WEATHER ALERT

Ice Storm Warning issued for entire Miami Valley

Murder victim’s family denied aid because of prior drug use


Editors’s note: A months-long I-Team investigation of Ohio’s Crime Victim Compensation Program found the amount of assistance paid through the program has been steadily declining for a decade. Last year the program denied more people than it approved, and now spends almost as much on staff salaries and overhead as it gives in aid. Victims and victims’ advocates say some of the rules are too stringent for a program funded by criminals to help make repair damages done by crimes. Read the full story here.

***

Columbus attorney Michael Falleur says he routinely sees victims of assault who are denied help from the Ohio Victims Compensation Program because they have drugs in their system, and it doesn’t matter if the drugs are a factor in the crime.

“That dirty tox screen is going to disqualify them even if it had nothing to do with their victimization,” he said. “They ended that 30-minute high, yet they’re found to be in possession of drugs a week later.”

RELATED: Teen says she was raped, given drugs. Why was she denied aid from Ohio victims fund?

In a 2011 case Falleur pushed through the Ohio Court of Claims, a Columbus woman was killed by her ex-boyfriend who then committed suicide. Her autopsy found trace amounts of cocaine, meaning she had used the drug possibly days before she was murdered, according to Falleur.

A judge denied the claim saying the law was clear that even trace amounts of cocaine was evidence of felony conduct, meaning her children couldn’t get help with her burial, Falleur said.

“I don’t think that’s in the directive of the program,” he said.

FOLLOW THE I-TEAM ON FACEBOOK

Elizabeth Well, legal director of the Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center, said the program’s restrictions can undermine one of its goals, which is to encourage victims to report crimes.

FOLLOW JOSH SWEIGART ON TWITTER

“Obviously we know we are in an opioid epidemic in Ohio, which has been progressively getting worse and worse and there are going to be more victims because (addicts) are the most vulnerable,” she said.

The Ohio Victims Compensation Fund program, funded mostly by court fees and administered by the Attorney General’s office, has been paying out less each year going back a decade even as the number of claims spiked, an I-Team investigation found.

FULL REPORT: Claims spike, but fewer victims get compensation

Program rules disqualify people with drugs in their system, even if the drugs had nothing to do with the crime or were taken days prior.

The program also disqualifies people believed to have committed felony crimes in the previous 10 years, regardless of whether they were charged or acquitted.

Matthew Kanai, chief of the AG’s crime victims service division, said his office has little discretion in awarding assistance and is guided by the eligibility rules laid out in the law.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Kettering shooting is 6th by cop this year; here are the others

Ohio’s toughest sheriff weighs in on Arpaio pardon

Are black female inmates given smaller cells at Montgomery county jail?

County reaches $375K settlement with pepper-sprayed inmate

County’s review of questionable tax breaks slowed by appraisal appeals

Amid panhandlng problem, group is on front lines fighting homelessness

Feds won’t charge Beavercreek officer in Walmart shooting



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

School district will focus on supporting students after teen indicted on sex crime charges
School district will focus on supporting students after teen indicted on sex crime charges

The Logan County 15-year-old accused of assaulting a six-year-old on a Benjamin Logan school bus now faces additional charges after three other potential victims have been identified. Court documents show the teen was indicted Tuesday by a grand jury on two counts of rape and seven counts of gross sexual imposition. The indictment indicates three other...
5 tips for driving on icy roads
5 tips for driving on icy roads

An Ice Storm Warning has been issued for the entire Miami Valley. A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for the the following counties until noon: Mercer, Auglaize, Shelby, Logan, Darke, Miami, Champaign and Clark. With slick roads in parts of the region, it’s important to drive with caution if you hit ice. Here are five tips for driving...
Request to rename street after Medal of Honor recipient sparks closer look at policy
Request to rename street after Medal of Honor recipient sparks closer look at policy

A veteran and former police officer advocating that Middletown’s only Medal of Honor winner be recognized by naming a park or street named after him continues his efforts as the city considers its policy on such efforts. MORE: Middletown may rename street, park after city’s only Medal of Honor recipient Last month, David Shortt and Deb...
CMA Awards 2018: Keith Urban, Chris Stapleton, Kacey Musgraves score big
CMA Awards 2018: Keith Urban, Chris Stapleton, Kacey Musgraves score big

For only the second time in his career, Keith Urban walked away from the Country Music Association Awards cradling the most notable award – entertainer of the year. The gracious musician, who earlier in the show blasted through his sexy funk jam, “Never Comin’ Down,” reacted with genuine shock, likely assuming that the...
CMA Awards 2018: Backstage with Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Garth Brooks and more
CMA Awards 2018: Backstage with Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Garth Brooks and more

Unlike other award shows, the CMAs usually deliver the biggest winners of the night to the media center backstage. Some pop in during the telecast – as Garth Brooks, Brothers Osborne and Old Dominion did – while others, usually the major names nominated in later categories, swing through after the show. This year, the press room ...
More Stories