Ohio Law

News and Announcements from the Supreme Court of Ohio and Other Governmental Entities Within the Buckeye State.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Supreme Court Ohio Finds Various Sections of Ohio's Felony Sentencing Law Unconstitutional

The first part of the Court's syllabus from the opinion states:

"Because R.C. 2929.14(B) and (C) and 2929.19(B)(2) require judicial
factfinding before imposition of a sentence greater than the maximum
term authorized by a jury verdict or admission of the defendant, they are
unconstitutional."

They then went on state: "R.C. 2929.14(B) and (C) and 2929.19(B)(2)
are capable of being severed.
After the severance, judicial factfinding is not required before a prison
term can be imposed within the basic ranges of R.C. 2929.14(A) based
upon a jury verdict or admission of the defendant."

Going further, the court held "Because R.C. 2929.14(E)(4) and 2929.41(A)
require judicial finding of facts not proven to a jury beyond a reasonable
doubt or admitted by the defendant before the imposition of consecutive
sentences, they are unconstitutional...R.C. 2929.14(E)(4) and 2929.41(A) are
capable of being severed. After the severance, judicial factfinding is not
required before imposition of consecutive prison terms."

And yet again, "Because the specifications contained in
R.C. 2929.14(D)(2)(b) and (D)(3)(b) require judicial factfinding
before repeat violent offender and major drug offender penalty
enhancements are imposed, they are unconstitutional ... R.C. 2929.14(D)(2)(b)
and (D)(3)(b) are capable of being severed. After the severance,
judicial factfinding is not required before imposition of additional
penalties for repeat violent offender and major drug offender specifications."

The last part of the syllabus states "Trial courts have full discretion to
impose a prison sentence within the statutory range and are no
longer required to make findings or give their reasons for imposing
maximum, consecutive, or more than the minimum sentences."

Later

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