Articles Posted in Ohio Supreme Court

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On August 5, 2014, Relators submitted a petition to the clerk of council to amend the charter of the City of Maple Heights by limiting the use of photo-monitoring devices to enforce traffic laws. On August 18, 2014, the director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections certified that the part-petitions contained sufficient valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. The city council, however, took no action on the petition. On August 25, 2014, Relators this expedited election action in the Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus to compel the City and its city council to pass an ordinance placing the charter-amendment initiative on the November 4, 2014 ballot. On September 3, 2014, council referred the matter to the Committee as a whole but failed to schedule a vote on the matter. The Supreme Court granted the writ, as the city council failed to submit the charter-amendment initiative “forthwith” as required by the Ohio Constitution. View "State ex rel. Comm. for Charter Amendment Petition v. City of Maple Heights" on Justia Law

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Thomas Brown ran unsuccessfully to become the Democratic nominee for a seat on the Ashtabula County common pleas court in the Democratic Party primary election. Brown subsequently filed nominating petitions to be a judicial candidate on the Ashtabula County Western Area Court in the general election. The Ashtabula County Board of Elections (Board) rejected Brown’s petitions based on the ballot-access restrictions set forth in Ohio Rev. Code 3513.04. Relators, including Brown, subsequently sought a writ of mandamus compelling the Board and its director (collectively, Respondents) to certify Brown’s candidacy for the Western Area Court, asserting that section 3513.04 is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court denied the writ, holding that Relators failed to overcome the presumption of constitutionality and failed to demonstrate that section 3513.04 is unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt. View "State ex rel. Brown v. Ashtabula County Bd. of Elections" on Justia Law

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Defendant was convicted of three counts of aggravated murder and other felony offenses. The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions and sentence of death, holding (1) even if the trial court overstepped its bounds in conducting an Adkins hearing, no prejudice occurred; (2) Defendant’s waiver of a jury trial was voluntary, knowing, and intelligent; (3) the prosecutor did not engage in misconduct; (4) Defendant’s counsel provided constitutionally effective assistance; (5) the three-judge panel did not violate Defendant’s constitutional rights by choosing to give certain mitigating evidence no weight and limited weight; and (6) Defendant’s remaining claims similarly failed. View "State v. Jackson" on Justia Law

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Appellee filed an employment-discrimination action against the Dayton Police Department (DPD) and Major Mitchell Davis, her supervisor, alleging, inter alia, age- and sex-based discrimination in violation of Ohio Rev. Code 4112 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. DPD and Davis filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that Davis was entitled to immunity on the basis that a supervisor employed by a political subdivision cannot be held individually liable in a discrimination action. The trial court denied the motion for summary judgment as it related to Appellee’s claim of sex discrimination under Chapter 4112 and denied the motion as it related to Davis’s claim of immunity. The court of appeals affirmed on the basis that Ohio Rev. Code 2744.03(A)(6)(c), which states that political-subdivision employees, such as Davis, are not entitled to immunity if civil liability is expressly imposed upon the employee by a section of the Revised Code. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Ohio Rev. Code 4112.01(A)(2) and 4112.02(A) do not expressly impose civil liability on political-subdivision employees so as to trigger the immunity exception in section 2744.03(A)(6)(c). View "Hauser v. Dayton Police Dep't" on Justia Law

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Plunderbund Media, LLC sought the disclosure of records documenting threats against the governor that were kept by the Director of Public Safety. Legal counsel for the Department of Public Safety refused to produce any records based on Ohio Rev. Code 149.433, which exempts “security records” from disclosure under the Public Records Act. Plunderbund filed an action for a writ of mandamus to require the Department to produce the requested records. The Supreme Court denied the writ, holding any records of threats made to the governor are “security records” and are therefore exempt from disclosure as public records under section 149.433. View "State ex rel. Plunderbund Media v. Born" on Justia Law

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Defendant was indicted on two counts of aggravated murder, each of which carried three death specifications. Defendant waived a jury and was tried by a three-judge panel. The panel found Defendant guilty of felony murder and sentenced him to death. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Defendant’s jury waiver and voluntary, knowing, and intelligent; (2) the procedure whereby the judges were appointed to the panel was not plain error; (3) Defendant’s confession was voluntary; (4) Defendant’s claim that the State violated his Sixth Amendment rights by seizing “attorney work product” during a search of his jail cell was waived at trial; (5) prosecutorial misconduct did not deny Defendant a fair trial; (6) the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating factors in this case beyond a reasonable doubt; and (7) the death sentence in this case was appropriate and proportionate. View "State v. Osie" on Justia Law

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Stanley and Kathryn Wasserman are the successors in interest to an easement created in 1915 for the purpose of draining what is now their farmland over land now owned by the City of Freemont. After the City unilaterally replaced plastic drainage tiles across the easement with a single drainage pipe and rerouted the drainage pathway, the Wassermans sued in mandamus, alleging an unconstitutional taking. The court of appeals concluded that the City violated the easement and that the Wassermans were entitled to a determination of whether a taking had actually occurred. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the express easement language gave the owner of the original servient estate the right to determine the lines by which the drainage system should run through the land, and as the current owner of the servient estate, the City retained the right to change the route of the drainage tile as long as it continued to drain the Wassermans’ land; and (2) under the facts of this case, the City did not violate the easement. View "State ex rel. Wasserman v. City of Fremont" on Justia Law

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Article I, Section 9 of the Ohio Constitution provides that “[a]ll persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties.” Under Crim.R. 46(A)(2), however, a court may require a defendant to post ten percent of the bail amount in cash. Relators in these consolidated cases were bail bond agents and companies seeking writs of mandamus to compel the clerk and judges of county courts to accept surety bonds in all cases where bail is set by the court. Relator Woody Fox Bail Bonds also requested damages. The Supreme Court granted the requested writs of mandamus but denied damages, holding (1) Crim.R. 46(A)(2) is unconstitutional insofar as it permits a court to require a bond secured by a ten percent cash deposit as the only option, to the exclusion of a surety bond, because it denies the constitutional rights of defendants to be “bailable by sufficient sureties”; and (2) the clerk of courts and judges have political-subdivision immunity. View "State ex rel. Sylvester v. Neal" on Justia Law

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After Mother and Father divorced, the parties disputed the custody of their child, A.G. During a court proceeding concerning custody, the juvenile court excluded A.G., who was thirteen years old at the time, from attending the hearing. A.G. had filed a motion to attend the hearing, but the judge denied the motion, concluding that the dispute was between the parents, and therefore, A.G. had not constitutional right to be present. A.G. appealed, claiming that the trial court violated her due process rights by denying her motion to attend the proceeding. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that the trial court had discretion to exclude A.G., a nonparty, from a hearing in custody litigation ancillary to her parents’ divorce. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) in child-custody litigation arising from a divorce, a court has discretion to exclude a child from any proceeding if it determines that exclusion is in the best interest of the child; and (2) the juvenile court in this case considered relevant and appropriate factors in making its decision. View "In re A.G." on Justia Law

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Appellants in this case were ProgressOhio.org, Inc., a member of the Ohio Senate, and a former member of the Ohio House of Representatives. Appellants brought a constitutional challenge to the JobsOhio Act, which created JobsOhio, a nonprofit corporation, and gave JobsOhio the right to purchase the state’s liquor distribution and merchandising operations. The trial court dismissed the case, concluding that Appellants lacked standing to sue. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because Appellants had no personal stake in the outcome of this litigation, they lacked common-law standing to challenge the JobsOhio Act. View "ProgressOhio.org, Inc. v. JobsOhio" on Justia Law