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Appeal challenges legal analysis in Brelo verdict


May 29, 2015

Cleveland The Cuyahoga County Prosecutors Office today filed a motion asking the 8th
District Ohio Court of Appeals to correct errors of law in the trial courts verdict in the case of
State of Ohio v. Michael Brelo.
The appeal cited three errors of law that if not corrected could contaminate future rulings in the
trial court and the entire Court of Common Pleas as these errors contradict binding precedent
from the Ohio Supreme Court and act to defeat the pursuit of justice in this County.
Those errors are:

The trial court used the wrong standard on causation in announcing its verdict. Under
established Ohio law, the State did not have to prove that shots fired by Officer Brelo were solely
responsible for the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams.

The trial court incorrectly applied the law regarding the affirmative defense of
justification when police officers use deadly force. Police officers who recklessly expose
themselves to danger, violate training and kill civilians violate the Fourth Amendment and
should be held criminally liable.

The trial courts verdict considered the wrong lesser included offense to the indicted
charge of Voluntary Manslaughter. The court should have considered Attempted Voluntary
Manslaughter and Aggravated Assault if it chose to acquit the defendant on Voluntary
Manslaughter. Felonious Assault, the alternative the court said was considered, is not a lesser
included offense of Voluntary Manslaughter.
In its filing, the Prosecutors Office asked the Court of Appeals to instruct the trial court to
correct its errors of law. Any such corrections will not set aside the Not Guilty verdict on
Voluntary Manslaughter returned by the trial court.
In this case, the Verdict issued has been widely circulated and highly publicized. Because of
this, error in the verdict carries a greater risk of being relied upon by the trial court and
throughout the Common Pleas Court. Further, the issues involved in this case are not sui generis
or incapable of repetition they are salient and, as recognized within the verdict, are not
singular, as there are other publicized cases where police may be investigated for the use of
excessive force, the motion signed by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty

argued. Because of this, this Court should grant leave to correct error in the law as written in the
verdict and to ensure that justice is applied equally throughout the Common Pleas Court.
Contact: Joseph Frolik, Director of Communications and Public Policy. Phone: (216) 443-7488; or Cell:
216-640-6186. Email: