Articles Posted in Criminal Law

by
After review of Defendant’s first appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions for aggravated murder, aggravated burglary, and aggravated robbery but vacated Defendant’s death sentence. On remand, the trial court again imposed the death sentence. On the second appeal, the Supreme Court again vacated the death sentence on the ground that the trial court had failed to consider Defendant’s allocution. A different judge presided over the third resentencing and again imposed capital punishment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that none of Defendant’s four propositions of law warranted relief and that the death penalty in this case was appropriate and proportionate. View "State v. Roberts" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
At issue was whether the court of appeals erred in affirming the judgment of the county court of common pleas suppressing evidence seized during the warrantless search of an unattended book bag conducted by a school employee and the school principal. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the school’s protocol requiring searches of unattended book bags to determine ownership and to ensure the safety of its contents furthers a compelling governmental interest in protecting public school students from physical harm; and (2) the school employees’ search of the unattended book bag belonging to Defendant was limited to fulfilling the purposes of the school’s search protocol and was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. View "State v. Polk" on Justia Law

by
In 2007, Appellant was charged in Warren County, Ohio with two drug-related felony offenses. Appellant fled the jurisdiction before trial and was later imprisoned in Pennsylvania for federal drug convictions. In 2012, Appellant was extradited to Warren County. Appellant filed a pretrial motion to dismiss the indictment, alleging a violation of Article IV(d) of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers and, alternatively, that he was extradited to Ohio from Pennsylvania without a hearing. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss. Appellant was convicted of the felony charges and sentenced to six years’ incarceration. Appellant then filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, alleging that Ohio lacked jurisdiction over him because he was returned to the state pursuant to a defective extradition request. The court of appeals dismissed the motion for failure to state a claim. The Supreme Court affirmed, as “[a] claim of illegal extradition does not state a claim in habeas corpus and will not void [a] conviction.” View "State ex rel. Thomas v. Richard" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
Defendant was charged with burglary. Before Defendant’s trial was to begin, the court confirmed that Defendant had been offered and rejected a plea offer. After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty. Following a sentencing hearing, the court imposed a six-year term of imprisonment. Defendant appealed, arguing that the trial court vindictively imposed a sentence in retaliation for the exercise of his right to a jury trial in violation of his due process rights. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) there is no presumption of vindictiveness when, after trial, a court sentences a defendant to a longer term than was offered by the state in plea negotiations; (2) an appellate court may reverse a sentence for vindictiveness only if, upon its examination of the entire record, it clearly and convincingly finds the sentence was based on actual vindictiveness; and (3) applying this standard, the trial court did not vindictively sentence Defendant. View "State v. Rahab" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Cuyahoga County Grand Jury indicted five individuals with two misdemeanor counts of dereliction of duty. Thereafter, the city of East Cleveland filed an identical dereliction-of-duty charge against each of the defendants in the East Cleveland Municipal Court. The defendants filed a complaint requesting a writ of prohibition, seeking to prohibit Judge William L. Dawson of the municipal court from exercising jurisdiction over the identical dereliction-of-duty charges against each of the defendants. Thereafter, the county prosecutor moved to dismiss the indictments pending in the common pleas court. The common pleas court found that the duplicate charges filed in the municipal court constituted good cause for dismissal. The defendants amended their complaint in prohibition arguing that Judge Dawson and the municipal court lacked jurisdiction over their cases, that the common pleas court inappropriate dismissed the charges previously filed in that court, and that they could not appeal from those dismissals. The court of appeals granted the requested writ. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Judge Dawson did not patently and unambiguously lack jurisdiction to consider the indictments filed against the defendants in the municipal court and that the defendants had an adequate remedy at law in the form of appeal. View "State ex rel. Dailey v. Dawson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
Appellant filed a petition for a writ of mandamus seeking an order compelling Appellee, a Court of Common Pleas of Hamilton county judge, to vacate his sentence as void and to resentencing him “according to the verdict returned by the jury.” The court of appeals dismissed Appellant’s petition for a writ of mandamus. Appellant appealed and also filed a motion for reversal of judgment under S. Ct. Prac. R. 16.07(B) claiming that he was entitled to judgment in his favor because the judge failed to file a brief in this appeal. The Supreme Court affirmed and denied Appellant’s motion, holding (1) the court of appeals correctly dismissed Appellant’s petition for a writ of mandamus; and (2) Appellant’s brief did not reasonably appear to sustain reversal. View "State ex rel. Bradford v. Dinkelacker" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
Appellant was an inmate at the London Correctional Institution, where he was serving the remainder of an indeterminate sentence since the Adult Parole Authority (APA) revoked his parole in 2014. In 2015, Appellant filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus or, in the alternative, a writ of mandamus against Warden Terry Tibbals and the APA. Appellant requested an order requiring Tibbals to immediately release him from prison under the same conditions of his original parole; alternatively, an order compelling the APA to credit his time served from 2001 to 2011; and an order compelling the APA to grant him a new mitigation/revocation hearing with the appointment of counsel. The court of appeals granted summary judgment in favor of Tibbals and the APA. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) because Appellant had not served his maximum sentence and failed to show that he was being held unlawfully, the court of appeals correctly denied Appellant’s request for a writ of habeas corpus; and (2) Appellant failed to prove his entitlement to a writ of mandamus by clear and convincing evidence. View "State ex rel. Marsh v. Tibbals" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
In State v. Gonzales (Gonzales I), the Supreme Court determined that, in prosecuting cocaine-possession offenses under Ohio Rev. Code 2925.11(C)(4)(b) through (f) involving mixed substances, the State must prove that the weight of the actual cocaine, excluding the weight of any filler materials, meets the statutory threshold. The State filed a motion for reconsideration, arguing that Gonzalez I was based on inconsistent application of the principles of statutory construction. The Supreme Court granted the motion for reconsideration, vacated its decision in Gonzalez I, and held that the entire mixture or compound, including any fillers that are part of the usable drug, must be considered for the purpose of determining the appropriate penalty for cocaine possession under section 2925.11(C)(4). View "State v. Gonzales" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
In 1986, Appellant pleaded guilty to five counts of rape and six counts of complicity to rape. The trial court sentenced Appellant to four terms of life imprisonment and ordered that Appellant serve each of the life sentences consecutively. In 2015, Appellant filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus arguing that the trial court acted outside its jurisdiction and improperly imposed the life terms because of errors in the sentencing entry. The court of appeals dismissed Appellant’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant’s habeas petition was properly dismissed because Appellant did not set forth a valid challenge to the jurisdiction of the sentencing court and because Appellant had an adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law to raise his sentencing errors. View "Dunkle v. Department of Rehabilitation & Correction" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
Defendant was charged with operating a vehicle while under the influence (OVI) of a drug of abuse. After a trial, Defendant was convicted. The court of appeals vacated the trial court’s judgment, finding that the evidence was insufficient to support Defendant’s OVI conviction because there was no evidence to connect Defendant’s use of hydrocodone, a widely known drug of abuse, with his impairment. Therefore, the appellate court concluded that expert testimony was necessary to support the OVI conviction. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the evidence was sufficient to support the OVI conviction and that no expert testimony was required to link the ingestion of hydrocodone with Defendant’s impairment. View "State v. Richardson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law