Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio

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After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of three counts of aggravated robbery, three counts of rape, and other offenses. Defendant was fifteen years old at the time he committed the crimes. The trial court sentenced Defendant to the maximum prison term for each count. The sentence totaled 141 years in prison. At issue before the Supreme Court in this appeal was whether, pursuant to Graham v. Florida, a term-of-years prison sentence that exceeds a defendant’s life expectancy violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments when it is imposed on a juvenile nonhomicide offender. The Supreme Court answered this question in the affirmative and remanded the cause to the trial court for resentencing, holding (1) Graham’s categorical prohibition of sentences of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for juveniles who commit nonhomicide crimes applies to juvenile nonhomicide offenders who are sentenced to term-of-years sentences that exceed their life expectancies; and (2) therefore, Defendant’s 112-year sentence violates the Eighth Amendment. View "State v. Moore" on Justia Law

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A complaint was filed in the juvenile court alleging that Appellant engaged in conduct that would be considered aggravated robbery if committed by an adult. Appellant was sixteen years old at the time of the alleged offense. The State filed a motion to transfer Appellant to the general division of the common pleas court to be tried as an adult pursuant to Ohio Rev. Code 2152.10(A)(2)(b) and 2152.12(A)(1)(b), which provide for mandatory transfer of juveniles to adult court in certain circumstances. After a hearing, the juvenile court automatically transferred the case. Appellant moved to dismiss the ensuring indictment charging him with two counts of aggravated robbery with accompanying firearm specifications and transfer his case back to juvenile court, arguing that mandatory transfer of juveniles is unconstitutional. The trial court overruled the motion. Appellant subsequently entered pleas of no contest to the two counts of aggravated robbery. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that mandatory transfer of juveniles to adult court without providing for the protection of a discretionary determination by the juvenile court judge violates juveniles’ right to due process. View "State v. Aalim" on Justia Law

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The State filed a complaint against D.S. in the juvenile court, alleging that D.S., who was seventeen years old, was delinquent for approaching a couple about to enter their home, brandishing a firearm, and robbing them of their possessions. At the time of the juvenile court’s disposition, D.S. had been held for more than nine months in detention. Defendant requested confinement credit, but the juvenile court denied the request. D.S. appealed. The State conceded that the juvenile court erred in not granting D.S. credit for the time he was confined prior to disposition. On appeal, the court of appeals affirmed the juvenile court’s order. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Ohio Rev. Code 2152.18(B) requires that predisposition confinement be credited to a juvenile. Remanded for further proceedings, including the proper calculation and award of preconfinement credit. View "In re D.S." on Justia Law

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Hand entered no-contest pleas in Montgomery County to first-degree felonies (aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, and kidnapping) and two second-degree counts of felonious assault. Each count had a three-year firearm specification attached, to which Hand also entered no-contest pleas. During the plea hearing, the parties agreed to a total six-year prison term with three of the years being mandatory because they are related to the merged firearm specifications, R.C. 2929.14 and 2941.145. The parties disputed whether the three years for the other offenses was also a mandatory term, based on whether Hand’s prior juvenile adjudication for aggravated robbery under R.C. 2911.01(A)(3) should operate as a first-degree felony conviction to enhance his sentence. The court ruled that Hand’s prior juvenile adjudication required imposition of mandatory prison terms under R.C. 2929.13(F). The appeals court affirmed. The Supreme Court of Ohio reversed. Treating a juvenile adjudication as an adult conviction to enhance a sentence for a later crime is inconsistent with Ohio’s system for juveniles, which is predicated on the fact that children are not as culpable for their acts as adults and should be rehabilitated rather than punished. In addition, juveniles are not afforded the right to a jury trial. View "State v. Hand" on Justia Law

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A complaint was filed in juvenile court alleging that A.G. was delinquent for engaging in conduct that, if committed by an adult, would have constituted aggravated robbery and kidnapping, with firearms specifications as to each. A.G. admitted to the allegations in the complaint. The juvenile court found the allegations proved beyond a reasonable doubt and ordered that A.G. be committed to the Department of Youth Services for minimum terms of one year for each of the aggravated robbery and kidnapping adjudications. A.G. appealed, arguing that the juvenile court erred in failing to merge his adjudications for aggravated robbery and kidnapping as “allied offenses of similar import” and that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to raise the allied-offenses issue. The Court of Appeals denied relief, concluding that the aggravated robbery and kidnapping would constituted allied offenses of similar import under Ohio Rev. Code 2941.25 if committed by an adult but that criminal statutes do not apply in juvenile delinquency proceedings. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that juvenile courts must conduct the same double-jeopardy analysis in delinquency proceedings that other courts apply in adult criminal proceedings to protect a child’s right against double jeopardy. View "In re A.G." on Justia Law

