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Diane Menashe Featured in Law360: "Judges on Race: Lack of Data Deters Criminal Justice Reform" Diane Menashe Featured in Law360: "Judges on Race: Lack of Data Deters Criminal Justice Reform"

Diane Menashe Featured in Law360: "Judges on Race: Lack of Data Deters Criminal Justice Reform"

Diane MenasheIce Miller LLP partner Diane Menashe was featured in the Law360 article, "Judges on Race: Lack of Data Deters Criminal Justice Reform."

The article included: 

In 2018, Diane Menashe, a prominent Columbus criminal defense attorney, was representing a young woman — whose name we'd prefer not to publicize — charged with involuntary manslaughter and other ancillary charges for supplying a lethal dose of heroin to the victim, another young woman. Menashe negotiated a plea agreement with prosecutors in which sentencing would be left up to the trial court judge. The case took place in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.

In advance of the hearing, Menashe learned that the prosecuting attorneys intended to advocate for a 13-year sentence, which was within statutory discretion of the court for the charges to which her client pled guilty.

Menashe nevertheless knew that this sentence was exponentially higher than other sentences received by similarly situated defendants, although she lacked the data to prove it. She arduously devoted over 30 hours of time combing through Franklin County's public court docket to uncover nine similar cases, including the prosecutors' recommendation in each case — the very same prosecutors she would face at her client's sentencing hearing.

Menashe included all of the prior recommendations and sentences in a sentencing memorandum to demonstrate that the 13-year recommendation was three times higher than the similarly situated defendants brought before judges in the past several years. Despite the emotionally fraught nature of the sentencing hearing, the data Menashe uncovered helped persuade the trial judge to adhere to his legal obligation to keep the sentence proportional to other defendants who were convicted of similar crimes.


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