Attorney Blaise Katter of the Huey Defense Firm was honored to be invited to speak at the recent Superstars Seminar, organized and sponsored by the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
The Superstars Seminar is an annual seminar designed to celebrate the best and brightest of the Criminal Defense Lawyers in Ohio, and also coincides with the new President of the OACDL taking charge of the organization.
Blaise is the Public Policy chair for the OACDL and regularly works with the General Assembly on criminal justice legislation. He was honored to be asked to speak by OACDL President Shawn Dominy on the topic of Legislative Affairs.
Keeping with the Rock’n’Roll theme, Blaise’s presentation was entitled “You can’t always get what you want.”
Blaise’s presentation was designed to help educate the OACDL membership about the Legislative Process and the OACDL goals and strategy for criminal justice legislation. The presentation was divided into three main parts:
- supporting and praising legislators for bold, innovative ideas to positively reform criminal justice issues;
- Whenever possible, suggesting changes to the statutory language to help ensure the legislation is drafted as narrowly and effectively as possible, to improve legislation and help avoid problems down the road; and
- As rarely as possible, to vigorously oppose proposed legislation that would be harmful or detrimental to the criminal justice system and concepts of fundamental fairness and due process.
During the presentation, Blaise gave many specific examples of those goals in action.
Under the first category, he explained how OACDL is one of the biggest cheerleaders of Senate Bill 3, an ambitious and much needed overhaul of Ohio’s drug laws.
He explained how the Senate needed strong supporters of the proposed reforms to counteract the pushback from prosecutor’s and judges, and how the organization could help support and praise the Senate for taking such a bold, necessary, and important step towards aligning our drug laws with science and good public policy.
Another noteworthy example of the Public Policy committee at work is perfectly summarized by the recent passage of Senate Bill 28. As originally drafted, this bill would have significantly raised the penalties relating to certain domestic situations.
However, the bill was originally very poorly drafted, and could have had far reaching consequences of over-criminalizing truly innocent conduct while not sufficiently addressing the original intent.
Blaise testified on the bill, suggesting changes to the language to help address the overbreadth issue. Blaise was thrilled that the General Assembly agreed and adopted the amendment, making a bad bill into one that will benefit Ohioans.
Finally, there are some bills that simply cannot be salvaged, as they fundamentally seek to weaken cherished constitutional protections and disrupt the balance of the justice system.
One such bill, which seeks to vastly weaken speedy trial protections on felonies, is simply beyond repair.
Therefore, Blaise has helped lead the charge fighting this bill’s passage, while ensuring that the opposition to the specific bill does not impact the good work being done on other bills.
During the presentation outlining those bills, seminar attendees were very interested and involved with the presentation. Many members expressed significant support for the legislative goals and asked great questions and offered excellent advice regarding some legislation. Blaise was very appreciative of the positive feedback from the attendees.
In addition, Blaise was also surprised and elated to be specially honored by outgoing President Michael Streng for his work for the OACDL.
Blaise was awarded the special President’s Award for his many hours of work with the General Assembly on legislation.
During his time as Public Policy chair for the organization, Blaise has reviewed numerous bills, testified in front of the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives on proposed legislation, and has been successful at educating and working with the General Assembly to help the legislature understand and refine several criminal justice bills.
Blaise was especially pleased that his work has helped the OACDL advance the cause of criminal justice reform throughout Ohio and is deeply appreciative of the honor.
Learn more about criminal defense attorney Blaise Katter.