William M. Saks, Attorney at Law

A photo of William M. SaksLawyer William M. Saks represents Ohio prisoners who have been subjected to medical misconduct, including medical negligence and deliberate indifference to prisoners' serious medical needs. He uses the civil rights and other laws to obtain sizeable compensation for their loved ones and them.

Experience & Qualifications

In 1996 Saks left the American Civil Liberties Union to form a solo law practice, including representing prisoners who have been subjected to medical misconduct. This is now the focus of his practice.

Saks obtains compensation for prisoners and their families where there has been a failure to diagnose cancer; treat diseases such as hepatitis and HIV; and inadequate treatment for diseases including those affecting the heart, brain, lungs, liver, pancreas and kidneys.

Saks also represents victims of corrections officer violence and failure to provide immediate and adequate care after these incidents.

In doing so, he obtains sizeable amounts for prisoners and their families.

Education & Experience

  • Solo practitioner since 1996
  • Staff attorney, American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, 1992–1996
  • Law Clerk, American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, 1989–1991
  • Admitted to the Ohio Bar, 1991
  • Member of the Bar of
    • Supreme Court of Ohio
    • United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
    • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • Graduated Case Western Reserve University School of Law, 1991

Assuring Adequate Medical Care at Ohio State Reformatory & Mansfield Correctional Institution

While a law clerk, and then lawyer, for the American Civil Liberties Union, Saks helped monitor medical care at the infamous former Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield. The ACLU had obtained a court order for improvements in medical care there. When a new prison, Mansfield Correctional Institution (ManCI) was built to replace it, Saks persuaded the court to place it under the order. He then monitored compliance, improving medical care at ManCI htrough the mid-1990s.

Other Professional Activity

Representations by Saks before the Supreme Court of Ohio

Criminal Defendant's Right to Evidence

In Rasul-Bey v. Onunwor, it was determined that a law enforcement agency must honor a criminal defendant's request for the police report describing the defendant's alleged misconduct and any attached witness statements.

State ex rel. Rasul-Bey v. Onunwur, 94 Ohio St.3d 119 (2002)

Right to Attend Legislative Meetings

The Mason, Ohio city council was ordered to allow public attendance of all its meetings. Saks' friend of the court brief supported the pro se (no lawyer) effort of the complaining individuals.

State ex rel. Inskeep v. Staten, 74 Ohio St.3d 676 (1996)

Right to An Appeal to Clear One's Name

This case changed Ohio law concerning felony appeals. Previously, in most cases, no ruling on a defendant's appeal was made if the defendant had already completed his or her sentence. Now, the defendant's appeal must be ruled on regardless of whether the sentence has been completed. This gives the defendant the opportunity to clear his or her name even if it is too late to avoid the penalty.

State v. Golston, 71 Ohio St.3d 224 (1994)

Saks Supporting the Falsely Accused

Guilty Assumption's Costly, Lasting Effects

Letter to the Editor, CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER, November 28, 2010

Thank you for your excellent four-part series "Presumed Guilty." Your thorough reporting has shown how easily a police officer's or prosecutor's mere hunch can be converted into indictment and, often, conviction. As you show, the hunches are often based primarily on a superficial connection to a criminal act, such as being in proximity to some contraband, or being the relative or landlord of an offender.

Unfortunately, law enforcement officials do not appear to appreciate the impact of an erroneous prosecution. In most cases, the defendants lose wages — or their job — because of pretrial detention, court dates or the infamy of the charge. Nor are they compensated for jail time served, let alone for the anguish suffered because of fear of conviction and punishment.

Finally, the defendants' reputations are damaged even if the charges are dismissed or the defendant overcomes them at trial. This problem has recently grown because of the popularity of the Internet. It makes arrest records and media articles about criminal accusations permanently accessible to everyone, including potential employers.

Hopefully, your series will initiate reform of law enforcement so that criminal defendants are presumed innocent, unless and until proven guilty, as the law promises.

— William M. Saks, Cleveland