Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio

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The law of the case from the first appeal in this case was not relevant in the second appeal because, on remand from the first appeal, the trial court had relied on new evidence to decide that Nicholas Giancola had signed an arbitration agreement. Plaintiff brought this survival action and wrongful death action, claiming that Giancola’s death was caused by injuries that he sustained while he was at Walton Manor Health Care Center. Walton Manor moved to compel arbitration, arguing that Giancola had entered into a binding arbitration agreement with Walton Manor. The trial court ordered arbitration of the survival action, finding that Giancola’s mother had signed the arbitration agreement and that she had apparent authority to bind her son to its terms. The appellate court reversed. On remand, the trial court referred the appropriate counts to arbitration, concluding that Giancola had signed the arbitration agreement. The appellate court held that the trial court had violated the law-of-the-case doctrine when it reconsidered the issue of who had signed the arbitration agreement. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the law-of-the-case doctrine did not prevent the trial court on remand from considering new evidence as to whether Giancola signed the arbitration agreement. View "Giancola v. Azem" on Justia Law

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When reviewing a decision of a common pleas court confirming, modifying, vacating, or correcting an arbitration award, an appellate court should accept finding of fact that are not clearly erroneous but should decide questions of law de novo. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Eleventh District Court of Appeals, which reversed the decision of the trial court vacating an arbitration award and reinstated the arbitration award, holding that the court of appeals conducted a proper de novo review of the trial court’s decision. Because the court of appeals’ judgment conflicted with judgments of the Eighth District and the Twelfth District, where the court of appeals concluded that the standard of review for an appellate court reviewing a trial court decision confirming or vacating an arbitration award is an abuse of discretion, the Supreme Court determined that a conflict existed and agreed to resolve the matter. View "Portage County Board of Developmental Disabilities v. Portage County. Educators' Association for Developmental Disabilities" on Justia Law

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Rebecca and Curtis divorced. A shared-parenting decree was put into effect for their sons. In June 2015, Rebecca sought a domestic-violence civil protection order against Curtis, R.C. 3113.31, stating that she was approaching Curtis’s house to pick up the children when Curtis rushed out and threw her backward into the bushes and said Rebecca was lucky that he did not shoot her. In August 2015, the court entered a permanent domestic-violence civil protection order that expired on June 19, 2016. On September 9, the appellate court issued a show-cause order asking the parties to explain why an appeal should not be dismissed as moot because the protection order had expired. Curtis responded that Rebecca had sought the order as leverage for future post-divorce proceedings and that he faced possible collateral consequences concerning his concealed-firearm permit, his credit report, his ability to obtain housing, drive certain vehicles, and obtain future employment. Rebecca did not respond. The appellate court dismissed. The Supreme Court of Ohio affirmed. Absent demonstrated legal collateral consequences, the collateral-consequences exception to the mootness doctrine does not apply to an expired domestic-violence civil protection order. The court declined to establish a rebuttable presumption that an appeal from an expired domestic-violence civil protection order is not moot. View "Cyran v. Cyran" on Justia Law

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In 2004, McCain was charged with felony murder, aggravated robbery, and falsification. Judge Froelich, of the Montgomery County Court, entered a not-guilty plea on McCain’s behalf after McCain “stood mute.” McCain’s later claimed that he attempted to plead guilty at his arraignment. Later, before Judge Huffman, McCain pleaded guilty to felony-murder and aggravated-robbery. Judge Huffman erroneously informed McCain that he would be subject to postrelease control on the felony-murder charge. Felony murder is an unclassified felony to which the postrelease-control statute does not apply. The sentence erroneously included postrelease control on both convictions. Judge Huffman later issued a nunc pro tunc entry correcting the error. McCain requested records relating to his arraignment, including video and transcripts. Judge Huffman denied his request. In 2016, McCain sought a writ of mandamus in the Second District, claiming that his attempt to enter a guilty plea at his arraignment divested Judge Huffman of jurisdiction; demanding a full copy of the arraignment transcripts, Referee Report and Video; and claiming constitutional deprivations and ineffective assistance of counsel. He sought to invalidate his plea agreement. The Supreme Court of Ohio affirmed dismissal. Habeas corpus, not mandamus, is the appropriate action when an inmate seeks release. The court rejected McCain’s argument that his alleged attempt to enter a guilty plea divested Judge Huffman of jurisdiction; a trial court’s jurisdiction does not end until a final judgment has been entered. Judge Huffman properly corrected the sentencing error. View "McCain v. Huffman" on Justia Law

