Ohio law sets forth the different classes of misdemeanors and their sentencing ranges: a misdemeanor of the first degree is not more than one hundred eighty days in jail; a misdemeanor of the second degree is not more than ninety days in jail; a misdemeanor of the third degree is not more than sixty days in jail; a misdemeanor of the fourth degree is not more than thirty days in jail; and a minor misdemeanor cannot consist of any jail time. (more…)
State v. Bess, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that Ohio law tolls or stops the running of the statutes of limitations when the offender purposefully avoids prosecution. This applies to crimes that had not yet been charged or even discovered, as long as the offender purposefully avoids prosecution. In this case, Bess learned in 1989 that he was being investigated for raping a young girl. He fled to Georgia and assumed a false identity in order to avoid prosecution. He was indicted later that same year. He remained in Georgia until he was arrested in 2007 and returned to Ohio. During trial preparation, the prosecutor interviewed the girl’s brother and learned for the first time that he too was raped by Bess. A second indictment charged Bess with that rape. Bess was convicted. While there was no question that the State of Ohio could try Bess for rape of the girl, the real question was whether he could be charged and convicted of a crime eighteen years after he purposefully fled to avoid prosecution. The Ohio Supreme Court said that he could be charged and convicted in this manner because he purposefully fled the jurisdiction to avoid prosecution. (more…)
decision, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that automatically imposing a lifetime registration requirement for a juvenile sex offender amounts to cruel and unusual punishment and violates the juvenile’s right to due process of law. In 2006, Congress passed the Adam Walsh Act, also known as the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORN). In 2008, Ohio became the first state to adopt a law that followed SORN. When the Ohio Supreme Court reviewed this law in its 2012 decision, it noted that most of the states refused to pass similar laws, opposing the lifetime sex offender registration and notification requirements for juveniles. This national consensus of rejecting automatic lifetime registration requirements for juveniles was the first of two factors the Court used to strike down this portion of the law. The second step was to look at the court’s own independent judgment on whether this punishment violates the Constitution. In doing so, the Court determined that: (1) the lifetime registration requirement was much more likely to hinder than to help juveniles obtain stable employment and reintegrate into their communities after their release from custody; (2) was contrary to past decisions that held that juveniles should be treated as less morally capable than adults; and (3) was contrary to the juvenile justice system’s primary purpose of rehabilitation rather than punishment. This analysis led the court to conclude that the severity of lifetime registration and notification and lack of adequate justification renders it cruel and unusual under the eighth amendment to the United States Constitution. The law also denied due process because it is automatic and does not allow the court to consider the child’s background or how publication of the offense might affect rehabilitation.