per
additional person
Housekeeping$40.00$72.00$76.00$76.00$93.00$111.00$129.00$147.00$0.00 per
additional person
Apparel$88.00$159.00$169.00$243.00$301.00$358.00$358.00$415.00$0.00 per
additional person
Personal Care$43.00$70.00$76.00$91.00$112.00$133.00$155.00$176.00$0.00 per
additional person
Miscellaneous$170.00$302.00$339.00$418.00$518.00$617.00$715.00$814.00$138.00 per additional person
Total $727.00$1,288.00$1,446.00$1,786.00$2,206.00$2,626.00$3,046.00$3,466.00$420.00 per
additional person

New National Health Allowances

Allowance
Under Age 65Age 65 & Over
$55.00$114.00

New Local Housing Allowances

  Allowance
CountyFIPSType1 Person2 People3 People 4 People 5 People
Hancock39063Utility$498.00$584.00$616.00$687.00$698.00
Mortgage$748.00$879.00$926.00$1,032.00$1,049.00
Total$1,246.00$1,463.00$1,542.00$1,719.00$1,747.00
Henry39069Utility$505.00$593.00$625.00$697.00$708.00
Mortgage$685.00$805.00$848.00$945.00$961.00
Total$1,190.00$1398.00$1,473.00$1,642.00$1,669.00
Sandusky39143Utility$485.00$570.00$600.00$669.00$680.00
Mortgage$659.00$774.00$816.00$910.00$924.00
Total$1,144.00$1,344.00$1,416.00$1,579.00$1,604.00
Wood39173Utility$489.00$575.00$606.00$675.00$686.00
Mortgage$905.00$1,062.00$1,119.00$1,248.00$1,268.00
Total$1,394.00$1,637.00$1,725.00$1,923.00$1,954.00

and finally the

New National Ownership and Local Operating Transportation Allowances.

   Allowance
CountyRegionTypeNo Car1 Car2 Car
Other OH CountiesMWOperating$217.00$191.00$382.00
Ownership$508.00$1,016.00
Total$217.00$699.00$1,398.00

If you think bankruptcy may be in your best interest, and need to stop a garnishment, creditor harassment, collection phone calls, foreclosure, repossession, or just need to get ahead of your debt please give us a call today at 419-352-2535 to set up a free consultation.

The bankruptcy attorneys at Spitler Huffman law firm have substantial experience representing clients in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy .  Located in Bowling Green and Rossford, Ohio we are dedicated to serving clients in Northwest Ohio including Wood, Henry, Hancock, and Sandusky Counties.  If you live in Bowling Green, Findlay, Perrysburg, Napoleon, Port Clinton, Fremont, Rossford, or other areas in Northwest Ohio and need bankruptcy assistance, contact us today.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Changes in Exemptions

The bankruptcy attorneys at Spitler Huffman law firm have substantial experience representing clients in bankruptcy.  Located in Bowling Green and Rossford, Ohio we are dedicated to serving clients in Northwest Ohio including Wood, Henry, Hancock, and Sandusky Counties.  If you live in Bowling Green, Findlay, Perrysburg, Napoleon, Port Clinton, Fremont, Rossford, or other areas in Northwest Ohio and need bankruptcy assistance, contact us today.

Starting on April 1, 2019 there were new exemption limits for filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

The new federal chapter 7 bankruptcy exemptions are as follows:

Exemption §552(d)Current Exemption
Amount
New Exemption
Amount
Household$600.00 Per Item

$12,625.00 Total
$625.00 Per Item

$13,400.00 Total
Homestead$23,675.00$25,150.00
Personal Injury$23,675.00$25,150.00
Life Insurance$12,625.00$13,400.00
Motor Vehicle$3,775.00$4,000.00
Trade$2,375.00$2,525.00
Jewelry$1,600.00$1,700.00
Wild Card$1,250.00

$11,850.00
Homestead Carryover
$1,325.00

$12,575.00
Homestead Carryover

The new Ohio chapter 7 bankruptcy exemptions are as follows:

Exemption (2329.66)Current Exemption
Amount
New Exemption
Amount
Cash$475.00$500.00
Homestead$136,925.00$145,425.00
Household$600.00 Per Item

$12,625.00 Total
$625.00 Per Item

$13,400.00 Total
Jewelry$1,600.00$1,700.00
Motor Vehicle$3,775.00$4,000.00
Personal Injury
Awards
$23,700.00$25,175.00
Professional Books &
Tools of the Trade
$2,400.00$2,550.00
Wildcard$1,250.00$1,325.00

If you think bankruptcy may be in your best interest, please give us a call today to set up a free consultation.