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In 1981, McDermott was sentenced to life in prison. The Adult Parole Authority (APA) has repeatedly denied McDermott parole, most recently in 2015, finding substantial reason to believe that his release would create undue risk to public safety, or would not further the interest of justice. "The offender brutally stabbed the female victim to death while her minor children were in the house. He has completed programming, but lacks insight…. has gone some time without an infraction and [has] a supportive family." McDermott alleged that the APA had considered its erroneous belief that he had a history of stalking the victim and had violated a protection order. The Supreme Court of Ohio affirmed the Tenth District's denial of relief. To obtain mandamus relief, McDermott must establish, by clear and convincing evidence, a clear legal right to relief, that APA has a clear legal duty to provide it, and the lack of an adequate remedy in the course of law. The APA’s obligation to “investigate and correct any significant errors” arises when it is presented with “credible allegations, supported by evidence, that the materials relied on at a parole hearing were substantively inaccurate.” The evidence did not demonstrate that his APA record contained inaccurate information or that the APA relied on inaccurate information. McDermott sought no relief relating to alleged inaccuracies in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction’s report regarding inmates over the age of 65 who were parole-eligible. View "McDermott v. Adult Parole Authority" on Justia Law

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In 2004, McKinney was convicted of five counts arising from a single event: robbery, aggravated theft, receiving stolen property, and two counts of failing to comply with a police officer’s order. He was sentenced to consecutive prison terms totaling 20.5 years. The Third District rejected arguments that the robbery and theft counts and the two failing-to-comply counts were allied offenses of similar import but reversed his conviction for receiving stolen property and remanded for resentencing. He was resentenced to consecutive prison terms totaling 18.5 years. Ten years later, McKinney moved to “Correct Void Allied Convictions/Sentences” and for a resentencing hearing, then filed a mandamus petition, seeking to compel the trial judge to merge the convictions that he claimed were for allied offenses and arguing that until the judge does so, there is no final, appealable order. The Supreme Court of Ohio affirmed the Third District’s dismissal of the petition. McKinney has unsuccessfully litigated whether he was improperly convicted of duplicative charges, so his effort to collaterally attack his convictions as allied offenses is barred by res judicata. When “a plain and adequate remedy at law has been unsuccessfully invoked, a writ of mandamus will not lie to relitigate the same issue.” View "McKinney v. Schmenk" on Justia Law

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Inmates, sentenced to indeterminate prison terms for crimes committed before 1996 sentencing reforms, alleged that the parole board has an unwritten policy of denying parole to old-law offenders, noting statements by board members that all inmates likely to be paroled following the reforms have been released. The complaint alleged that the board wastes $119 million annually by failing to give inmates meaningful parole consideration. The Supreme Court of Ohio affirmed the Tenth District's dismissal of their mandamus petition. Prior denials do not equate to failure to give meaningful consideration. The Adult Parole Authority has “wide-ranging discretion in parole matters,” subject to an inherent expectation “that a criminal offender will receive meaningful consideration for parole.” The inmates did not establish that officials have already predetermined that the seriousness of their offenses outweighs all other factors. They committed aggravated murder in the course of a robbery, first-degree murder, complicity to commit aggravated murder, attempted aggravated murder, and crimes involving a minor. The board has not held them to account for offenses more serious than they actually committed nor based its decision on factually inaccurate information. Weighing the seriousness of the crimes, as compared to whatever evidence of rehabilitation the inmates presented is the point at which the parole board exercises its discretion. The court also rejected requests for a declaration that the parole board members were guilty of public corruption and for sanctions for alleged “public corruption” and “dereliction of duty.” View "Bailey v. Parole Board" on Justia Law

