Faculty in the News
Ric Simmons Media Hits
The following is a list of selected media coverage for Ric Simmons. The links below will direct you to sites that are not affiliated with the Moritz College of Law. They are subject to change, and some may expire or require registration as time passes.
Professor Ric Simmons was interviewed by WBNS Channel 10 about the privacy over calls maken mistakenly and unknowingly, commonly known as "pocket dialing." The issue comes up in a federal lawsuit with the Cincinnati Airport Board.
"The question is what right to privacy do you have in an accidental phone call you make to somebody else?" Simmons said.
He says the law pertaining to privacy in communication is the 1968 Wiretapping Law, intended to keep third parties, like the government, from listening to your calls.
"That law is based on consent. The idea is if you call someone, you're consenting to the fact, implicitly, that they might record the call. Of course that's based on the assumption that you called them intentionally, and now we have a question where the call was not intentional."
Professor Ric Simmons was interviewed for an article by the Cincinnati Enquirer about a lawsuit involving the legality of a "butt dial." The chairman of the board that oversees the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport accidently and unknowling called an administrative assistant, raising legal questions about what level of privacy a "butt call" merits. Simmons said the results of the case could have a large impact.
“There are major broad issues here that have implications for just about everyone,” said Simmons. “What if you are going through a divorce and you are talking to your attorney or friend about the case and you accidentally dial your estranged spouse? What happens then?
“And with recording devices becoming more and more ubiquitous, this case could get to how we as citizens want our privacy protected when something like a butt dial happens.”
Professor Ric Simmons was interviewed by NPR's WKSU for a story about the Steubenville rape case, in which five adults were indicted this week. Simmons spoke on the role social media played in the indictment process.
"The social media pressure not only overcame the initial difficulty in the case of people not wanting to take it seriously, but also now it's led to indictments of other people who weren't being cooperative," he said.
Professor Ric Simmons was interviewed by the Associated Press for a stroy about an Ohio Supreme Court ruling that prohibited a child's statements in an abuse hearing. Simmons said the ruling could have an effect on future cases.
"It could make a big difference in these kinds of cases where you're relying on a child's testimony," he said.
Professor Ric Simmons was featured in a radio interview with Voice of Russia about recently implemented fake drug checkpoints in Ohio. Actual drug checkpoints are not legal, but posting signs that drug checkpoints are coming up is legal. Simmons said the “checkpoints” are not entrapment, but can more accurately be defined as deception, because the police are not causing motorists to commit a crime, but they are deceiving them with the fake checkpoints.
“From the police point of view they’re trying to essentially smoke out the people who are guilty. They’re assuming the people who are guilty will act a certain way and innocent people will simply drive on by and say, ‘Oh, drug checkpoint, that doesn’t matter.’ So the police argument is you really don’t have to worry about these signs, this deception, unless you actually are carrying drugs in your car.”
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in Cleveland's The Plain Dealer about fake drug checkpoints recently installed in Mayfield Heights (Northeast Ohio). Officers aren't allowed to use checkpoints to search vehicles for drugs, so instead they have posted signs and gauge drivers' reactions to the signs. While some oppose the checkpoint as not being fair, Simmons said police are allowed to deceive people, thus the fake checkpoint was legal.
"They can lie to anybody," Simmons said.
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted by the RT news network about fake drug checkpoints being set up in Cleveland. Police are not legally allowed to set up actual drug checkpoints, but can set up signs advertising that there will be checkpoints. Instead of pulling over cars at random, police monitor the behavior of motorists after they see the signs, and if they seem suspicious, police can then pull them over.
While some oppose this tactic, Simmons says of the police, "They can lie to anybody."
Professor Ric Simmons was interviewed by The Voice of Russia about the Supreme Court's ruling that police may take routine DNA cheek swabs from suspects who have been arrested but not yet convicted of a crime. The decision comes in the wake of the Maryland v. King case, in which a man was charged with rape in 2009 when DNA taken following his arrest matched DNA from a 2003 rape case. According to Supreme Court judges, taking a DNA sample using a swab of the cheek is “like fingerprinting and photographing.”
