The Ohio House of Representatives today passed Substitute Senate Bill 160, legislation that amends Ohio law pertaining to release of prisoners and victims’ rights.

Among other provisions, Sub. S.B. 160, also known as “Roberta’s Law”:

• Requires that any judicial release hearing be held not less than 30 days or more than 60 days after the date on which the motion is filed
• Generally requires a prosecuting attorney who receives notice that a court has scheduled a judicial release hearing with respect to a first, second or third degree felony offense of violence to notify the victim or the victim’s representative of the hearing regardless of whether they requested notification
• Specifies that the notice is not to be given if the victim or victim’s representative “opts out” of the mandatory notice and provides for notice of the opportunity to opt out of future notices
• Requires that an institutional summary report with respect to the offender be provided to the prosecuting attorney or a law enforcement agency upon request
• Requires the court to notify the prosecuting attorney of any judicial release
• Requires the prosecuting attorney to provide notice of any judicial release to the victim or victim’s representative
• Prescribes the manner of providing the notices and of keeping records with respect to the notices

A House amendment clarifies that judges have discretion to impose prison time for fourth and fifth degree sex offenders—even if those offenses were not an “offense of violence”—and includes additional factors that give the court discretion to sentence non-violent fourth and fifth degree sex offenders to a prison term.

Sub. S.B. 160 will be sent back to the Senate for concurrence.


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