Court decision upheld in case involving attorney, former WLW talk show host

Ohio’s 2nd District Court of Appeals upheld a Miami County judge’s revocation of an intervention program for Lisa Wells, a Cincinnati defense lawyer stopped and charged with drug offenses in Miami County in 2016.

Wells in December filed an appeal of Common Pleas Court Judge Jeannine Pratt’s decision Nov. 7 finding her guilty of violating conditions of an intervention in lieu of conviction program and sentencing her to three years of “no breaks” community control.

The appeals court heard oral arguments in the appeal in August from defense lawyer H. Louis Sirkin of Cincinnati and Paul Watkins, Miami County first assistant county prosecutor. The appeals court ruling was filed Sept. 4.

Wells first was charged after being stopped by state troopers on Interstate 75 in 2016 and having amphetamines and other drugs in her vehicle. Wells lives in West Chester, is a defense lawyer in the Cincinnati area and was a guest on WLW Radio programs.

Her participation in an in lieu of conviction program approved in 2017 was terminated by Pratt. Wells was jailed in October after she failed to appear for ordered court hearings and failed drug tests. Defense lawyers argued those failures were due, in part, to her drug addiction and hospitalization for treatment.

Sirkin argued the court did not have jurisdiction to take action against Wells because her initial two-year term of in lieu of conviction probation initiated April 7, 2017, had expired before any notice of violation was filed in late April 2019. The Miami County court violated Wells' rights to due process, Sirkin argued. If that was the case, the guilty findings and the resulting sentence of “no breaks” community control should be dismissed, Sirkin said.

Watkins argued that Wells was required under ILC to provide reports showing compliance with the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program for chemical dependency treatment but had failed to provide reports or respond to inquiries about the reports.

In its ruling, the appeals court justices rejected Wells' claims of due process violations, saying she was given notice of hearings and an opportunity to be heard, and of double jeopardy, ruling that the indictment against her was still pending before the Nov. 7 hearing.

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