Understanding Judicial Release or Early Release from Prison in Ohio, Blog by Brian T. Goldberg

November 11, 2013  |  Criminal, Early Release, Judicial Release

Judicial Release can be confusing for inmates and their families to understand.  The Statute has been changed over the years which will only add to the confusion.  Below is a brief summary of the law as it is stated in Ohio Revised Code 2929.20.

First, the offender has to determine if they are eligible for judicial release.  Most convictions do not preclude eligibility for early release.  There are some offenses that do make someone ineligible.  Most exclusions relate to crimes committed in public office or against witnesses, such as bribery, corruption, tampering with records, intimidation, and relatiation against a complaining witness.  You can review R.C. 2929.20 for a complete list of all charges that are excluded.

Assuming someone is eligible, judicial release is still determined by the number of years someone is sentenced to prison.  The following only applies to non-mandatory terms.  R.C. 2929.20(C) provides:

  • If the prison term is less than two (2) years, the offender may file after thirty (30) days.
  • If the prison term is at least two (2) years, but less than five (5) years, the offender may file after six (6) months.
  • If the prison term is exactly five (5) years, the offender may file after four (4) years have been served.
  • If the prison term is more than five (5) years, but not more than ten (10) years, the offender may file after five (5) years have been served.
  • If the prison term is more than ten (10) years, the offender may file after serving half of the sentence.

If a mandatory prison term is being served you must serve the mandatory portion of the sentence before you calculate your eligibility for judicial release.  Lets use the example of a person who recevies a six (6) year prison sentence for robbery while using a firearm.  They get a non-mandatory three (3) years for the robbery and an additional mandatory three (3) years for using a firearm during the commission of the offense.  This person must serve the mandatory three (3) years before they can even consider filing for judicial release.  Once the three (3) year portion of the sentence has been served, they could look at the chart above to see when they would be eligible for judicial release.  Because the final three (3) years is non-mandatory they could file for judicial release after they have served six (6) months of the non-mandatory sentence.   

It is important to remember that judicial release is entirely discretionary by the sentencing judge.  Just because an offender is eligible does not mean it will be granted.  There are many specifics that go into filing for judicial release.  It should be appropriately timed to give the offender the highest chance of early release.  The law firm of Schuh & Goldberg is experienced in drafting motions for judicial release and will put you in the best position for potential early release.

If you have a question about judicial release, or want to see if a friend or family member might be eligible for judicial release, please call our office for a free consultation.