In re D.B.

D.B. and another boy were under 13 years of age when they engaged in sexual activity. The juvenile court adjudicated D.B. delinquent for rape based on the violation of Ohio Rev. Code 2907.01(A)(1)(b), which prohibits one from engaging in sexual conduct with a person under the age of 13. On appeal, D.B. argued that application of the statute violated his federal rights to due process and equal protection. At issue was whether a child's constitutional rights are violated when, as a member of the class protected by the statute, the child is adjudicated as a delinquent based upon a violation of the statute. The appeals court affirmed, and the Supreme Court reversed and remanded. The Court held that (1) as applied to offenders who are under 13 themselves, the statute is unconstitutionally vague in violation of due process because arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement is encouraged; and (2) application of the statute in this case violates equal protection because only one child was charged with being delinquent, while others similarly situated were not. View "In re D.B." on Justia Law