Articles Posted in Ohio Supreme Court

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Defendant pled guilty to aggravated murder and related charges. A three-judge panel sentenced Defendant to death on the capital charge and to various prison terms for the noncapital offenses. The Supreme Court twice vacated the sentences and remanded for resentencing. After the three-judge panel issued a new sentencing entry, Defendant appealed, raising five propositions of law. The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s sentence, holding (1) discovery was not improperly denied following the second; (2) the panel did not impose consecutive terms of postrelease control; and (3) the remainder of Defendant’s arguments were barred by res judicata. View "State v. Ketterer" on Justia Law

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In 2008, Appellant was sentenced after pleading guilty to sixteen counts of breaking and entering and one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. The 2008 sentencing order was superseded by two subsequent orders, including a resentencing order. In 2013, Appellant filed an original action seeking a writ of mandamus compelling the common pleas court judge to resentence him, arguing that his first sentencing order was void based on five defects. The court of appeals dismissed the petition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant failed to establish any defect in his current sentence and therefore failed to show he had a legal right to a new sentencing hearing. View "State ex rel. Kirkpatrick v. Rice" on Justia Law

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After a bench trial, Defendant was convicted of kidnapping, importuning, gross sexual imposition, and public indecency. Each count related to an incident with B.P., a fourteen-year-old female. The court of appeals reversed the judgment of the trial court and vacated all of Defendant’s convictions, sua sponte, determining that there was insufficient evidence to prove Defendant’s identity as the man who had committed the offenses against B.P. The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals, holding that the evidence of Defendant’s identity was overwhelming, and because neither party argued otherwise, the appellate court improperly decided the case on the basis of the new, unbriefed issue. View "State v. Tate" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was whether the State must prove a culpable mental state with respect to the element of the offense of robbery contained in Ohio Rev. Code 2911.02(A)(3) that the offender did “[u]se or threaten the immediate use of force against another.” After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of one count of robbery. Defendant appealed, arguing that the trial court erred by not instructing the jury that the State had to prove that he had recklessly used force while committing or attempting to commit theft. The court of appeals agreed with Defendant and reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Ohio Rev. Code 2901.21(B), the statute for determining whether an offense imposes strict liability or requires proof of recklessness, applies only when a mental state is not specified in a section defining an offense; (2) because section 2911.02 defines every robbery to include the culpable mental states of the predicate theft offense, section 2901.21(B) does not apply; and (3) therefore, the State need not prove a culpable mental state with respect to the force element in section 2911.02(A)(3). View "State v. Tolliver" on Justia Law

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Defendant was convicted of three counts of aggravated murder and other felony offenses. The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions and sentence of death, holding (1) even if the trial court overstepped its bounds in conducting an Adkins hearing, no prejudice occurred; (2) Defendant’s waiver of a jury trial was voluntary, knowing, and intelligent; (3) the prosecutor did not engage in misconduct; (4) Defendant’s counsel provided constitutionally effective assistance; (5) the three-judge panel did not violate Defendant’s constitutional rights by choosing to give certain mitigating evidence no weight and limited weight; and (6) Defendant’s remaining claims similarly failed. View "State v. Jackson" on Justia Law

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Appellant, an inmate, filed a complaint in mandamus in the court of appeals seeking an order compelling the Director of Rehabilitation and Correction to hold an immediate hearing and grant Appellant release from incarceration. The court of appeals dismissed the complaint on the basis that Appellant failed to file with his complaint several of the documents required by Ohio 2969.25. The Supreme Court affirmed because failure to comply with the requirements of section 2969.25 requires dismissal of an inmate’s complaint, and Appellant’s belated attempt to cure the defects in his complaint was to no avail, as the documents required the statute must be filed with the complaint. View "State ex rel. Hall v. Mohr" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, an inmate, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus challenging the calculation of his jail-time credit and contending that aggregation of his sentences constituted double jeopardy. The court of appeals dismissed Petitioner’s claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) habeas corpus does not lie to challenge the calculation of jail-time credit when a petitioner has an adequate remedy by appeal to raise the issue; (2) double jeopardy claims are not cognizable in habeas corpus; and (3) because Petitioner was not entitled to immediate release he failed to state a claim in habeas. View "Johnson v. Crutchfield" on Justia Law

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At issue in this appeal was whether a trial court must engage in judicial fact-finding prior to imposing consecutive sentences on an offender. In this case, Appellant was sentenced to consecutive sentences aggregating eight years and five months for convictions arising out of four instances in which Appellant took $117 in change from vending machines. On appeal, Appellant argued that the imposition of consecutive sentences was contrary to law because the trial court did not expressly make the findings mandated by Ohio Rev. Code 2929.14(C)(4) and did not provide reasons in support of those findings when imposing consecutive sentences. The Supreme Court vacated the sentence and remanded for resentencing, holding (1) a trial court is required to make the findings required by section 2929.14(C)(4) at the sentencing hearing and incorporate its findings into its sentencing entry, but the court has no obligation to state reasons to support its findings; and (2) the trial court in this case did not make all of the findings required by section 2929.14(C)(4) at the time it imposed consecutive sentences, and neither did it incorporate all of the necessary findings into its judgment entry. Remanded for resentencing. View "State v. Bonnell" on Justia Law

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In these two consolidated cases, the trial court sentenced a felony offender to one or more community-control sanctions without first ordering and reviewing a presentence investigation report. In both cases, the sanction ordered was a sentence of pre-trial jail time served following a plea. The Supreme Court entered judgment in favor of the defendants in both cases, holding that, although requiring a presentence investigation for every felony conviction when the offender is not sent to prison is excessive and unwarranted, a trial court acts contrary to law when it imposes a sentence of one or more community-control sanctions on a felony offender without first ordering and reviewing a presentence investigation report. View "State v. Amos" on Justia Law

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In 2007, Appellant was convicted and sentenced to prison. In 2013, Appellant filed a petition for a writ of procedendo against Judge James D. Jensen, asserting that Judge Jensen failed to rule on a motion to dismiss the indictment in his criminal matter. The court of appeals sua sponte dismissed the petition for the writ because there was no indication that the motion to dismiss had been filed. The Supreme Court affirmed but for a different reason, holding that Appellant’s petition was fatally defective because Appellant named the wrong party as the respondent, where Judge Michael Goulding was currently assigned to Appellant’s case in the court of common pleas. View "State ex rel. Johnson v. Jensen" on Justia Law