Ohio Bar President Presses the Dangers of Issue One

SALEM, Ohio – Being sent to jail may or may not be right for every drug addict who goes to court, but the Ohio State Bar Association is pushing back against a proposed state constitutional amendment, Issue 1,  aimed at taking away the judge’s decision whether to jail a drug addict.

“[Jail] is a tool in the tool chest that some people need to be forced to go through treatment,” said Robin Weaver, president of the Ohio State Bar Association. “Passing this bill would be bad for the legal system and bad for society, quite frankly. Four grams of fentanyl, as much as four grams of salt, can kill an adult. If it’s that potent, there’s no such thing as an overdose.”

Weaver spoke at the Ohio Bar Association District 13 annual meeting Monday at the Salem Golf Club during which two long-time local attorneys were honored.

State Issue 1 addresses the drug problem in Ohio but would take away a judge’s discretion to send someone to jail for drug use or possession. Jail is often the turning point for many drug addicts, as it forces them to go through a rehab program, Weaver said.

Mary Augsburger, the state bar executive director and CEO, said one of its main goal is to ensure Ohioans have an attorney when they need one.

The association also is pushing back against imposing sales tax on legal services so that lawyers won’t have to collect tax on their services, said Todd Book, assistant executive director of policy public affairs.

At the annual meeting, two long-time members of the OSBA who have made outstanding contributions to their profession were honored.

Carl Raforth and Rush Elliot, both of Canfield, were recognized for 50 years of practice and service.

Raforth studied at the Ohio State College of Law where he received his degree and became a member of the bar association in 1968. Over the years, Raforth focused on practice areas such as bankruptcy and real estate law. He has taught at Youngstown State University and Kent State University.

“I’m very grateful to be a member of the Ohio Bar Association,” Raforth said when receiving his award.

Elliot earned his law-degree from Ohio Northern College of Law. He also joined the bar association in 1968.

“The benefit is you don’t have to pay dues after 50 years,” Elliot joked after he accepted his award in front of members at the meeting.

A third award, “Community Service Award for Attorneys Under 40,” went to Youngstown Municipal Court Judge Carla Baldwin.

“I’m always overwhelmed for being awarded for what you love,” she said. “Thank you all for acknowledging the work I’ve done and will continue to do.”

Pictured: Robin Weaver, president of the Ohio State Bar Association, speaks to members at the association’s annual meeting.

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