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Defendant, a juvenile, was bound over to the common pleas court and indicted on four counts of aggravated murder, among related crimes. Defendant moved to suppress statements he made during a custodial interrogation, arguing that he did not knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waive his Miranda rights and that his statements were not voluntary. The trial court denied Defendant’s motion to suppress. Defendant subsequently pled no contest to four counts of aggravated murder, two counts of aggravated robbery, and three counts of tampering with evidence, all with firearm specifications. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that where, as in this case, the interrogation of the defendant is recorded electronically, the statements made are presumed to have been made voluntarily pursuant to Ohio Rev. Code 2933.81(B). The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) section 2933.81(B) does not affect the analysis of whether a suspect intelligently, knowingly, and voluntarily waived his Miranda rights, and therefore, the State retains the burden to prove a valid waiver; and (2) as applied to statements a juvenile makes during a custodial interrogation, the section 2933.81(B) presumption that such statements are voluntary is unconstitutional. Remanded. View "State v. Barker" on Justia Law

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T.L.M. appealed the judgments in his three cases. The court of appeals granted a limited remand of the three cases for the juvenile court to rule on the recalculation of credit on his sentence. The juvenile court subsequently awarded T.L.M. additional credit for time served. The State filed a notice of appeal of each of T.L.M.’s cases in the juvenile court, which were dismissed for a procedural defect. The State then filed a second set of notices of appeal with accompanying motions for leave to appeal, but the motions were filed after the deadline for such an appeal had passed. T.L.M. moved to dismiss the appeals for lack of jurisdiction. The court of appeals denied the motions and granted the State’s motions for leave to appeal. T.L.M. requested a peremptory writ to hold in abeyance the appellate court proceedings and prohibit the court of appeals from hearing the appeals. The Supreme Court granted the writ, holding that the court of appeals never obtained jurisdiction to decide whether the State could appeal because the State did not file its motions in the court of appeals before the deadline. View "State ex rel. T.L.M. v. Judges of the First Dist. Court of Appeals" on Justia Law

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The juvenile court adjudicated Appellant, a juvenile, delinquent on sex offenses. At disposition, the juvenile court did not record a finding regarding Appellant’s age at the time the offenses were committed. Upon Appellant’s release from the Ohio Department of Youth Services, the court scheduled a sex-offender-classification hearing. Appellant opposed his classification as a juvenile-sex-offender registrant, arguing that he was ineligible for classification because he was under the age of fourteen when the offenses were committed and because classification would violate the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy. After a hearing, the juvenile court found (1) Appellant had committed at least one offense when he was fourteen years of age, and (2) Appellant should be designated a juvenile offender registrant and classified as a Tier II offender. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) a determination of a juvenile sex offender’s age at the time of the offense can be made at any time prior to or during the classification hearing; and (2) the imposition of classification upon release from a secure facility and for a time period beyond the juvenile offender’s attainment of age eighteen or twenty-one does not violate the offender’s due process rights or the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy. View "In re D.S." on Justia Law

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Relator was seventeen years old at the time two delinquency complaints were filed against him. Respondent was the judge of the juvenile division of the county court of common pleas. After a bindover hearing was scheduled, Respondent ordered the state to comply with Relator’s discovery request for several police reports, and the state disclosed all requested documents except for one police report. Relator moved to dismiss the case as a sanction for the failure to produce the report. Respondent dismissed the cases with prejudice as a sanction. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the state was required to produce the requested documents. The state then filed a request to schedule a bindover hearing. Respondent granted the state’s motion. Relator sought a writ of prohibition to prevent Respondent from proceeding with the hearing, arguing that his cases had been dismissed with prejudice and had been reviewed by the Supreme Court without remand. The Supreme Court denied the writ, holding that Relator had an adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law by way of appeal, and Respondent did not patently and unambiguously lack jurisdiction to proceed. View "State ex rel. R.W. v. Williams" on Justia Law