Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio

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The Supreme Court held that using a prior juvenile adjudication of delinquency for the commission of an offense that would have been felonious assault if committed by an adult as an element of the offense of having a weapon under disability, as set forth in Ohio Rev. Code 2923.13(A)(2), does not violate due process under the Ohio or United States Constitutions. Appellant was indicted on one count of having a weapon while under a disability. The alleged disability stemmed from Appellant’s prior adjudication of delinquency as a juvenile for committing a felonious assault. Appellant filed a motion to dismiss, asserting that his juvenile adjudication could not be used as a predicate for criminal conduct under section 2923.13(A)(2). The trial court denied the motion to dismiss. Appellant was subsequently convicted and sentenced. The court of appeal affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a previous juvenile adjudication may be an element of the weapons-under-disability offense set forth in section 2923.13(A)(2) without violating due process. View "State v. Carnes" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals that affirmed Appellant’s convictions and sentence, holding that the juvenile court’s failure to consider and apply Ohio Rev. Code 2152.021 - Ohio’s safe harbor law that benefits certain human-trafficking victims charged with juvenile delinquency - did not invalidate the court’s discretionary transfer of Appellant’s case to adult court. The juvenile court in this case found that Appellant had suffered a “very clear history of human trafficking.” Despite this finding, the juvenile court did not make any finding with respect to whether the charges related to Appellant’s victimization and did not appoint a guardian ad litem for her in the juvenile court. The court then transferred her case to adult court. Appellant pled guilty to aggravated murder and was sentenced to twenty-one years in prison. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that by pleading guilty, Appellant had waived her ability to raise the juvenile court’s error in failing to consider section 2152.021(F). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) because Appellant did not object to the juvenile court’s failure to consider the applicability of section 2152.021(F), the criminal plain-error standard applied; and (2) Appellant did not carry her burden of demonstrating plain error. View "State v. Martin" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgments of the two courts of appeals dismissing Appellant’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus and Appellant’s petition for writs of prohibition and mandamus. Appellant was convicted in two separate common pleas cases, one involving the murder and robbery of Christine Kozak (the Kozak case) and the other case involving the robberies of David Sotka and the Lawson Milk Company (the Sotka case). In both of his petitions, Appellant challenged the jurisdiction of the general division of the common pleas court in both the Kozak case and the Sotka case. Both petitions alleged that there was an allegedly defective transfer from the juvenile division. The Supreme Court held (1) the court of appeals correctly dismissed Appellant’s habeas petition for failure to state a claim cognizable in habeas corpus; and (2) Appellant had an adequate remedy by way of appeal to challenge the validity of the bindover, and therefore, Appellant’s request for writs of prohibition and mandamus were properly dismissed. View "Johnson v. Sloan" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals granting a writ of habeas corpus to Appellee and ordering his immediate discharge from the Ross Correctional Institution. In his petition, Appellee, who was seventeen years old at the time of the offense for which he was convicted, argued that the general division of the common pleas court lacked jurisdiction to try him as an adult because the juvenile court had failed to meet the requirements of Ohio Rev. Code 2152.12(G) before transferring his case. Specifically, Appellee argued that the failure to notify his legal custodian, his grandmother, of the transfer hearing was a violation of the statute, and therefore, the common pleas court lacked jurisdiction over the matter. The court of appeals agreed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the juvenile court satisfied the statutory requirements by serving notice on Appellee’s biological mother. View "Turner v. Hooks" on Justia Law

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A juvenile who is bound over to adult court must wait to appeal until the end of the adult-court proceedings. D.H. was a juvenile at the time he was charged with robbery. The juvenile court determined that D.H. was not amenable to rehabilitation in the juvenile system and transferred jurisdiction to the adult court. D.H. then pled no contest to the charges in adult court. The court of appeals concluded that because the juvenile court had not articulated the reasons that D.H. was not amenable to rehabilitation in the juvenile system, the court erred in transferring D.H. On remand, the juvenile court once again found that D.H. was not amenable to rehabilitation. D.H. immediately appealed the juvenile court’s transfer orders rather than wait until the end of the adult-court proceedings. The court of appeals dismissed the appeal for lack of a final order. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding the the juvenile court’s orders transferring jurisdiction to the adult court are not final orders under Ohio Rev. Code 2505.02(B)(4). View "In re D.H." on Justia Law

