Franklin County Resident Sues Offices of Columbus City Attorney and Franklin County Sheriff

Columbus, Ohio (August 2011) — Brian Laliberte, a partner with Axelrod Laliberte LLC, will represent a Franklin County resident in a unique civil rights dispute that challenges how the offices of the Columbus City Attorney and the Franklin County Sheriff identify defendants during criminal proceedings in the Franklin County Municipal Court. Mr. Laliberte is a seasoned trial attorney with extensive experience in civil rights law.

In September 2009, Cliff Smith was charged for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OVI). Though the driver of the vehicle identified himself as Cliff Smith, he in fact was not Mr. Smith but rather was Mr. Smith’s brother. Upon arriving at the Franklin County Municipal Court in response to a summons for his supposed September violation, Cliff Smith was identified as the driver of the vehicle by multiple Franklin County Deputy Sheriffs. Over the next 10 months, Mr. Smith faced multiple hearings, was prosecuted for the OVI and was repeatedly pressured to accept the state’s plea agreement.

"Representatives of the Columbus City Attorney and the Franklin County Sheriff acted negligently, maliciously, and recklessly with respect to the rights of Mr. Smith,” said Brian Laliberte. “As a direct result of their actions of falsely identifying Mr. Smith, proceeding with their prosecution, and charging him without probable cause, he was humiliated, incurred extensive legal fees and lost wages."

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For more information about this pending case or about Axelrod Laliberte’s capabilities in civil rights disputes, please contact Brian Laliberte at 614-545-6312 or at

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