An Ohio lawmaker says his proposal to require prison time for many felony crimes against the disabled or elderly was inspired by a fake ice bucket challenge that led to charges against five teenagers.
The boys were charged with dumping a bucket of urine, water and tobacco spit on an autistic 15-year-old boy who thought he was participating in a challenge for charity.
Cleveland Democratic Rep. Bill Patmon ?tells The Northeast Ohio Media Group the arrest of those Bay Village students prompted the legislation he introduced Tuesday.
Some residents in the Tri-State agree with this legislation.
About two months ago, Paul Browning was badly beaten outside of Good Samaritan by a man who tried to steal the 86-year-olds wallet.
"People haven't got the common sense to leave older people alone," said Marvin Browning.
Browning's son Marvin says after days in the hospital, his father is doing better.
"He's getting new dentures made and he's getting back to his old self," said Browning.
House Bill 648 says that adults convicted of a felony against someone disabled or older than 65 get two years in prison, in addition to any other punishment imposed by the court.
"Mandatory sentences...I'm not for them across the board but in this case I think it's a good idea," said Browning.
None of the five Bay Village teens charged in the Ice Bucket Challenge case have been charged with felonies, but instead the juvenile equivalent of disorderly conduct.
State representative Bill Patmon introduced the bill and says "juvenile" offenders would have to spend at least two years at a department of youth services facility.
"I just found that we needed to do something about it, enough is enough. You got to know that if you do this, the possibility of jail time is out there," said Bill Patmon.
But not everyone's on board with this legislation.
"I think it's a stupid idea," said Defense Lawyer Mike Allen.
Defense Lawyer Mike Allen says of course he feels bad for the victims in all these cases, but this won't solve the problem and there's already laws that cover crimes against these groups.
"To automatically tack on two years to a felony sentence when we don't have the jail space to put people in as it is now. It's just really bad public policy," said Allen.
There are some felonies that would be exempt from this bill. They include theft and identity fraud.
The bill's chances of passing the busy, Republican-dominated Legislature in the remaining weeks of the current session are unclear.
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