What happens next in Chardon shooter's appeal?

Lawyers for Chardon High School shooter T.J. Lane began the process of appealing his life sentences on Wednesday.

That means Lane's fate is in the hands of the three court of appeals judges for now.

His attorney argued this morning Lane's life sentence without parole should be thrown out, while prosecutors argued the punishment fits the crime.

"I've had people come up to me and ask, 'Why in the world are we doing this?' You're entitled to due process. You're entitled to make sure your constitutional rights are followed, especially if you're facing a life sentence at a young age," former appellate judge and current attorney Mary Jane Trapp said.

Lane is currently serving three life sentences. His attorney is challenging whether the judge considered Lane's age enough during sentencing and if it was stated for the record enough times that he was 17 years old. That's what the 11th District Court of Appeals has to decide.

"I think in the end the 11th District will say that there's enough in the record. I do," Trapp said.

But what if it doesn't? Trapp said it's pretty straightforward.

"He would be resentenced. It would be very simple," Trapp said. "He's not going to be released, get a new trial. T.J. Lane pled guilty."

She told me, juvenile or adult court, the mountain of evidence is too great no matter what, and there is no chance Lane could walk free at some point.

"He's not going anywhere, other than back to prison," Trapp said.

The losing side of this appeal will almost certainly appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court, but only about 8 percent of cases that are sent there are actually accepted for a decision.

So when all is said and done, the 11th District judges might have the final say.

She expects the judges to come back with a decision within a month.


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