Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Supreme Court to Consider Death Penalty Appeal from Man Who Shot Twinsburg Police Officer

Justices to Travel to Toledo for One Day of Next Court Session

Image of an empty Supreme Court of Ohio courtroom in the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center

The court’s next session will include arguments about the validity of arrest warrants in Toledo, reinstatement of a terminated Cedar Point executive, and the possible lack of in-court identification of a Euclid man convicted of gross sexual imposition.

Image of an empty Supreme Court of Ohio courtroom in the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center

The court’s next session will include arguments about the validity of arrest warrants in Toledo, reinstatement of a terminated Cedar Point executive, and the possible lack of in-court identification of a Euclid man convicted of gross sexual imposition.

A man who shot a Twinsburg police officer during a 2008 traffic stop will appeal his conviction and death sentence before the Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday.

The court will hear the death penalty case and one other during oral arguments in Columbus on April 8. The court will consider appeals in three more cases in Toledo on Wednesday, April 9, as part its biannual Off-Site Court Program. The University of Toledo College of Law is hosting Wednesday’s session.

In the early morning hours of July 2008, police officer Joshua Miktarian stopped the vehicle Ashford Thompson was driving because Thompson was loudly playing music in his car and the officer suspected he may have been drunk. When Miktarian was handcuffing Thompson to place him under arrest, they struggled. Thompson had a permit to carry a concealed weapon, and he pulled his gun during the arrest and shot the officer four times in the head.

Thompson was convicted in 2010 of aggravated murder and other charges, and the court imposed the death penalty.

In Thompson’s appeal to the Supreme Court, his attorneys argue that 18 errors were made at his trial, and those are grounds for the court to reverse Thompson’s conviction and death sentence.

His attorneys contend that the trial court’s judgment and sentencing orders did not adhere to the legal requirements for those documents, so they were not final. Orders that are not final cannot be appealed, they maintain. They also assert that a potential juror was dismissed from the jury because of her race, instead of for the race-neutral reason the prosecutors claimed. In addition, after the jury was chosen, some jurors may have heard that Thompson initially pled guilty in the case but later withdrew his plea, and that knowledge may have tainted the jury’s impartiality, Thompson’s attorneys argue.

Along with the brief descriptions below, the court’s Office of Public Information today released summaries of the five cases to be considered April 8 and 9. Arguments before the court will be carried live online at http://sc.ohio.gov/ and broadcast live on The Ohio Channel.  The court’s sessions on both days begin at 9 a.m.

Cases for Tuesday, April 8
In addition to Thompson, the court will consider one other case during Tuesday’s session:

  • After his request to exclude evidence from trial was denied, a Toledo man chose not to contest the aggravated murder and aggravated burglary charges he faced. The court sentenced him to life in prison. In Hoffman v. State, the man asserts that the evidence related to the murder and burglary should not have been considered because it was discovered during the execution of invalid arrest warrants for other charges. He argues that the warrants were issued without a judicial finding that there was enough cause for an arrest (probable cause), so the police officers could not depend on the validity of the warrants.

Cases for Wednesday, April 9
The court will consider three cases at the off-site session:

  • In Cedar Fair v. Falfas, an arbitration panel found that a Sandusky amusement park company violated the terms of an employment contract with the company’s chief operating officer when it allegedly fired him. To remedy the situation, the panel ordered the company to reinstate the man to his former position. The company argues that requiring it to rehire a former employee is contrary to state law that bars the forced reinstatement of terminated employees unless a specific statute applies.
  • Visiting Nurse Association of Mid-Ohio v. Friebel involves a workers’ compensation claim filed by a nurse who travels from home to home to provide health care to patients. She was injured in a car accident while driving her children to the mall on her way to her first patient appointment. The employer contends that the woman was on a personal errand and had not yet begun work that day, so she is not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
  • A man was convicted of gross sexual imposition and public indecency in State v. Tate after he persuaded a teenager outside a Euclid library to check out a study group he said was meeting nearby. The appeals court ruled that neither the victim nor her friends identified the man on trial as the one who spoke with the girl and committed the crimes. Cuyahoga County prosecutors maintain that a library security video from that day, the man’s own testimony at trial, and other evidence clearly and convincingly showed that the man on trial was the man who the victim and her friends testified about.
MOST SHARED