Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio

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At issue was whether a trial court must inform an offender at the time of sentencing that the commission of a felony during a period of post-release control permits a trial court to impose a new prison term for the violation to be served consecutively with any prison term for the new felony. Defendant was convicted of rape of victims less than thirteen years of age and three counts of gross sexual imposition regarding victims less than thirteen years of age. At sentencing the trial court imposed the mandatory term of postrelease control and informed Defendant that if he were convicted of a new felony offense while on post-release controversy, the sentencing court could impose a prison term for the new felony offense, along with an additional consecutive prison term for the post-release control violation. On appeal, Defendant argued that the trial court committed plain error when it sentenced him without properly giving him all of the required notifications as required by Ohio Rev. Code 2929.19(B)(4) and concerning post-release control. The court of appeals rejected the argument. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that section 2929.19(B)(2)(e) does not require that a trial court notify an offender at his or her initial sentencing hearing of the penalty provisions contained in Ohio Rev. Code 2929.141(A)(1) and (2). View "State v. Gordon" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions of aggravated murder with a death specification, felony-murder, kidnapping, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, and other crimes and the trial court’s imposition of the death penalty. On appeal, Defendant presented eighteen propositions of law. The Supreme Court examined each of Defendant’s claims and found that none had merit. Accordingly, the Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions and sentence of death, holding that there was no reversible error committed in the proceedings below and that Defendant was not entitled to relief. View "State v. Myers" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Appellant’s convictions for aggravated murder and two counts of attempted murder and Appellant’s sentence of death, imposed after a jury trial. The Court held (1) the prosecutor had no obligation to present allegedly exculpatory evidence to the grand jury; (2) the prosecutor did not commit misconduct before the grand jury or during various phases of the proceedings; (3) the trial court did not err by excusing a Spanish-speaking prospective juror; (4) courtroom closures during individual voir dire and the penalty-phase instructions did not violate Appellant’s constitutional rights to a public trial; (5) the trial court did not commit prejudicial error in its evidentiary rulings; (6) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in ordering that Appellant be placed in restraints; (7) the trial court properly instructed the jury on transferred intent, aggravated murder, and lesser included offenses; (8) the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions; (9) defense counsel did not provide ineffective assistance; and (10) Appellant’s sentence was appropriate and proportional. View "State v. Wilks" on Justia Law

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In these two consolidated appeals, the Supreme Court affirmed the decisions of the court of appeals denying Appellant’s complaints for a writ of mandamus against Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Shannon M. Gallagher. The two appeals here arose out of the same underlying facts. Defendant was convicted on multiple charges. The court of appeals remanded the case several times to correct sentencing errors. After the court of appeals had decided Cowan IV, Defendant filed a complaint for a writ of mandamus alleging that the trial court had failed to comply with the appellate court’s mandate in Cowan II. The court of appeals granted Judge Gallagher’s motion for summary judgment and denied the requested writ. In the second complaint, Defendant alleged that before his initial sentencing the trial court failed to consider whether some of the charged offenses were allied offenses of similar import. The court of appeals granted summary judgment for Judge Gallagher and denied the requested writ based on res judicata. The Supreme Court affirmed in both cases, holding that the court of appeals did not err in its judgments. View "State ex rel. Cowan v. Gallagher" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that Ohio’s death-penalty scheme does not violate the right to a trial by jury as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Appellant was sentenced to death. The court of appeals remanded the case to the trial court for a new penalty-phase trial. On remand, Appellant moved to dismiss the capital specification from his indictment, arguing that Ohio’s death-penalty scheme is unconstitutional under the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Hurst v. Florida, __ U.S. __ (2016). Hurst invalidated Florida’s former capital-sentencing scheme because it “required the judge alone to find the existence of an aggravating circumstance.” The trial court granted the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because Ohio law requires the critical jury findings that were not required by the law at issue in Hurst, Ohio’s death-penalty scheme does not violate a defendant’s right to a trial by jury as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment. View "State v. Mason" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals’ dismissal of Appellant’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus because his claims were not cognizable in habeas corpus. Appellant pleaded guilty to three counts of rape. The common pleas court sentenced Appellant to nine years’ imprisonment for each count and ordered two of the three sentences to run consecutively. Appellant filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus arguing that the trial court failed to make the requisite findings under Ohio Rev. Code 2929.14(C)(4) before imposing consecutive sentences. The court of appeals dismissed the petition. The Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of the petition because Appellant’s claims were not cognizable in habeas corpus. View "State ex rel. Quillen v. Wainwright" on Justia Law