Simmons said the ruling could lead to an expansion of the use of DNA testing in crime control.
"I think if it leads to a greater amount of DNA testing of not just felony arrests but all arrestees I think it could be the beginning of something historic which would a broad expansion of the use of DNA in crime control," he said. "I think that there’s nothing in the Supreme Court decision that will limit this DNA testing to felonies and so I think states, which are always under pressure to find new ways to track down criminals will quickly adopt the method of using DNA to test all arrestees, people who are arrested for any kind of crime. And the DNA database itself is becoming larger and likely to become more true as more states engage in this procedure."
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in a Reuters article about the possibiliy of the Cleveland man who kidnapped 3 women and held them hostage for nearly a decade being charged with homicide for the death of the victims' unborn fetuses. The story appeared in the Chicago Tribune and other publications.
He said he thinks prosecutors could have a case.
"Frankly, I think it could fly. It seems like they have the witnesses they need to establish this. The legal requirements for murder are set out here so I am not surprised they are doing this," Simmons said.
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted on ABC 6 News about evidence regarding the Boston marathon bombings. "They're going to find fragments of items that were used in the bombing and that might trace to a certain store but what they need is human intelligence somebody who heard somebody talking who heard someone doing something suspicious beforehand," said Simmons.
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in an article in Forbes regarding the Supreme Court decision to deem a dog-sniffing search of property illegal to obtain a search warrant. “Physical trespass as a form of government surveillance is falling by the wayside,” said Ric Simmons, who teaches criminal procedure at the Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law. “Soon enough we will have drones that can follow cars. This decision doesn’t address that situation, or satellites, or going through third parties like OnStar to track a suspect.”
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in an article from the Huffington Post about the role social media is playing in the Steubenville rape case.
"What happens in basements and at drunken parties used to stay there," said Simmons. But the huge role that social media played in the Ohio case, and the vast amount of evidence it created, he says, "brings these things out into the open. People are starting to talk about it, and people are starting to realize how the law treats this kind of behavior."
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in an article by the Associated Press regarding the sentencing of two Steubenville high school football players for raping a drunk 16-year-old girl. "What happens in basements and at drunken parties used to stay there," says Simmons. But the huge role that social media played in the Ohio case, and the vast amount of evidence it created, he says, "brings these things out into the open. People are starting to talk about it, and people are starting to realize how the law treats this kind of behavior."
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in an article in the Canyon News regarding the verdict of the Steubenville rape case and the likelihood that more charges will be filed against those who may have known about the felony. “That’s a law that’s rarely used in any state,” Simmons said. “But certainly rarely used in Ohio just because it’s very hard to prove that someone actually knew a felony was occurring. If [people at the party] heard secondhand or people were telling jokes and so on about this, I think it would be really hard to meet the standard required for the state of mind to say that someone actually knew that a crime occurred.”
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in an article on ABC News regarding the failure of others involved in the Steubenville rape case to come forward with information. "There is an Ohio law that makes it a crime not to report a felony, like rape, but the law is rarely used. 'That's a law that's rarely used in any state, I would believe, but certainly rarely used in Ohio just because it's very hard to prove that someone actually knew a felony was occurring,' attorney and professor Ric Simmons told ABCNews.com. 'We also don't usually prosecute crimes of omission. Not doing something is not usually illegal.'"
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in an article in the Los Angeles Times regarding the two Steubenville high school students convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl. Simmons was surprised at the lack of understanding by high school students of what defines "rape." "I think that this is, unfortunately, a pretty common view," he said. "I hope it'll be less common after this case."
Professor Ric Simmons wrote a commentary for CNN.com about the two Steubenville high school teens convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl. "The law has evolved as societal norms have changed. Lots of sexual conduct occurs when one or both participants are intoxicated to some extent. The question that the law needs to answer -- but at times struggles to answer -- is at what point one person's intoxication is so severe that she (or he, in theory) is legally unable to give meaningful consent," he wrote.
Professor Ric Simmons appeared on the NBC Nightly News to give his insight regarding the rape case of two Steubenville high school football players.