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In this action alleging that D.S. allegedly engaged in acts of sexual contact with another boy, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeal and reinstated the juvenile court’s order dismissing the complaint pursuant to Juv. R. 9(A) before a delinquency case against D.S. progressed to a formal court proceeding. The State charged D.S. with three delinquency counts of of gross sexual imposition pursuant to Ohio Rev. Code 2907.05(A)(4) for his conduct with another boy. Both boys were under the age of thirteen at the time of the offenses. The juvenile court dismissed the case, holding (1) section 2907.05(A)(4) was unconstitutional as applied to D.S.; and (2) dismissal was proper under Juv. R. 9. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion by dismissing the matter pursuant to Juv. R. 9(A). View "In re D.S." on Justia Law

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When a juvenile whose parents are deceased appears at an amenability hearing, the juvenile is not required to ask for the appointment of a guardian ad litem (GAL). Rather, a GAL must be appointed as mandated by Ohio Rev. Code 2151.281(A)(1) and Juv. R. 4(B)(1). Further, the juvenile court’s failure to appoint a GAL in a delinquency proceeding is subject to criminal plain-error review if the juvenile does not object. After an amenability hearing, a judge concluded that Appellant, a juvenile, was not amenable to care and rehabilitation in the juvenile system and that Appellant was to be transferred to adult court. In common pleas court, Appellant pleaded guilty to one count of burglary, two counts of felonious assault, and one count of aggravated robbery, each including a firearm specification. On appeal, Appellant argued that the juvenile court committed plain error when it failed to appoint a GAL for his amenability hearing. The court of appeals concluded that the juvenile court erred in failing to appoint a GAL but that Appellant was unable to demonstrate prejudice. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant failed to show that the juvenile court’s error in failing to appoint a GAL at the amenability hearing affected the outcome of the proceeding. View "State v. Morgan" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court answered a question certified to it by the Second District Court of Appeals, holding that the general division of the court of common pleas must sentence a juvenile under Ohio Rev. Code Chapter 2929 for all offenses for which the juvenile is convicted in a case if, under Ohio Rev. Code 2152.121(B)(4), at least one offense for which the juvenile was convicted was subject to mandatory transfer. Appellee in this case was charged with being a delinquent child for action that would constitute multiple counts of both aggravated robbery and kidnapping if committed by an adult. The case was transferred from the juvenile court to the general division of the court of common pleas under the mandatory transfer provisions of section 2152.12(A)(1)(b)(ii). Appellee then pled guilty to some charges that were subject to mandatory transfer and some charges that were subject to discretionary transfer. The court of appeals ruled that the charges that were subject to discretionary transfer and resulted in convictions were also subject to the “reverse bindover” provisions of section 2152.121(B)(3). The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and reinstated the sentence imposed by the trial court for the reasons set forth above. View "State v. D.B." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the appellate court affirming the nineteen-year prison sentence imposed on Defendant at resentencing for his involvement in the robberies of three individuals and the kidnapping of one of those individuals when Defendant was sixteen years old. Specifically, the court held (1) Defendant failed to show that the trial court imposed the sentence as a penalty for exercising his right to a jury trial instead of pleading guilty; (2) the sentence did not violate the Eighth Amendment because it did not involve the imposition of the harshest possible penalties for juveniles, it was proportionate, and there is no national consensus against imposing mandatory sentences on juveniles tried as adults; and (3) Defendant forfeited his argument that the mandatory sentencing scheme set forth in Ohio Rev. Code 2929 violates due process as applied to children. View "State v. Anderson" on Justia Law

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In State v. Aalim, __ N.E.3d __ (Aalim I), the Supreme Court declared that the Ohio Constitution requires that a juvenile who is subject to mandatory bindover receive an amenability hearing. Implicit in this holding was the conclusion that a juvenile-division judge has discretion in deciding whether to transfer to adult court a juvenile in a case where the juvenile is sixteen or seventeen years old and there is probable cause to believe that the juvenile committed an offense outlined in Ohio Rev. Code 2152.10(A)(2)(b). The Supreme Court then granted the State’s motion for reconsideration, holding that the decision in Aalim I usurped the General Assembly’s exclusive constitutional authority to define the jurisdiction of the courts of common pleas by impermissibly allowing a juvenile division judge discretion to veto the legislature’s grant of jurisdiction to the general division of a court of common pleas over a limited class of juvenile offenders. The court further held that the mandatory bindover of certain juvenile to adult court under Ohio Rev. Code 2152.10(A)(2)(b) and 2152.12(A)(1)(b) does not violate the due course of law clause or the equal protection clause of the Ohio Constitution or the analogous provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. View "State v. Aalim" on Justia Law