Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio

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The Supreme Court granted the writ of mandamus sought by Relator seeking to compel the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) to release security-camera video footage related to a use-of-force incident at Marion Correctional Institution, holding that Relator was entitled to the writ and that Relator was further entitled to attorney fees and statutory damages. DRC argued that the video at issue was not a public record because it qualified as an “infrastructure record” and a “security record,” both of which were exceptions to the definition of a “public record” and therefore not subject to release or disclosure under Ohio Rev. Code 149.433. The Supreme Court disagreed and ordered DRC to provide Relator with an unreacted copy of the requested video, holding (1) the requested record was neither an infrastructure record nor a security record; (2) DRC was required to reimburse Relator for the court costs he paid to commence this action; (3) Relator was entitled to attorney fees and statutory damages; and (4) DRC’s motion for a protective order is denied as moot. View "State ex rel. Rogers v. Department of Rehabilitation and Correction" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied the writ of mandamus sought by Relator to compel Kent State University to comply with her records request under Ohio Rev. Code 149.43, holding that Relator was not entitled to additional records beyond those that she had already received pursuant to her request. After Kent State responded to Relator’s records request, Relator filed this mandamus complaint. Following the complaint, Kent State provided additional records. The Supreme Court denied relief, holding that Kent State did not fail to uphold its duties under section 149.43. The Court granted Relator an award of statutory damages in the amount of $1,000 and granted Relator’s request for reasonable attorney fees but denied her request for court costs. View "State ex rel. Kesterson v. Kent State University" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied the writ of mandamus sought by Relator seeking to compel Kent State University with certain records regarding student-athletes under the Public Records Act, Ohio Rev. Code 149.43, holding that Relator failed to show by clear and convincing evidence that Kent State failed fully to respond to her records request. Kent State provided several hundred pages of records in response to Relator’s records request. Relator later filed her mandamus complaint alleging that Kent State failed fully to respond to her request. The Supreme Court denied relief, holding (1) despite Kent State’s failure fro comply with Relator’s request within a reasonable period of time, Kent State’s eventual production of all the requested records rendered Relator’s mandamus claim moot; and (2) Relator was entitled to $1,000 in statutory damages and reasonable attorney fees but was not entitled to an award of court costs. View "State ex rel. Kesterson v. Kent State University" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and death sentence of Appellant, who murdered his mother, but reversed an aggravated robbery charge against him that was used as one of three specifications supporting the prosecution’s effort to seek the death penalty. The Supreme Court held (1) the trial court did not err in overruling Defendant’s motion to suppress; (2) no prejudicial error occurred during jury selection; (3) the trial court erred in admitting certain other acts evidence, but the errors were harmless; (4) the prosecutor did not commit misconduct during closing argument; (5) Defendant’s sentence was appropriate; (6) any error on the part of defense counsel during the penalty phase was harmless; (7) cumulative errors did not render Defendant’s trial unfair; and (8) the evidence failed to support the finding that Defendant “deprived” the victim of property or that Defendant’s “purpose” was to deprive the victim of the property at issue. View "State v. Tench" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted in part and denied in part the writ of mandamus requested by Relators to compel the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction (DRC) to release records related to DRC’s acquisition and supply of lethal-injection drugs, holding that Relators had a clear legal right to access certain sealed records with protected information redacted but that other information was exempt from public disclosure. At issue was sealed records identified in DRC’s Exhibit 7 log and Exhibit 8 log. The Supreme Court held (1) Relators had a clear legal right to access the sealed records in the Exhibit 7 log with only protected information redacted that could identify an entity requesting confidentiality under Ohio Rev. Code 2949.221; (2) because one letter in Exhibit 7 contained protected information that was inextricably intertwined with nonprotected information, it was exempt from disclosure; and (3) Relators failed to establish a clear legal right to compel DRC to produce the sealed records identified in the Exhibit 8 log, which were created or received by DRC after the date of Relators’ request. View "State ex rel. Hogan Lovells U.S., LLP v. Department of Rehabilitation & Correction" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing Defendant’s conviction and discharging him from further prosecution after the trial court accepted Defendant’s plea of no contest to a charge of cruelty to animals and finding Defendant guilty but neglecting to ask for an explanation of the circumstances, holding that the Double Jeopardy Clause did not bar Defendant’s retrial. On appeal, Defendant argued that the trial court erred by failing to obtain an explanation of the circumstances before finding him guilty. The court of appeals agreed, reversed Defendant’s conviction and, reasoning that the reversal was based on insufficient evidence, concluded that jeopardy had attached and barred further proceedings against Defendant. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the reversal of Defendant’s conviction was not based on insufficiency of the evidence, but, rather, on a procedural error; and (2) therefore, the double jeopardy protection did not bar Defendant’s retrial. View "Girard v. Giordano" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied Respondent’s motion to dismiss Relator’s original action in mandamus and issued an alternative writ, holding that, although Relator was an inmate who had filed a civil action against a state employee and Relator did not attach an affidavit of prior civil actions to his complaint, Respondent was not entitled to have the complaint dismissed. Relator, an inmate at the Southern Ohio Correction Facility, alleged that he submitted a public-records request to Respondent, the public-records custodian for the facility, but never received the requested documents. Relator filed a complaint for a writ of mandamus asking the Supreme Court to compel Respondent to provide him the requested documents. Respondent moved to dismiss the complaint based on Relator’s failure to comply with the filing requirements set forth in Ohio Rev. Code 2969.25. The Supreme Court held (1) section 2969.25 does not apply to this matter, and because it does not apply, Respondent’s motion to dismiss is denied; and (2) Relator is entitled to an alternative writ. View "State ex rel. McDougald v. Greene" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals affirming the trial court’s suppression of 150 individually wrapped pieces of marijuana-infused candy contained in two sealed Priority Mail envelopes located inside an open box on the back seat of Defendant’s vehicle during a traffic stop, holding that the search of the envelopes and the duration of the traffic stop were not in violation of Defendant’s constitutional rights. Specifically, the Court held that after finding marijuana and other drug paraphernalia in Defendant’s car, the arresting officer had probable cause to open the envelopes and had the right to detain Defendant for as long as reasonably necessary to complete the search of the vehicle. View "State v. Vega" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of aggravated murder and sentence of death, imposed after the case was remanded for resentencing, holding that none of Defendant’s propositions of law on appeal warranted reversal. Specifically, the Court held (1) the trial court did not err when it excluded testimony that Defendant sought to present as additional mitigating evidence in the time between the two sentencing hearings; (2) the trial court did not violate Defendant’s due process rights by refusing to empanel a new jury for the resentencing hearing; (3) trial counsel did not provide ineffective assistance at the resentencing hearing; (4) Defendant was not denied the opportunity to deny or explain evidence at the resentencing hearing; and (5) Defendant’s sentence of death was appropriate and proportional. View "State v. Goff" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals concluding that an order appointing a guardian ad litem (GAL) for an adult is not a final, appealable order under Ohio Rev. Code 2505.02(B) and vacated the trial court’s order appointing a GAL to act on Appellant’s behalf in her divorce case. The court of common pleas, domestic relations division, issued an order appointing a GAL to represent Appellant in her divorce case without providing her with prior notice or an opportunity to be heard on the issue. The Supreme Court remanded the case to the trial court for further proceedings, holding (1) because the order was issued during a special proceeding and affects a substantial right and because Appellant will not be provided adequate relief if she is not permitted immediately to appeal the order, the order is a final, appealable order under section 2505.02(B)(2); and (2) the order violated Appellant’s due process rights. View "Thomasson v. Thomasson" on Justia Law