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At issue was whether the trial court erred in imposing a sentence, which included both a prison term and community control sanctions at the same time, where the community control sanctions continued after the completion of the prison sentence, which included additional confinement in a community-based-correctional-facility (CBCF). Defendant was sentenced to a prison term for sexual-battery and to community-control supervision for domestic violence. The community-control sentence included several conditions, including the condition that, upon his release from prison for the sexual battery count, Defendant must transfer to a CBCF. The court of appeals vacated the sentence on the domestic-violence count, concluding that the sentence was a split sentence not permitted by statute. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and reinstated the sentence imposed on the domestic-violence count except for the condition requiring Defendant’s placement in a CBCF upon his release from prison, which the Court vacated, holding (1) the trial court’s imposition of a CBCF term as a community-control sanction, to be served consecutively to a prison term imposed on a separate offense, was improper; but (2) the property remedy is to vacate only the improperly imposed residential sanction and leave the remaining conditions of the community-control sentence intact. View "State v. Paige" on Justia Law

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At issue was whether the trial court erred in imposing a sentence, which included both a prison term and community control sanctions at the same time, where the community control sanctions continued after the completion of the prison sentence, which included additional confinement in a community-based-correctional-facility (CBCF). Defendant was sentenced to a prison term for sexual-battery and to community-control supervision for domestic violence. The community-control sentence included several conditions, including the condition that, upon his release from prison for the sexual battery count, Defendant must transfer to a CBCF. The court of appeals vacated the sentence on the domestic-violence count, concluding that the sentence was a split sentence not permitted by statute. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and reinstated the sentence imposed on the domestic-violence count except for the condition requiring Defendant’s placement in a CBCF upon his release from prison, which the Court vacated, holding (1) the trial court’s imposition of a CBCF term as a community-control sanction, to be served consecutively to a prison term imposed on a separate offense, was improper; but (2) the property remedy is to vacate only the improperly imposed residential sanction and leave the remaining conditions of the community-control sentence intact. View "State v. Paige" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the trial court related to Appellant’s second application for postconviction DNA testing under Ohio Rev. Code 2953.71 through 2953.81, holding that Appellant may appeal the trial court’s determination of what constitutes “the results” of the DNA testing. Appellant, who was sentenced to death for first degree murder, sought postconviction DNA testing. The trial court ordered the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) to collect DNA evidence from a cigarette butt and, later, to determine the quantity and quality of biological material on ring boxes and shell casings. On appeal, Appellant argued that the State was required to provide him with all documentation relating to the DNA testing of the cigarette butt and that his objection relating to the BCI’s selection as the testing authority and to its preliminary determination as to the scientific suitability for DNA testing of the shell casings and ring boxes should have been upheld. The Supreme Court held that Appellant was entitled to relief on his claim that the trial court failed to provide him with “the results of the testing” as required under section 2953.81(C) and dismissed Appellant’s remaining propositions of law. View "State v. Noling" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the trial court related to Appellant’s second application for postconviction DNA testing under Ohio Rev. Code 2953.71 through 2953.81, holding that Appellant may appeal the trial court’s determination of what constitutes “the results” of the DNA testing. Appellant, who was sentenced to death for first degree murder, sought postconviction DNA testing. The trial court ordered the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) to collect DNA evidence from a cigarette butt and, later, to determine the quantity and quality of biological material on ring boxes and shell casings. On appeal, Appellant argued that the State was required to provide him with all documentation relating to the DNA testing of the cigarette butt and that his objection relating to the BCI’s selection as the testing authority and to its preliminary determination as to the scientific suitability for DNA testing of the shell casings and ring boxes should have been upheld. The Supreme Court held that Appellant was entitled to relief on his claim that the trial court failed to provide him with “the results of the testing” as required under section 2953.81(C) and dismissed Appellant’s remaining propositions of law. View "State v. Noling" on Justia Law