Changes in the Spousal Support Tax Laws and What this could mean for you.

The divorce attorneys at Spitler Huffman law firm have substantial experience representing clients in family law.  Located in Bowling Green and Rossford, Ohio we are dedicated to serving clients in Northwest Ohio including Wood, Henry, Hancock, and Sandusky Counties.  If you live in Bowling Green, Findlay, Perrysburg, Napoleon, Port Clinton, Fremont, Rossford, or other areas in Northwest Ohio and need assistance with a divorce or dissolution, contact us today.

Since the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”) in December of 2017, substantial changes have been made to the application of Ohio’s spousal support that are important for families to consider when making the difficult choice to separate. 

First, it is important to note that TCJA applies to domestic relations matters (i.e., divorce and dissolution proceedings) that conclude on or after January 1, 2019.  Second, it is important to be aware that a person paying spousal support pursuant to an order that was issued on or after January 1, 2019 may no longer deduct that payment from their individual income taxes.  Similarly, and equally important to know, is that the TCJA no longer requires the receiving spouse to claim that income.  Finally, given the unique issues in every domestic relation matter it is important to know your options.

Please give our office a call with any questions or to discuss your personal situation.

IRS Circular 230 Statement Applicable: To Tax Advice, If Any, Contained In This Communication

Treasury Regulations require us to inform you that neither you nor any other recipient may use any tax advice in this communication to avoid any penalty that may be imposed under federal tax law.  To obtain penalty protection, the new Regulations require attorneys, accountants and other tax advisors to perform increased due diligence to verify all relevant facts and to format the written tax advice in a lengthy number of separately enumerated sections with numerous disclosures.  If you would like us to prepare written tax advice designed to provide penalty protection, please contact us and we will be pleased to discuss the matter with you in more detail.

Updates to Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Income Limits and Exemptions

The bankruptcy attorneys at Spitler Huffman law firm have substantial experience representing clients in bankruptcy.  Located in Bowling Green and Rossford, Ohio we are dedicated to serving clients in Northwest Ohio including Wood, Henry, Hancock, and Sandusky Counties.  If you live in Bowling Green, Findlay, Perrysburg, Napoleon, Port Clinton, Fremont, Rossford, or other areas in Northwest Ohio and need bankruptcy assistance, contact us today.

As of November 1, 2018 there have been several updates to the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Income Limits and Exemptions.

Ohio Income limits (after 11/1/2018);

1 Earner 2 People 3 People 4 people
Ohio $48,441.00 $60,822.00 $73,182.00 $87,321.00

Ohio Income Limits (Before 11/1/2018):

1 Earner 2 People 3 People 4 people
Ohio $48,596.00 $60,834.00 $70,529.00 $85,294.00

Wood County Housing and Utility Allowance** (After 11/1/2018);

1 Person 2 People 3 People
Utilities Mortgage/Rent Utilities Mortgage/Rent Utilities Mortgage/Rent
$491 $890 $576 $1,046 $607 $1,102
4 People 5 or More
Utilities Mortgage/Rent Utilities Mortgage/Rent
$677 $1,229 $688 $1,248

** Exceptions Apply; Please seek the advice of counsel for more detailed information.

Public Transportation Expense Limit  $178

Vehicle Operating Costs

1 Car 2 Cars
$196 $392

Vehicle Ownership Costs

1 Car 2 Cars
$497 $994

If you think Bankruptcy may be in your best interest, call us today for a free consultation.

-Posted by LAF

Is There Facebook After Death?

The estate and probate attorneys at Spitler Huffman law firm have substantial experience representing clients in estate and probate matters.  Located in Bowling Green and Rossford, Ohio we are dedicated to serving clients in Northwest Ohio including Wood, Henry, Hancock, and Sandusky Counties.  If you live in Bowling Green, Findlay, Perrysburg, Napoleon, Port Clinton, Fremont, Rossford, or other areas in Northwest Ohio and need estate and probate assistance, contact us today.

In an era where “it isn’t official until it’s posted on Facebook,” what happens to our profiles when we die?

