Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Supreme Court to Consider Constitutionality of Mandatory Transfer of Juveniles to Adult Court

Among Eight Cases Scheduled for Argument on July 8 and 9

Image of the giant gavel sculpture in the North Plaza reflecting pool of the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center

Cases before the Supreme Court this month involve tainted drinking water, $36 million in undercharged electricity costs, and a law barring peace officers from having sex with minors.

Image of the giant gavel sculpture in the North Plaza reflecting pool of the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center

Cases before the Supreme Court this month involve tainted drinking water, $36 million in undercharged electricity costs, and a law barring peace officers from having sex with minors.

On Tuesday at the Ohio Supreme Court a Summit County youth will raise constitutional challenges to state laws mandating the transfer of some minors from juvenile to common pleas court for certain offenses involving a gun.

In November 2011, 16-year-old Alexander Quarterman took out a gun and robbed a group of friends while they played cards.

His actions constituted aggravated robbery if done by an adult, and the juvenile court found probable cause – a reasonable basis to believe he had committed the crime. Ohio law requires that when a juvenile court finds probable cause in a case involving a 16- or 17-year-old who commits a category-two offense while using a firearm, the juvenile court must transfer the case to adult trial court.

Quarterman’s case was transferred, and he pled guilty. The court sentenced him to four years in prison.

He argues that the mandatory transfer of youth to adult trial courts in these cases deprives them of a fair and impartial trial. The laws bar juvenile court judges from deciding whether moving a case is appropriate, given each child’s background and youth, he contends. He also asserts that mandatory prosecution of children as adults is cruel and unusual punishment and that the statutes treat older juveniles differently from younger ones, a violation of equal protection rights.

The Supreme Court will hear Quarterman v. State and three more cases on Tuesday, July 8. The court’s schedule for Wednesday, July 9, includes four cases. Oral arguments begin at 9 a.m. each day at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center in Columbus. The sessions will be carried live online at and broadcast live on The Ohio Channel.

The Office of Public Information today released summaries of the eight cases and also provides the brief descriptions below.

Cases for Tuesday, July 8
Along with Quarterman v. State, these three cases are on the court’s agenda for Tuesday’s session:

  • The state and federal environmental protection agencies determined that a local manufacturer was releasing a chemical into the water supply in a northern Ohio town. In Village of Cardington v. Lee, the town argues that a supervisor at the town’s wastewater treatment plant was not fired because he reported to his boss and the village council that the toxic water was exiting the plant into a creek that supplies drinking water. The village contends that Ohio’s whistleblower statute does not make the employer legally responsible for the illegal actions of the manufacturer.
  • The Ohio Civil Rights Commission found in 221 Market North v. Hambuechen that an employee was illegally fired by her Canton employer after she announced she was pregnant. The restaurant requested review of the decision by a court, but the restaurant notified the commission and the employee of its petition through regular mail, rather than through the court clerk. State law requires the appealing party to formally serve notice of the appeal through the court clerk and within 30 days, the commission asserts.
  • The attorney discipline board in Disciplinary Counsel v. Gorby has recommended that a Salem attorney receive a stayed suspension for mishandling funds in her sister’s foreclosure case. The Disciplinary Counsel, which filed the complaint against the solo practitioner, maintains that the attorney should receive an actual suspension because she misled investigators about replacing the funds and has not taken responsibility for her actions.

Cases for Wednesday, July 9
The court will hear arguments in four cases during Wednesday’s session:

  • In Industrial Energy Users-Ohio v. Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, a statewide trade group appeals the decision of the public utilities commission to allow an electric company to recover $36 million for electric transmission costs in part from consumers who moved to a different electricity provider for their service. The association argues that the rate increase is a retroactive charge on those who have chosen a new company.
  • A statute that forbids peace officers from having sex with minors is at the center of State v. Mole. After chatting through a cell phone app, a 35-year-old policeman met and engaged in sexual activity with a 14-year-old, who had said he was 18. The Cuyahoga County prosecutors contend that the law is constitutional because the state has a legitimate interest in protecting children and maintaining public trust in the police.
  • The security company in Infinite Security Solutions v. Karam Properties settled claims with the property owner and its insurance company following an Independence Day fire at a Toledo apartment complex caused by fireworks. As part of the settlement , the insurance company and property owner were to try to resolve their competing claims. The trial court dismissed the lawsuit, but the two parties did not come to a resolution. The state’s highest court will consider whether the terms of a settlement must be included in the trial court’s dismissal entry for the court to enforce the agreement.
  • Docks Venture v. Dashing Pacific Group involves a contempt order against a company leasing two Toledo restaurants. The trial court directed the lessor to meet specific terms regarding utilities in the lease or be fined. The tenants claim the landlord appealed the order before the judgment was final and the penalty was executed, so the order could not properly be appealed. The court has been asked to address conflicts among Ohio’s appeals courts on this issue.