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Martin was convicted in Cleveland Heights Municipal Court of receiving stolen property and other charges. The Eighth District Court of Appeals dismissed his appeal for lack of a final order. Martin sought a writ of mandamus to compel Judge Buchanan to issue a final, appealable order. The Eighth District denied the petition because Judge Buchanan had set the matter for a hearing to address the finality of the judgment, so Martin had an adequate remedy at law. Martin’s petition also sought a writ of prohibition against the clerk of courts, alleging that a third party had posted his bail in an unrelated case and that the clerk had fraudulently applied those sums to the fines and costs assessed in this case. The Eighth District also denied that writ, finding that the depositor had consented to that disposition of funds. While his appeal was pending, Judge Buchanan issued a judgment entry. The Supreme Court of Ohio held that Martin’s mandamus petition was moot. Three elements are necessary for a writ of prohibition: the exercise of judicial power, lack of authority to exercise that power, and lack of an adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. The clerk’s action did not constitute the exercise of judicial or quasi-judicial authority. View "Martin v. Buchanan" on Justia Law

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Swain sought a writ of mandamus in the Tenth District Court of Appeals to compel the Ohio Adult Parole Authority to expunge its records of allegedly inaccurate information and to provide him with a “meaningful opportunity for parole based upon accurate factual findings.” The Tenth District dismissed for failure to attach to his affidavit of indigency a certified statement from the institutional cashier. The Supreme Court of Ohio affirmed. When an inmate files a civil action or appeal against a government entity or employee in a court of common pleas, court of appeals, county court, or municipal court, he must comply with R.C. 2969.25's procedural requirements, including, for a waiver of the filing fee, submission of an affidavit of indigency and a statement showing the balance in his inmate account for each of the preceding six months, certified by the institutional cashier. Noncompliance warrants dismissal. In the Tenth District, Swain also moved to proceed in forma pauperis, attaching the required affidavit and stating that a statement of his prison account was attached; no statement was filed. He subsequently filed another affidavit with a statement of the running balance in his prison account. Swain’s belated attempt to comply with R.C. 2969.25(C) “does not excuse his noncompliance” and the statement was not certified by the institutional cashier. View "Swain v. Adult Parole Authority" on Justia Law

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K.R. filed suit in the domestic-relations court to establish paternity and to allocate parental rights and responsibilities for M.W.’s minor child. On Friday, April 14, the court held a hearing on its own motion; Magistrate McKinley issued a decision, finding probable cause to believe that the child was a neglected, abused, and/or dependent child, that she was in immediate danger, and that removal was necessary to prevent immediate or threatened physical or emotional harm. He ordered the child placed in the immediate custody of Richland County Children Services (RCCS) and ordered the case transferred to the juvenile court. The following Monday, RCCS sought to set aside that decision. Days later, Judge Cockley signed a judgment entry adopting the magistrate’s decision. RCCS sought a writ of mandamus to compel a ruling on RCCS’s motion and a writ of prohibition vacating the decision and barring the domestic-relations court from issuing future custody orders that are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the juvenile court. The Supreme Court of Ohio denied the motion to dismiss, granted a peremptory writ of prohibition, and denied the requested writ of mandamus as moot. The domestic-relations court’s only recourse, upon suspicion of abuse, neglect, or dependency, is to transfer the matter to the juvenile court. Magistrate McKinley and Judge Cockley unambiguously lacked jurisdiction to order that the child be placed in the immediate custody of RCCS. View "Richland County Children Services. v. Richland County. Court of Common Pleas" on Justia Law