CINCINNATI (AP) — Prosecutors in southwest Ohio's Hamilton County say witness intimidation continues to undermine their efforts in violent crime cases.
The Cincinnati Enquirer (http://cin.ci/1bqy8tt ) reports that witness refusal to testify has helped murder suspects gain acquittals or convictions for lesser crimes. In one case, a witness refused to testify after 36 shots were fired into his home. In another recent case, a murder defendant's friends sat in the courtroom and scared witnesses.
Prosecutors in 2010 began going before judges to seek permission to withhold witness names before trial in some cases. That followed the slaying of a murder case witness.
Judges also have banned cellphones in courtrooms. Authorities say audience members intimidated witnesses by taking their pictures.
The number of intimidation cases dropped from 74 in 2009 to 59 last year.
Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, http://www.enquirer.com