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Case CaptionCase No.Topics and IssuesAuthorCitation / CountyDecidedPostedWebCite
State v. Bell C-160608CONSTITUTIONAL LAW/CRIMINAL - CONFRONTATION CLAUSE - CROSS-EXAMINATION - HARMLESS ERROR - AUTHENTICATION - APPELLATE REVIEW/CRIMINAL - JUDICIAL BIAS: Defendant was denied his right to cross-examination where the trial court did not allow him to try to draw out testimony that would have, according to defendant's proffer, cast doubt on the state's case against him and where the desired cross-examination did not raise concerns of harassment, prejudice, confusion of the issues, or witness safety, and was not repetitive or only marginally relevant. The trial court's error in restricting defendant's right to cross-examination was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt where, considering the cross-examination that was allowed and the strength of the state's case, the damaging potential of defendant's proffer was negligible, at best. Testimony explaining when a letter was received and by whom, and where the letter had been until it had been turned over to police for testing was sufficient to prove a chain-of-custody. A letter referencing the crimes at issue was properly authenticated as being written by the defendant where there was testimony that the letter, which contained defendant's fingerprint, had been received by a witness within a few weeks of the crimes. Matters outside the record cannot be reviewed on direct appeal. Defendant's claim of judicial bias fails where there is no evidence in the record that the trial judge reached any decision based on bias against defendant.MillerHamilton 12/13/2017 12/13/2017 2017-Ohio-8959
State v. Love C-160651FELONIOUS ASSAULT - AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE - JURY INSTRUCTIONS: The trial court's failure to instruct the jury on how to apply its finding on the defendant's asserted affirmative defense of defense of others was plain error that required reversal of the trial court's judgment convicting defendant of three counts of felonious assault even though defendant had failed to object: the incomplete instruction prevented the jury from properly applying the law to reconcile any finding on the affirmative defense with its finding that the state had proved the elements of the underlying felonious-assault offenses beyond a reasonable doubt. [But see DISSENT: While the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury on how to apply its finding on the asserted affirmative defense, that error did not affect the defendant's substantial rights and did not rise to the level of plain error.]MyersHamilton 12/13/2017 12/13/2017 2017-Ohio-8960
Arias v. State C-160661SEX OFFENSES-CONSTITUTIONAL LAW/CRIMINAL-DUE PROCESS-SEPARATION OF POWERS-RIGHT TO TRAVEL: Former R.C. 2950.09, providing that an out-of-state sex offender was automatically classified as a sexual predator in Ohio if he had been convicted of a nonexempt sex offense and was required to register for life in the state where he was convicted, did not violate due process, because former R.C. 2950.09(F)(2) met the requirements of due process by affording the offender a hearing before a judge, along with notice and an opportunity to be heard as to whether he should be exempt from Ohio's lifetime registration and notification requirements. Former R.C. 2950.09 did not violate the separation-of-powers doctrine where the sex offender was automatically classified as a sexual predator in Ohio if he had been convicted of a nonexempt sex offense and was required to register for life in the state of his conviction, the sheriff did not make any legal or factual determinations exclusively reserved to the judiciary, the out-of-state offender presumably had been afforded due process in the state of his conviction on the issue of dangerousness, and Ohio judicial review of the automatic classification was afforded under R.C. 2950.05(F)(2). Former R.C. 2950.09 did violate the constitutional right to travel, because similarly-situated sex offenders moving into Ohio were treated the same, Ohio citizens who had committed sex offenses in other states and were required to register under that state's laws were required to register when they returned to Ohio, the state had a compelling interest in protecting its citizens from offenders who had been deemed dangerous enough to register for life by a court of competent jurisdiction, and the statute was narrowly tailored to include those sex offenders deemed most dangerous.MockHamilton 12/13/2017 12/13/2017 2017-Ohio-8961
State v. Craig C-160816APPELLATE JURISDICTION - FINAL ORDER: In a criminal action involving a multicount indictment, the trial court's failure to dispose of a count on which the jury fails to reach a verdict is not a final, appealable order. [But see SEPARATE CONCURRENCE: the due process clause provides some minimum guarantee to a prompt appeal; under the particular facts of this case, the defendant's due process right has not been violated.]MyersHamilton 12/13/2017 12/13/2017 2017-Ohio-8962
