Judge cites recent Ohio SUPCO DuBose ruling against McGuffey in setting bail for murder for Marquez Thomas
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Citing a recent Ohio Supreme Court ruling on bail, a Mahoning County Court of Common Pleas judge on Friday reduced bail for a man accused of shooting four people in a West Side apartment complex, killing one of them.
Judge John Durkin ruled the $800,000 bond given to Marquez Thomas, 24, of North Glenellen Avenue, is unconstitutional under the state and US constitution because he is effectively being held without bail because he can’t afford to post it.
Bail for Thomas was set at $150,000 with an electronic house arrest if he mails it and an order barring him from having any contact with the victims in the case or their families.
The case is believed to be the first in Mahoning County to cite the Supreme Court’s decision, Dubose v. McGuffey.
Thomas is charged with a shooting at around 1:15 a.m. Dec. 27 in the parking lot of a Tyrell Avenue apartment complex that killed 42-year-old Joseph Addison and injured three others. He faces a charge of aggravated murder and three counts of attempted murder.
Police are also looking for his sister, C’Mone Thomas, 22, also charged with aggravated murder.
Judge Durkin said he based his decision on a January 4-3 ruling by the state Supreme Court that found bail was a way to ensure someone appeared in court and that sureties excessive are unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court ruling stems from a suspect in a 2020 Hamilton County murder, Justin Dubose, 26, appealing his $1.5 million bond, calling it unreasonable and unconstitutional. The Su[PremeCourtOfAppealsrulingthatreducedthesuspect’sbondfrom$15millionto$500000[PremeCourtaconfirméunedécisiondelaCourd’appeldupremierdistrictquiavaitréduitlacautiondususpectde15milliondedollarsà500000dollars[premeCourtupheldaFirstDistrictCourtOfAppealsrulingthatreducedthesuspect’sbondfrom5millionto0000
The panel pointed to a clause in the state criminal code that judges should use the least restrictive terms to ensure a defendant appears in future court hearings.
Dubose had claimed the bail was unconstitutional because he had limited resources, had no criminal record and also had community ties.
Thomas’s attorney, Lynn Maro, also cited the ruling as asking that her client’s bail be reduced by $800,000, which was set at his Jan. 3 arraignment in city court before the case be sent to a grand jury at $100,000.
Maro said his client is indigent and she was appointed by the court to represent him, which means he doesn’t even have the money to pay a lawyer, let alone a high bond.
Thomas has no prior criminal record and in his two misdemeanor cases he never missed a court date, Maro said. Maro said he had lived in the area all his life, had family in the area and his girlfriend and mother consulted him regularly on the case and that he worked as a welder before to be arrested.
Anticipating arguments from Assistant District Attorney Nick Brevetta that his client was guilty of the crime, Maro said it had to be proven by a jury.
“As he sits here today, regardless of what the prosecutor says, Mr. Thomas is presumed innocent of these offences,” Maro said.
Brevetta said that under Ohio’s Revised Code, a judge is permitted to consider the safety of the community when determining the amount of bail. In the Thomas case, Brevetta said Thomas was seen on video committing the crimes he is charged with and had access to a gun.
Brevetta said judges can also consider the weight of evidence when setting bail. Thomas was seen on video shooting and that evidence is compelling, Brevetta said.
“I could ask for better evidence, but that would be an admission,” Brevetta said.
Brevetta also pointed out that despite Thomas’ claims that he has family support, there were no family members at his audition. The victims of the case were also notified, as required by state law, and they were not present either. Thomas also has an incentive to flee because if convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison, Brevetta said.
Justice Durkin said bail was intended to ensure a defendant’s appearance at court hearings and the Supreme Court’s decision emphasized this aspect of bail.
The Supreme Court also said that public safety is not a “consideration in relation to the financial terms of bail”, but the court said that other restrictions that are not financial – such as the prohibiting an accused from contacting certain people or from traveling – can be used to ensure public safety.
The judge said the decision “makes it clear that an $800,000 bond is in fact a detention order” and unconstitutional under the state and US constitutions.
Court records show Thomas has a March 8 trial date and a March 14 trial date, which will almost certainly be pushed back.