Professor Ric Simmons was on NBC's Today Show and provided insight into a rape case going to trial in Stuebenville, OH. "The defense doesn't have to prove anything. It is the prosecutor that has to prove that she did not consent," Simmons said.
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in The Columbus Dispatch about the increase in security cameras and its effect on privacy. “If you’re in a place where you can be observed by police, you can put cameras there instead,” Simmons said.
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in an article in The Lantern about Ohio State's policy on concealed carry and what students are doing about it. “If Ohio Revised Code gives you the right to carry this gun in their car, then the Ohio Revised code would overrule the Student Code of Conduct,” Simmons said. “But it’s not clear to me that Ohio Revised Code does give them the right to carry the gun in the car. It simply says they are not banned from it, but that doesn’t mean that someone else can’t ban it.”
'Alabama Teabagger' who rubbed genitals in face of LSU fan pleads guilty to obscenity in 11th hour dealOctober 3, 2012
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in a Daily Mail article about the recent plea deal a University of Alabama football fan took after a he was videotaped "teabagging" an unconscious Louisiana State University football fan after a game. "Technically a prosecutor does not need a victim to prosecute a crime, as long as there is other evidence sufficient to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. But although it is possible to obtain a conviction in a case like this without a victim, it will be difficult to do so. A jury may not take the case very seriously if there is no victim willing to testify. In this case, as reprehensible as the conduct may appear to some, others may see it as merely a crude college prank which does not rise to the level of criminal behavior. That perspective will only be reinforced if the victim does not care enough about the case to come forward. Given this challenge, a prosecutor’s office may be reluctant to commit their scarce resources to prosecuting such a case," Simmons said.
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in The Columbus Dispatch in an article about Ohio’s mayor’s courts not following the law. Simmons said Ohio’s mayor’s court system is outdated.
“These more informal methods are more from an era when we weren’t as concerned with everyone’s rights and making sure the proper proceedings are followed,” he said. “Now, we’re not as willing to cut those corners.”
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in an article by The Lantern for being recognized as one of nine professors at the University receiving the 2012 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching.
“I work very hard every year to try to become better at teaching and to try to make sure students are essentially getting their money’s worth when they are sitting in the classroom or when they are coming to talk to me after class,” Simmons said. “I’ve won teaching awards from the law school before which obviously mean a lot, but for the university to have so many great teachers and so many faculty members overall, to win this award on a university wide (scale) really is the greatest honor I could have.”
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in an Akron-Beacon Journal article about relationships between lawyers and judges outside of the courtroom and the impact of those relationships inside the court room. “Friendships between lawyers and judges are quite common. I guess you draw the line if it is more than friendship, if it turns into a romantic or sexual relationship, I think that means you shouldn’t practice in front of that judge, or the judge should recuse herself,” Simmons said. “Anything else, I think, is not only acceptable, it’s common.”
Shocking video shows unconscious US football fan being sexually assaulted by rival supporter in front of dozens of college studentsJanuary 18, 2012
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in an article on MailOnline.com about the sexual assault of an unconscious sport spectator.
An unconscious Louisiana State University football fan was assaulted in a New Orleans restaurant by several University of Alabama football fans and caught on film.
The victim had not yet come forward, but Simmons said it may not be necessary.
"Technically a prosecutor does not need a victim to prosecute a crime, as long as there is other evidence sufficient to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt," Simmons said. "But although it is possible to obtain a conviction in a case like this without a victim, it will be difficult to do so. A jury may not take the case very seriously if there is no victim willing to testify."
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted by the Dayton Daily News in an article about a federal judge declining to release most of the 121 letters she received in support of former MCSi Inc. Chief Executive Michael E. Peppel, whom she sentenced to seven days in prison for the fraud that led to the company’s collapse. U.S. District Judge Sandra S. Beckwith ruled that the bulk of the letters are not public record.
A judge does have discretion to keep such documents private, but doing so deprives the public of access to information that judges use in sentencing criminals, said Ric Simmons, a former Manhattan prosecutor in New York City.
“People want to know why judges make decisions, and this is going to make it hard for them to understand,” Simmons said. “It’s perceived legitimacy, or public confidence, in the judiciary. That’s why we have open courts and public trials.”