State v. Harper C-170084, C-170086, C-170087SENTENCING: The trial court erred in imposing a two-year prison term for an attempted-tampering-with-evidence offense punishable as a fourth-degree felony, and that sentence was clearly and convincingly contrary to law, when the maximum prison term authorized for that offense was 18 months, and the prison term imposed was outside the permissible statutory range. R.C. 2921.331(B) proscribes operating a motor vehicle so as to willfully elude or flee a police officer after receiving a visible or audible signal from a police officer to bring the motor vehicle to a stop. Under R.C. 2921.331(C)(5)(a)(ii) and 2921.331(D), if an offender has caused substantial risk of physical harm to person or property while committing the offense and is sentenced to a prison term for that violation, the offender shall serve the prison term consecutively to any other prison term or mandatory prison term imposed upon the offender; R.C. 2929.14(C)(3) also requires that if a prison term is imposed for a felony violation R.C. 2921.331(B), the offender shall serve that prison term consecutively to any other prison term or mandatory prison term previously or subsequently imposed on the offender. The trial court was not required to make the consecutive-sentencing findings mandated by R.C. 2929.14(C)(4) for defendant's violations of R.C. 2921.331(B), because the consecutive-sentencing provisions of R.C. 2929.14(C)(4) are inapposite when the trial court is required to impose consecutive sentences by operation of law under R.C. 2921.331(B) and 2921.331(D).CunninghamHamilton 12/13/2017 12/13/2017 2017-Ohio-8963
State v. Ward C-170175SENTENCING - RIGHT OF ALLOCUTION: Defendant's sentence must be reversed and the cause remanded for resentencing where the trial court denied defendant his right of allocution and the error was not invited or harmless.DetersHamilton 12/13/2017 12/13/2017 2017-Ohio-8964
State ex rel. Cincinnati Enquirer v. Ghiz C-170268, C-170269WRITS: Relators members of the media were entitled to a writ of mandamus compelling respondent common pleas court judge, who was presiding over a high-profile murder trial, to release jury questionnaires with personal identifying information redacted where respondent made insufficient findings to overcome the presumption of openness afforded court proceedings. Relators' request for a writ of prohibition preventing the trial judge from limiting the courtroom access of the media was dismissed as moot where the trial court proceedings had concluded. [But see DISSENT: The appellate court should address the merits of the petition for a writ of prohibition because the issues involved are capable of repetition yet evading review.]MockHamilton 12/13/2017 12/13/2017 2017-Ohio-8965
State v. Gage C-160824SPEEDY TRIAL: Because defendant was charged with both a second-degree misdemeanor and a minor misdemeanor, the state had 90 days, the speedy-trial period for a second-degree misdemeanor, to bring him to trial. Where defendant waived a substantial amount of time, and a substantial amount of time was tolled due to his actions, defendant was tried within the statutory speedy-trial period. Though defendant was not tried for over a year after his arrest on misdemeanor charges, his constitutional right to a speedy trial was not violated because much of the delay was attributable to him, he did not assert his speedy-trial right until late in the proceedings, and his defense was not impaired by the delay.MockHamilton 12/8/2017 12/8/2017 2017-Ohio-8897
State v. Williams C-160336RAPE - EVIDENCE - CONSTITUTIONAL LAW/CRIMINAL - CONFRONTATION CLAUSE - HEARSAY - COUNSEL - PROSECUTOR - SENTENCING: In a trial for two counts of rape of a child under the age of ten, the admission of statements made by the child-victims at the Mayerson Center did not violate the Confrontation Clause because they were made for the purpose of medical diagnosis and treatment, and therefore, were not testimonial; and while the statements were hearsay, they were properly admitted as statements made for the purpose of medical diagnosis and treatment pursuant to Evid.R. 803(4). The trial court erred in allowing mother to testify as to what the children had told her about what defendant had done to them, because the statements were hearsay; but defendant was not prejudiced by the admission of the statements because evidence containing the same information was properly admitted through other sources. Defendant's convictions for two counts of rape of a child under ten were based upon sufficient evidence and were not against the manifest weight of the evidence where the testimony of the victims, their interviews at the Mayerson Center, which were admitted into evidence, and the testimony of the Mayerson Center social worker about what the children had said showed that defendant had digitally penetrated the vaginas of both child-victims. Counsel was not ineffective for failing to cross-examine the child-victims, because the decision was sound trial strategy and defendant had instructed counsel not to cross-examine the children. Counsel was not ineffective for failing to object to an isolated comment made by the prosecutor at the conclusion of the testimony of a child-victim that he was "proud of her" where the comment was innocuous and the decision not to object was a matter of sound trial strategy. The prosecutor did not commit misconduct in making a single, encouraging comment to a child-victim at the conclusion of her difficult testimony considering the context of the comment and its isolated character. Defendant failed to establish that the outcome of the trial had been adversely affected by cumulative error where he had demonstrated only a single instance of arguable error, which was harmless. The trial court did not err in sentencing defendant to consecutive life terms where the court made the required findings pursuant to R.C. 2929.14(C) at the sentencing hearing and recorded those findings in the sentencing entry, and the record supported those findings. Defendant's two consecutive life terms did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment: the sentences were within the statutory ranges, and a claim for cruel and unusual punishment cannot be premised on consecutive sentences.MockHamilton 12/8/2017 12/8/2017 2017-Ohio-8898
Pieczonka v. Pieczonka C-170173DIVORCE - CHILD SUPPORT: The trial court abused its discretion in adopting the magistrate's decision where the magistrate had relied on an incorrect statement of the facts in determining the effective date of a child-support-modification order.ZayasHamilton 12/8/2017 12/8/2017 2017-Ohio-8899
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