Justia Juvenile Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio
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The Supreme Court held that Ohio Rev. Code 2953.08(D)(3) does not preclude an appellate court from reviewing a sentence imposed by a trial court for aggravated murder when a defendant raises a constitutional claim regarding that sentence on appeal.A jury found Defendant guilty of aggravated murder and other offenses stemming from a fatal shooting when Defendant was seventeen years old. The trial court sentenced Defendant to life imprisonment with parole eligibility after thirty years for the aggravated murder offense. On appeal, Defendant argued that his sentence violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Ohio Rev. Code 2953.08(D)(3) does not preclude an appellate court from reviewing a sentence imposed by a trial court for aggravated murder when a defendant raises a constitutional claim regarding that sentence on appeal; and (2) consistent with this Court's decision in State v. Long, 8 N.E.3d 890 (Ohio 2014), a trial court must separately consider the youth of a juvenile offender as a mitigating factor before imposing a life sentence under Ohio Rev. Code 2929.03 even if that sentence includes eligibility for parole. View "State v. Patrick" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals concluding that the juvenile court lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate R.B. delinquent, holding that the timing requirements of Ohio Rev. Code 2152.84 are not jurisdictional.The juvenile court adjudicated R.B. delinquent, classified him as a sex offender, and imposed a disposition that included probation. After a second sex-offender-classification hearing the juvenile court kept R.B.'s classification the same. R.B. appealed, arguing that the juvenile court was required to hold the review hearing and and issue its decision on the precise day his disposition ended and because the juvenile court did not do so, it lost jurisdiction to continue his classification. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) the language "upon completion of the disposition" found in section 2152.84(A)(1) requires only that the court's review take place within a "reasonable time" of the juvenile's completion of his disposition; and (2) section 2151.23(A)(15) vests the juvenile court with jurisdiction to carry out its requirements under the classification statutes, independent of whether the delinquent child has reached the age of twenty-one. View "In re R.B." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals holding that a conviction for failure to register as a sex offender under Ohio Rev. Code 2950.04 does not violate a defendant's due-process and jury-trial rights guaranteed by the state and federal Constitutions when the duty to register arises from a juvenile court's delinquency adjudication, holding that such a conviction is not unconstitutional.Appellant was adjudicated delinquent as to what would have been two counts of fourth-degree felony gross sexual imposition if committed by an adult. Appellant was classified as a juvenile-offender registrant and tier I sex offender and was ordered to comply with statutory registration, notification-of-address-change, and verification duties for a period of ten years. Appellant was later convicted for violating a duty to register as a sex offender. On appeal, Appellant argued that his conviction was unconstitutional based on State v. Hand, 73 N.E.3d 448 (Ohio 2016). The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) that Appellant's conviction for a violation of section 2950.04 for that arose from a juvenile adjudication did not violate Appellant's rights to a jury or due process under the Ohio Constitution and United States Constitution. View "State v. Buttery" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the adult portion of A.W.'s juvenile disposition, holding that because the juvenile court's order invoking the adult sentence under the serious youthful offender (SYO) specification was not journalized until A.W. turned twenty-one years old, the juvenile court lacked subject matter jurisdiction when it entered the adult portion of the sentence.At the age of seventeen, A.W. committed an act which, if committed by an adult, would constitute the offense of rape. The count was later amended to include an SYO specification. The court placed A.W. in custody until he would turn twenty-one years old and found A.W. to be an SYO. As A.W. neared his twenty-first birthday the State filed a motion to invoke the adult portion of his SYO sentence on the grounds that he had failed to complete "mandatory" sex-offender treatment. After a hearing, the juvenile court terminated the juvenile disposition and invoked the adult sentence. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that although the juvenile court issued its order invoking the adult sentence while A.W. was twenty years old, the clerk of the court did not enter that order upon the journal until after A.W. turned twenty-one years old, depriving the juvenile court of subject matter jurisdiction. View "In re A.W." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals dismissing Appellant's petition for a writ of habeas corpus, holding that Appellant's petition was barred by the doctrine of res judicata.At the time he was a seventeen-year-old juvenile, Appellant was subjected to mandatory bindover to adult court regarding several charges. Appellant later pleaded guilty to murder with a firearm specification. The court of appeals erred, rejecting Appellant's argument that he had been entitled to an amenability hearing in the juvenile court before his case could be transferred to the adult court. Appellant later filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus arguing that he was entitled to release because the juvenile court failed to conduct an amenability hearing and make the required findings to transfer his case to the adult court. The court of appeals dismissed the habeas petition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because Appellant's petition again challenged the validity of his bindover proceedings his petition was barred by the doctrine of res judicata. View "Moore v. Wainwright" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals denying Appellant's pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus, holding that the court of appeals correctly denied relief.Appellant was sixteen years old when four delinquency complaints were filed in juvenile court. The cases were transferred to adult court where Appellant was convicted of five felony counts and sentenced to an aggregate prison term of sixteen years. Appellant later filed this habeas corpus petition alleging that the juvenile court did not fully comply with the procedures for transferring jurisdiction to the adult court because it did not timely notify his father of a hearing in one of the cases that led to the transfer of some of the charges. The court of appeals denied the writ. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the juvenile court's failure to provide timely notice was not a defect that deprived the adult court of subject matter jurisdiction. View "Smith v. May" on Justia Law

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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