With Facebook reporting that it has over 1.7 billion “active” users (or users that have logged in at some point within the last 30 days), about a quarter of the world is on Facebook every month.  With so many users, a few are bound to pass away every so often.

For the planners out there- there are options.  In response to The Inevitable, Facebook has put in place methods for a user to dictate the terms of your account prior to death.

Before Death:

Facebook gives users three options for their accounts after death- 1. Create a “Memorialized” account, 2. Deactivate upon death, or 3. Do nothing.

If you choose a Memorialized account, once Facebook is notified of your death you basically get a page where people can continue to post on a special memorial timeline.  If you choose, you can name a “legacy contact” to administer the page on your behalf, but your legacy will be limited to the memorial page.

If you choose to set your account to deactivate upon death, Facebook simply deactivates your account once it receives a death notice.

If a User Does Nothing:

That just leaves the 90 plus percent of users who have not designated any action for their Facebook account.  If this happens, your family or the fiduciary of your estate may request that your account be deactivated, or may seek a court order to shut down your account.

A Little Planning Goes A Long Way: 

Most of us write our 19 different passwords down on 19 different pieces of paper that we can never find later.  News flash- if you can’t find your passwords, your next of kin won’t be able to either.  As for legal intervention- laws so far have been slow to catch up with the problem of fiduciary access to the online records of a deceased person.  Some states, like Oklahoma and Idaho, have taken steps to authorize fiduciary access to online accounts.  However, if you live elsewhere, maybe it’s time to get more organized and make a plan which includes your digital information.

Though planning for your digital estate may seem trivial in comparison to estate planning for your health or financial future, the large and ever-increasing role of technology in our day to day financial and social lives means digital records may need to be addressed with your estate planner.  Accurate records will help your loved ones efficiently handle your estate.  And that’s something everybody likes.

-Posted by CCI

Charges Dropped Against Rossford Teacher

The criminal attorneys at Spitler Huffman law firm have substantial experience representing clients in criminal law.  Located in Bowling Green and Rossford, Ohio we are dedicated to serving clients in Northwest Ohio including Wood, Henry, Hancock, and Sandusky Counties.  If you live in Bowling Green, Findlay, Perrysburg, Napoleon, Port Clinton, Fremont, Rossford, or other areas in Northwest Ohio and need criminal law assistance, contact us today.

On August 13th, 2016, Wood County Common Pleas Judge Reeve Kelsey found Perrysburg resident Todd Long guilty after Mr. Long attempted to frame a Rossford Middle School teacher for drug trafficking.

Bowling Green Attorney Steve Spitler represented the teacher and assisted in having all charges dropped against his client.  Mr. Spitler was quoted in the case by the Toledo Blade and a link to the full article can be found here:

http://www.toledoblade.com/Police-Fire/2014/12/05/Drug-trafficking-charges-against-Rossford-teacher-dropped.html

-Posted by CCI

Ayersville Water & Sewer District Recovers Substantial Share of Missing Funds

Defiance, Ohio- The Ayersville Water & Sewer District has recovered a substantial share of funds which, according to the State Auditor, were apparently taken by a former District employee.  The District, in collaboration with the Ohio Attorney General’s office, recovered roughly 80% of the misappropriated funds.  A link to the Crescent-News article on the investigation and recovery can be found here:

http://www.crescent-news.com/news/local_news/ayersville-water-sewer-district-recoups-large-share-of-missing-funds/article_7135a03b-a247-5d50-b89d-b3371a0a968c.html

-Posted by CCI

Trihalomethanes: You Don’t Have Cholera (But You Might Still Have a Problem)

When was the last time you missed work because you had cholera?  Never, because for the last hundred years or so, U.S. water distribution systems have been disinfecting drinking water by adding chlorine.

Chlorine itself is a cheap and effective killer of bacteria and viruses which would otherwise find their way into our drinking water, which makes it one of the biggest public health breakthroughs of the 20th century.  It does, however, have a drawback- as chlorine disinfects, it breaks down as it comes into contact with other compounds in the water.

Things you can’t pronounce may still be bad for you:

The results of this breakdown are carcinogenic trihalomethanes (or “THMs”) and haloacetic acids (“HAA5”).  People exposed to high concentrations over long periods of time have an increased risk of cancer and liver, kidney, and nerve damage.  This danger has led the EPA to use its authority under the Safe Drinking Water Act to set “maximum contaminant levels” (commonly referred to as “MCLs”) for these compounds.

