COLUMBUS—Former Speaker of the House Larry Householder (R-Glenford) introduced
legislation this afternoon to require coroners to go before the Court of Common Pleas in
order to change the cause of death on a death record.

Under current law, if there is a dispute post-certification, the family of the deceased must
seek relief by going before a Common Pleas Court.

“The burden of bureaucracy should be on Government – not a grieving family,”
Householder said in a statement. “This bill puts the responsibility of showing why a death
record needs to be changed on the coroner. Currently, there is no obligation for a coroner
to explain how or why he or she changed a death record. This bill will shine some light on
that process.”

The idea for the legislation came to Householder’s attention after a 2014 case in which a
vehicle operated by a habitual drunk driver struck a vehicle operated by a local citizen. The
citizen suffered acute head trauma and died. Originally, the cause of death was severe head
trauma from the accident. The County Prosecutor filed vehicular homicide charges against
the drunk driver. More than two years later, as the case was headed to court, a new coroner
changed the death record to reflect the cause of death was melanoma. The deceased did
have melanoma; however, it would be reasonable to assume the cause of death was from
the head trauma from the crash, not from melanoma. This case was covered by local news
stations recently.

The bill has more than 30 co-sponsors, including two former county coroners.

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