Thursday, October 11, 2012

"from a motor vehicle" means from "inside" or "on top" of a motor vehicle (10 11 12)

R.C. 2941.146(A) adds a five year mandatory prison term when a gun is fired "from" a motor vehicle. Michael Swidas shot Ulysses "Cory" Altizer after Swidas retrieved a gun from inside his car and while he stood between the open door and the car. Swidas was not inside the car and he was not on the car. So Swidas objected to the firearm specification which applied to those who shoot "from a motor vehicle." The trial court and prosecutor believed that Swidas shot "from a motor vehicle." Swidas lost his appeal.

Now the Ohio Supreme Court has weighed in on the matter. The OSC says that there has to be a "substantial physical connection to the vehicle." Standing next to the vehicle does not count. The shooter has to be "in or on a motor vehicle" when he shoots for the firearm specification in R.C. 2941.146(A) to apply. State v. Swidas, 2012-Ohio-4638.

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