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted by the Dayton Daily News in an article that also was published by the Middletown Journal. The piece focused on the seven-day prison sentence U.S. Disrict Judge Sandra S. Beckwith imposed on the former MCSi, Inc. ex-chief executive for his admission to crimes that led to the company’s collapse in 2003.
Sentences will vary because different sets of facts in various cases may justify a more or less severe punishment than the guidelines suggest, in the opinion of a judge who has heard the evidence, said Simmons, who was formerly a prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office in New York City.
“Every crime is unique, really,” he said.
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in a Dayton Daily News article about MCSi Inc.'s ex-chief executive Michael E. Peppel receiving a seven-day prison sentence for the elaborate fraud he committed. Peppel’s sentence could give the impression that white-collar crime won’t be firmly punished, Simmons said. “I can see how people could perceive a double-standard, in that these kinds of deviations are unusual,” Simmons said. “If I were the prosecutor, I’d be shocked.”
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in the Columbus Dispatch in an article about public outcry over red-light cameras. Ohio State University law professor Ric Simmons said Americans believe in basic principles of justice: that we are innocent until proven guilty, that we have the right to our day in court. We also believe in the right to confront our accusers, which is in the Bill of Rights. Simmons said most people probably agree that red lights are necessary and that ignoring them should be illegal. "But the idea (that) you can be charged with a crime based solely on a photograph, they feel that's not right," he said.
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in a Lantern article regarding a weekend party on campus that was broken up by police using pepper spray. Ric Simmons, professor of criminal law and criminal procedure at the Moritz College of Law, said generally police can be held liable if they don't follow their own procedures. "They have the police procedures in place, and that is what they should be following," Simmons said. "If they don't follow those, they certainly could be sued." But Simmons, who does not know all the facts of this particular case, said the truth is often hard to establish after an event like Woodfest. "It's really hard to find out what the facts were if there were 1,000 people. If things happened very rapidly and people's memories might not be as good for a variety of reasons, legally, that might be a challenge," Simmons said. "Practically, it might be hard to demonstrate what did happen because I imagine it to be a very chaotic scene."
Professor Ric Simmons was recently quoted in a Columbus Dispatch story about the indictment of Matthew J. Hoffman, who would have spent the rest of his life in prison even without the rape charge included by the prosecutor. The story states: “‘But I'd hope we're progressing to the point where there wouldn't be a stigma for (being a rape survivor),’ he said. ‘If you're a victim of a robbery or burglary or assault, there's no stigma for that.’”
Professor Ric Simmons recently published an Opinion-Editorial in The Columbus Dispatch about the debate as to whether citizens should select their state judges by election. The editorial states: “Both sides make legitimate arguments. Proponents of judicial elections argue that judges deserve to have their own power base, rather than be dependent on the other two branches for appointment or retention, and that in a democracy, voters deserve the right to hire and fire government officials who can issue important and sometimes effectively irrevocable policy decisions. Opponents of judicial elections argue that the process of executive nomination and legislative confirmation results in a higher-quality bench and that voters are unqualified to select judges, because voters frequently know next to nothing about the judicial candidates on the ballot.”
Professor Ric Simmons was recently mentioned in a Cincinnati Enquirer story about a new program he has created that takes users through a quiz to help the decided which judge they might want to vote for. The story states: “An Ohio State University law professor, Ric Simmons, has spent the last couple years creating it.”
Professor Ric Simmons was recently mentioned in a Columbus Dispatch story about a new program he has created. The story states: “Ohio State University law Professor Ric Simmons developed an online survey to help voters choose candidates for the Ohio Supreme Court and lesser courts.”
Professor Ric Simmons was recently quoted in a Columbus Dispatch story about letters being sent to a judge and the rules that forbid contact before sentencing. The story states: “Letters sent directly to a judge endanger the system, said Ric Simmons, a professor at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law.”