Rural water systems are more likely to have these issues with the Ohio EPA:

In Ohio, many rural water systems exceed their MCLs for these compounds and end up getting hit with EPA findings and orders to lower their levels.  Why rural systems?  Because the water has fewer end users and travels longer distances, the chlorine stays in the pipe longer and has more time to break down.

In response, rural systems tend to do at least one of four things- they 1. flush (dump water out at an end point to increase the volume of water moving through the system in order to get fresher water faster), 2. they aerate (which removes the THMs), 3. they treat with activated carbon (which removes both THMs and HAA5s), 4. they change their input system (e.g. the amount of chlorine used or location of its addition or the treatment method itself).

If you are a customer or operator of a rural water system, then at some point you are going to hear about chlorine disinfection byproducts.  It may not be as exciting or newsworthy as lead in Flint, Michigan’s water supply (by the way Flint also exceeded safe THM levels) but it’s certainly an ongoing challenge for water distribution systems in rural Ohio.

But hey- good news- at least you don’t have cholera.  So there’s that.

For some good summary guidance on the subject, the EPA’s fact sheet is below:

http://www.epa.state.oh.us/Portals/28/documents/pws/Byproductsfactsheet.pdf

-Posted by CCI

NOT IN MY FRONT YARD: Private Developer’s Agreements Struck Down As Unconstitutional In Ohio’s 11th District

What Is A Private Developer’s Agreement?

Picture this:  you and your spouse just bought a home on 5 acres in a serene country setting on the far fringes of the city.  After a few months, a private developer buys 80 acres of farmland a half mile down the road from your new house.  The developer puts in water and sewer lines that run past your house to serve the McMansions that will soon house a few hundred of your new neighbors.  A few months later, you get a notice from the county health department ordering you to connect to the new sewer line and pay the developer $20,000 for “your share” of the construction costs.  If you don’t want sewer service then you are on the wrong end of a private developer’s agreement.

Is That Legal?

Sounds illegal right?  Not necessarily.  The longstanding rule in Ohio allows any person who builds a water or sewer utility line to recoup a pro-rated share of their costs from any adjacent property owners along the route that make use of the new line.  In the case of a water line, an adjacent property owner can choose not to connect.  However, in the case of a sewer line, connection is mandatory for public health reasons.

Enacted in 1972, ORC 307.73 allows county commissioners to authorize anyone to build such a line, then mandate reimbursement.  This arrangement has long been common practice in Ohio, and private developers have been keen on cashing in on this arrangement to help subsidize private development.  In the case of a sanitary sewer line, those along the project route must connect for public health reasons.

Under the statute, the developer need only give “constructive” notice to adjacent property owners by filing their approved resolution with the county auditor.  Under this arrangement, it is very unlikely that any affected property owner receive actual notification of a looming project which may affect your substantive legal rights and your wallet.

Recent Ohio Case Overturns Private Developer’s Ability To Obtain Reimbursement

On June 30th, 2016, Ohio’s 11th District Court of Appeals struck down the law on due process grounds as an unconstitutional taking of private property in Bacak v. Trumbull Cty. Bd. Of Commr’s., 2016-Ohio-4737.  The court reasoned that the law failed to give property owners adequate notice and meaningful opportunity to be heard for a multitude of reasons.  The statute leaves no time limit for the filing of constructive notice, no notice or oversight of costs, no ability to object, and no judicial review.  The court also cited the multitude of notice rules that counties must follow when constructing the same type of projects which did not apply to private developers.

TBD on what the future holds for this statute, but it is very likely that at this very moment there are hundreds of these developer’s agreements in place which may put the developer at risk of paying for substantially more of their project than they initially anticipated.  This case will almost undoubtedly be appealed and watched very closely by private citizens, public utilities, county officials, and construction interests throughout the State of Ohio.

The Ohio Supreme Court will likely have to settle the issue once and for all.  The only other time they looked at the statute was in DeMoise v. Dowell, where the Court questioned the constitutionality of the statute on due process grounds, but did not strike it down.  DeMoise, 10 Ohio St.3d 92 (1984).  Until the issue is settled, future construction under this type of agreement should proceed with extreme caution.

Text to the opinion of the appellate court’s decision can be found at the following link:

http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/rod/docs/pdf/11/2016/2016-Ohio-4737.pdf

-Posted by CCI