Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Man Facing Sixth Trial for Murder Argues Appeal on Constitutional Grounds Must Be Allowed

Supreme Court to Hear Nine Cases Argued on October 8 and 9

Image of the front of the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center

The Chief Justice and Justices of the Ohio Supreme Court will hear arguments in nine cases October 8 and 9.

Image of the front of the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center

The Chief Justice and Justices of the Ohio Supreme Court will hear arguments in nine cases October 8 and 9.

The State of Ohio will ask the Ohio Supreme Court Tuesday to overturn an appeals court decision so that an Austintown man charged with a 2002 murder cannot proceed with an appeal protesting the start of his sixth trial.

Attorneys for Christopher Anderson argue a sixth trial violates his constitutional rights to due process and prohibiting double jeopardy. Anderson’s first trial ended in mistrial. In the second, he was convicted, but the Seventh District Court of Appeals reversed the conviction based on certain testimony it said shouldn’t have been allowed. The third trial ended in a hung jury, the fourth resulted in another mistrial, and the fifth led to another hung jury.

Before his sixth trial began in 2011, attorneys for Anderson filed a motion to dismiss the charges on due process and double jeopardy grounds. The trial court dismissed the motion, and Anderson’s attorneys appealed. The case, State of Ohio v. Christopher Anderson, turns on whether the trial court’s dismissal is a final order that can be appealed to a higher court.

The court will hear this case, along with four others, on Tuesday, October 8, beginning at 9 a.m., at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center in Columbus. Oral arguments in four more cases will be heard on Wednesday, October 9.

The court’s Office of Public Information today released summaries of the nine cases. The arguments will be carried live online at sc.ohio.gov and broadcast live on the Ohio Channel.

Cases for Tuesday, October 8
In addition to Anderson, the court will consider these four cases during Tuesday’s session:

  • In the Matter of the Application of Columbus Southern Power Company and In the Matter of the Application of Ohio Power Company involves electric service plans approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to phase in the recovery over several years of certain costs incurred by the companies and to impose provider-of-last-resort charges. Following an appeal, the Ohio Supreme Court returned the case to the PUCO in 2011 on two issues. The PUCO addressed those issues, and an association of Ohio manufacturers and a utility consumer advocate have appealed the commission’s order back to the Supreme Court.
  • In Forrest Gauthier v. Su Kang Gauthier, an ex-husband sought the return of several items from his ex-wife. When the ex-wife didn’t produce the items, a trial court found her in contempt and gave her a certain amount of time to return the items or be sentenced to 30 days in jail. The ex-wife notified the court that she either had already delivered the items or didn’t have them, and the court then decided not to impose the jail sentence. The ex-husband argues that the trial court didn’t have the authority to reconsider and overrule its own contempt order and jail sentence.
  • State of Ohio v. Yanko Mansaray centers on the meaning of language in the statute that defines when someone has been wrongfully imprisoned for purposes of determining whether he is entitled to damages. A Cuyahoga County man was released from prison after an appeals court decided that the evidence used to prove he was guilty of drug possession was obtained as part of an illegal search and seizure. The man filed a civil action for wrongful imprisonment, which the trial court denied but the appeals court affirmed. The state contends that one of the statute’s requirements has not been met because the procedural error occurred before the man’s sentencing and imprisonment.
  • The current property owners of a Mason strip mall ask the court in Mason City School District Board of Education v. Warren County Board of Revision et al. to reduce the assessed value of the property. They assert that they should have been notified of the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals’ hearing and that the board of education didn’t show evidence of the sale used to value the property at a higher amount.

Cases for Wednesday, October 9
The court will hear four cases on Wednesday:

  • Oaktree Condominium Association v. Hallmark Building Company concerns statutory timeframes for filing construction liability claims. In 2003, 13 years after seven condominiums were built, several owners discovered damage to their units. The damage was determined to be caused by structural deficiencies in the construction of the units. The property owners argue that, in their specific situation, amendments made in 2005 to the relevant statute deny their right to a remedy for the damages, because the damages were found before the statute went into effect but their claim was filed after the statute’s effective date.
  • In State of Ohio v. Jason Romage, the court will consider whether Ohio’s child enticement statute is constitutionally overbroad and will address conflicts among the state’s appellate districts on the issue. The state contends that the statute provides critical protection of children and that certain words in the statute can be limited or severed so that otherwise innocent citizens aren’t swept up by the law and charged as criminals.
  • Estate of Timothy J. Oeding, et al. v. David Fraley d.b.a. Fraley Trucking asks the court whether an Ohio trial court had jurisdiction to hear a case filed by an Ohio company that allegedly suffered an economic loss after an auto accident in Indiana involving an Indiana driver working for an Indiana company. The insurance company for the Indiana employer asserts that Ohio’s “long-arm statute” doesn’t give Ohio courts jurisdiction in this case.
  • Another conflict between Ohio appellate districts will be considered by the court in In re: I.A. Attorneys for the minor, who was found delinquent for committing rape, argue that the statute governing juvenile sex offender classification hearings allows the court to decide whether or not to classify minors of certain ages as sex offenders. They contend it doesn’t, however, let courts determine that classification during the child’s disposition hearing before treatment is provided.
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