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in a Cincinnati Business Courier story regarding the city of Columbus filing charges against the Cincinnati Public School system. The story states: “Indeed it might be the first time any Ohio municipality has taken such action, said Ric Simmons, an Ohio State University professor who teaches criminal law at the Moritz College of Law. ‘It’s a very dramatic thing to do,’ Simmons said, ‘and not something you’d want to do unless all other options have failed.’”
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in a Columbus Dispatch article about the partisan affiliation of candidates. The article expresses opinion that hiding that affiliation is pointless and leads to confusion. Simmons was quoted regarding the behavior of the judges: “‘On the appellate level, Democrat and Republican judges behave as you might expect them to behave,’ said Ric Simmons, associate professor at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law. Said another way — and this is my interpretation — they are as much politicians as they are judges.”
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in a Dayton Daily News story about delays in a trial involving a Dayton CEO accused of masterminding a massive fraud. The story says: “‘Witnesses are going to forget things, they’re going to move away,’ said Ric Simmons, a former state prosecutor in New York City who is now an Ohio State University associate professor of law.”
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in a Toledo Blade story about a judge banning media from a trial in northwest Ohio. The story states: "Still, there are alternatives for situations like this, said Ric Simmons, an associate professor of law at the Moritz College of Law at the Ohio State University. 'You can move the trial to another county, which I know is more expensive, but that's the cost of doing business in a country where we have a free press,' Mr. Simmons said."
Professor Ric Simmons was mentioned in a Columbus Dispatch story about an Ohio University fraternity that was charged with hazing. The story states: “Ric Simmons, an associate law professor at Ohio State University, said state law permits an organization or company to be charged with criminal offenses. While no jail sentence can be imposed, a judge can impose a sanction of community service and a fine in a misdemeanor case, Simmons said.”
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in an Associated Press story about the new U.S. attorney in Ohio. The story states: “Although priorities change from one administration to another, the overall focus of the office is unlikely to change much since the primary job is to enforce U.S. laws, said Ric Simmons, an Ohio State University law professor and criminal law expert. He said keeping terrorism at the top of the list was a political necessity. ‘It's hard for me to imagine terrorism is the number one priority for law enforcement in this area,’ Simmons said.”
Ohio State professor Ric Simmons was quoted in a Cleveland Plain-Dealer article regarding Ohio's Supreme Court decision to allow 3rd year law students to represent felony defendents. The story states: "But Ohio State law professor Ric Simmons said the change probably won't make a big difference. 'I think the worry was that students are somehow not prepared to handle felony cases,' said Simmons, who runs the OSU law school's prosecution clinic. 'But I think that worry is overblown.'"
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in a Dayton Daily News article after Warren County prosecutors appealed a retrial in the Ryan Widmer bathtub murder case. The story states: “Ric Simmons, an associate law professor at Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law, a criminal specialist, said the Ohio Revised Code is mum on the issue. ‘ORC 2945.71 doesn’t apply to anything after the trial has occurred and the verdict is in,’ he said. 'Whether there is an appeal or motion for new trial there doesn’t seem to be any statutory authority on that at all.’”
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in a WBNS-10TV story about a woman who was tracked with a GPS device by a private investigator. The story states: “Ohio State Moritz College of Law professor Ric Simmons said that Ohio does not protect people from tracking devices. ‘It's really not criminal in the sense that all he was doing was following someone in a public place and that's been legal and been allowed forever,’ Simmons said.”
Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in a Cleveland Plain Dealer story about a prosecutor in New Philadelphia, Ohio, who was sued by a former defendant. The story states: “The situation is unique because prosecutors are typically granted immunity from lawsuits, said Ric Simmons, a professor at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law. ‘It's extraordinarily unusual,’ Simmons said.”
In this Toledo Blade story, Professor Ric Simmons is quoted about issues that have arisen seventeen months after Ohioans gained the privilege to carry concealed handguns
Two Moritz Law faculty were quoted in the Columbus Dispatch regarding charges filed against the man suspected of the Linden-area rapes. Professor Joshua Dressler said that the statute of limitations would not permit some of the rape charges because they occurred more than six years ago. In spite of the defendant's request for a speedy trial, Professor Ric Simmons said that a motion filed by the defendant's attorney to dismiss some of the charges would stop the clock until the motion is heard.