Justia Criminal Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio
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The Supreme Court granted Wood County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Dobson's request seeking a peremptory writ of prohibition against Judge Peter Handwork, who presided in two criminal cases finding Andrew Schuman guilty of seven felony counts and who later modified the judgment of sentence, holding that Judge Handwork patently and unambiguously lacked jurisdiction to issue the postjudgment orders. After entry of the judgment of sentence and Schuman's appeal was filed, Judge Handwork considered two motions filed by Schuman and issued two orders modifying the judgment of sentence. Dobson sought a writ of prohibition to vacate the post judgment orders and to prohibit any further exercise of jurisdiction by Judge Handwork. Because Judge Handwork did not file an answer, Dobson also filed a motion for default judgment. The Supreme Court granted the motion for default judgment and issued a peremptory writ of prohibition, holding that Handwork's absence of jurisdiction was patent and unambiguous. View "State ex rel. Dobson v. Handwork" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals convicting Defendant of one count of murder in violation of Ohio Rev. Code 2903.02(A) and one count of murder in violation of Ohio Rev. Code 2903.02(B), holding that the trial court's admission of expert opinion testimony that was not set forth in a written report was harmless error. On appeal, Defendant argued that the state's failure to supply a written report providing the expert's opinions and scientific reasoning violated Crim.R. 16(K) and that the admission entitled him to a new trial. The court of appeals affirmed the convictions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) it is error to admit expert opinion testimony when the expert's opinion was not submitted in compliance with Crim.R. 16(K); but (2) in the instant case, the trial court's admission of testimony that went beyond the scope of the expert's written report was harmless error. View "State v. Boaston" 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 the court of appeals correctly dismissed the petition because it did not comply with the statutory requirements of Ohio Rev. Code 2969.25(A). Appellant, who was seventeen years old at the time of the alleged offense, was convicted of three counts of murder and other crimes. Appellant was sentenced to an aggregate prison term of forty-one years to life. Appellant later filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus claiming that the court of common pleas lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the juvenile court failed to make the required findings under Ohio Rev. Code 2152.12(A)(1)(a) before the transfer and challenging the constitutionality of the mandatory transfer procedures. The court of appeals dismissed Appellant's constitutional claims on procedural grounds. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant's petition was fatally defective because he did not comply with Ohio Rev. Code 2969.25(A). View "Taylor v. Harris" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming Defendant's conviction for violation of Ohio Rev. Code 4549.02(A)(1) and vacated the conviction, holding that the "registered number" of a vehicle, as used in the statute, is the license plate number associated with the vehicle. The trial court convicted Defendant with the charge of leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident, concluding that Defendant failed to provide the registered number of his vehicle as required by section 4549.02(A)(1). The court of appeals affirmed on alternative grounds, holding that Defendant violated the statute by not providing the statutorily required identifying information to the police officer at the scene of the accident. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) when a driver subject to section 4549.02(A)(1) gives the information specified in that statute to the required recipients under section 4549.02(A)(1)(a) and (b), the driver does not violate section 4549.02(A)(1) by not providing that information to a police officer if the driver leaves the scene without knowledge that the police have been alerted of the accident; and (2) the registered number of a motor vehicle is the license plate number associated with the vehicle. View "State v. Bryant" 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 and denying his complaint for a writ of mandamus, holding that the court of appeals did not err and declaring that Appellant a vexatious litigator. Appellant was convicted of voluntary manslaughter with a firearm specification. While on parole, Appellant was convicted of new offenses and received multiple definite prison sentences. In his habeas corpus petition Appellant claimed that the Bureau of Sentence Computation (BSC) miscalculated his sentence. Treating Appellant's motion as a request for mandamus relief, the magistrate concluded that the court of appeals lacked jurisdiction over Appellant's claim and that his claim was barred by res judicata. The court of appeals adopted the magistrate's recommendation, dismissed the habeas corpus portion of the complaint, and denied the writ of mandamus. Appellant appealed, and BSC requested that the Supreme Court declare Appellant a vexatious litigator. The Supreme Court affirmed and declared Appellant a vexatious litigator, holding that Appellant was not entitled to relief. View "State ex rel. Johnson v. Bureau of Sentence Computation" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals dismissing Appellant's complaint for a writ of mandamus against the Ohio Adult Parole Authority and its chairman (collectively, the APA), holding that the court of appeals correctly held that Appellant failed to preserve his claim alleging that the trial court failed to order that his sentence be served in a prison institution. Appellant filed a complaint for a writ of mandamus alleging that the APA incorrectly calculated his aggregate prison sentence. The court of appeals concluded that the APA correctly calculated Appellant's aggregate maximum term and rejected Appellant's contention that that APA had no authority to include the maximum term in its aggregate-sentence calculation because the sentencing entry did not specify that Appellant had to serve the sentence in a prison institution. The Supreme Court affirmed, Appellant failed to preserve his only claim on appeal. View "State ex rel. Newell v. Ohio Adult Parole Authority" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed in part the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of four counts of rape of S.M., his step-daughter, and two counts of rape of J.M., his niece by marriage and six sexually-violent predator specifications, holding that a familial relationship is not a "mental or physical condition" for purposes of Ohio Rev. Code 2907.02(A)(1)(c). On appeal, Defendant argued that the State had not established that his victim's "ability to resist or consent [was] substantially impaired because of a mental or physical condition," Ohio Rev. Code 2907.02(A)(1)(c). The Supreme Court concluded that a familial relationship is not a mental or physical condition, and therefore, it was impossible for the State to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Defendant violated section 2907.02(A)(1)(c) based on the theory that a familial relationship was the condition that caused the victims' substantial impairment. View "State v. Horn" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals granting summary judgment to the warden of the Pickaway Correctional Institutional and dismissing Appellant's complaint for a writ of habeas corpus, holding that the court of appeals correctly granted summary judgment to the warden and dismissed Appellant's complaint for a writ of habeas corpus. Appellant, an inmate, filed a complaint for writ of habeas corpus asking the court to order his release from prison. In his complaint, Appellant challenged the actions of the Adult Parole Authority and alleged that because he had not been considered for parole since the completion of his sentence the warden was unlawfully restraining him. The court of appeals granted summary judgment for the warden. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant's arguments rested on his mistaken belief that his sentence expired upon the completion of his minimum sentence and that Appellant's complaint for a writ of habeas corpus was correctly dismissed. View "State ex rel. Holman v. Collins" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals dismissing Appellant's second petition for a writ of habeas corpus against the warden of the Chillicothe Correctional Institution, holding that the court of appeals correctly granted the warden's motion to dismiss. In dismissing the petition, the court of appeals concluded that Appellant's claims were not cognizable in habeas corpus and that res judicata barred Appellant's successive habeas corpus petition. Appellant appealed the dismissal and also filed a motion to strike the warden's brief for lack of a valid certificate of service. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals and denied the motion to strike, holding that the court of appeals' analysis was correct in both respects and that Appellant presented no evidence to support his motion to strike. View "Green v. Shoop" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals denying Appellant's complaint for a writ of mandamus to compel a common pleas court judge to enforce the terms of an agreement the county prosecutor had reached with Appellant's wife to secure her testimony against Appellant, holding that the court of appeals did not err. The court of appeals granted the judge's motion for summary judgment, holding that Appellant was not entitled to mandamus relief because he had an adequate remedy at law and because his claim was barred by the doctrine of res judicata. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the court of appeals correctly found that Appellant had a plain and adequate remedy and law and that Appellant's claim was barred by the doctrine of res judicata. View "State ex rel. Phelps v. McClelland" on Justia Law