A Skilled Criminal Defense Lawyer with a Passion for Justice
It has been twenty-five years since Criminal Defense Lawyer James D. Owen successfully won his first murder case. In a shocking incident, John Meysenburg was fatally shot during a robbery at a flower shop. The State accused Donald Hairston, aged twenty-one at the time, and it was attorneys David Bodiker and James D. Owen who defended him. Despite a well-publicized escape attempt and eyewitness evidence linking Hairston to the crime, the jury reached a unanimous verdict of “Not Guilty.”
Described by Cincinnati Magazine as a groundbreaking figure, James Owen presented overlooked evidence that resulted in Ohio’s first death penalty acquittal after executions had been reinstated.
Over the years, Owen has continued to accumulate a remarkable record of “not guilty” verdicts. He has expanded his legal expertise beyond criminal defense, dedicating himself to freeing innocent individuals from wrongful imprisonment and pursuing civil lawsuits against government officials who have unlawfully detained them.
Uncovering the Truth: The Battle for Timothy Howard and Gary James
Timothy Howard and Gary James, childhood friends from Columbus’ East Side, were convicted of a 1976 bank robbery and murder. Originally sentenced to death, their punishments were later commuted to life imprisonment when Ohio’s death penalty was deemed unconstitutional in 1978. However, their freedom would remain elusive until James Owen and Centurion Ministries – a non-profit organization dedicated to aiding wrongfully imprisoned individuals – took up their case.
The subsequent legal battle unfolded like a gripping Hollywood movie. The prosecutor claimed that his briefcase containing crucial fingerprint evidence, capable of exonerating Howard and James, had been stolen from a downtown bar. Surprisingly, an FBI agent and a judge testified in favor of the prisoners, with the agent expressing doubts about their guilt.
In 2003, after an arduous legal struggle, the prosecutor presented Howard with an offer: immediate release in exchange for admitting to the lesser crime of manslaughter. Howard resolutely declined, stating that his innocence was the only thing he had left, and he would not compromise it for anything.
Thanks to James Owen’s tenacious representation and the collaborative efforts of Centurion Ministries, both Howard and James were exonerated and released from prison in 2003. This triumph led to the largest wrongful imprisonment award in the history of Ohio.
Owen maintains a close working relationship with Jim McCloskey, the founder of Centurion Ministries, ensuring continuous support for innocent individuals who have been unjustly imprisoned.
A Champion for Justice: Beyond Criminal Defense
In addition to his work on behalf of the wrongfully imprisoned and disadvantaged, James Owen has also represented a diverse range of clients, including an NFL player, doctors, judges, and politicians, including a U.S. Congressman and Ohio Secretary of State. His expertise in criminal defense has garnered recognition for its exceptional quality, thoroughness, and unwavering dedication. From 2006 to 2014, Ohio Super Lawyers magazine consistently ranked James Owen in the top 5% of practicing attorneys in Ohio.
Notable Cases Involving James Owen
Here are just a few of the many cases where James Owen’s exceptional legal skills and commitment to justice have made a difference:
State of Ohio v. Bowie
Former NFL football player indicted for Carrying a Concealed Weapon and Improper Transportation of a Firearm. The jury found the client NOT GUILTY on both charges.
State of Ohio v. Mirreh
Accused of Kidnapping and Attempted Rape. The jury found the client NOT GUILTY on both charges.
State of Ohio v. Turner
Facing charges of Murder and three counts of Involuntary Manslaughter. The jury found the client NOT GUILTY on all four charges. Although found guilty of minor offenses, the client was released from jail on the day of the verdict.
State of Ohio v. Howard
Accused of Aggravated Murder and Robbery. CONVICTIONS OVERTURNED. CASE DISMISSED. Subsequently, a civil murder trial acquitted the client of all charges.
State of Ohio v. James
Co-defendant of Howard, James also had his CONVICTIONS OVERTURNED AND CASE DISMISSED.
State of Ohio v. Smith
Charged with Robbery. The jury delivered a NOT GUILTY verdict on all counts.
State of Ohio v. Mefford
Facing multiple counts of attempted rape. The jury found the client NOT GUILTY on all charges.
State of Ohio v. Hairston
Accused of Aggravated Murder with death penalty specifications and other charges. The jury returned a NOT GUILTY verdict on all counts.
State of Ohio v. Reeves
Charged with Rape and gross sexual imposition. The jury found the client NOT GUILTY on all charges.
State of Ohio v. Green
Facing charges of Breaking and entering and possession of criminal tools. The Court directed a verdict of NOT GUILTY on all counts.
State of Ohio v. Jones
Accused of Aggravated drug trafficking based on multiple sales of narcotics to an undercover police officer. The jury found the client NOT GUILTY on all charges due to entrapment by the officer.
State of Ohio v. Walker
Charged with Aggravated vehicular homicide. The jury announced a NOT GUILTY verdict on all charges.
State of Ohio v. Cross
Accused of Aggravated drug trafficking. The jury found the client NOT GUILTY on all charges.
State of Ohio v. Hollman I
Charged with Aggravated murder with death penalty specifications and other charges. The jury returned a NOT GUILTY verdict on all counts.
State of Ohio v. Hollman II
Facing multiple counts of Aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, and felonious assault with a firearm. The jury announced a NOT GUILTY verdict on all charges.
State of Ohio v. Brown
Charged with Rape and felonious assault. The jury found the client NOT GUILTY on all charges.
State of Ohio v. Flaherty
Originally convicted of Aggravated murder with death penalty specifications and other charges. The CONVICTION WAS REVERSED on a direct appeal due to errors raised in the trial court.
State of Ohio v. Berry
Accused of Aggravated murder with death penalty specifications and other charges. The jury announced a NOT GUILTY verdict on all counts.
United States v. Gurden
Facing Federal firearms violations. The jury found the client NOT GUILTY on all charges.
State of Ohio v. Resh
Charged with Murder and Attempted Rape. Post-conviction litigation, heard by a visiting judge, the Court of Appeals, and the Ohio Supreme Court, resulted in both CONVICTIONS BEING OVERTURNED.
For more information about James Owen and his exceptional legal practice, visit the official Garrity Traina website.