Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Court Releases Eight Opinions Consistent With Earlier Juvenile Sex-Offender Decision

The Ohio Supreme Court today released eight short opinions for cases whose facts were consistent with a juvenile sex-offender registration and notification case decided earlier this year.

On March 16, the Supreme Court decided In re D.S. In that case, the Court voted 4-3 to affirm the imposition of a juvenile sex-offender classification and its corresponding requirement that the juvenile register as a sex offender beyond reaching the age of 21.

Prior to the In re D.S ruling, attorneys in eight cases requested that the Court hold their decisions because the appeals were premised on at least one key argument made by the juvenile identified as D.S. The juveniles in the eight cases claimed a juvenile court’s sentence that requires them to register as sex offenders when they become adults violates the due process clauses of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment and Article I, Section 16 of the Ohio Constitution.

They argued that under Ohio law the only times a juvenile can be treated the same as an adult is when the youth are given the same due process protections as adults, which happens when a youth is given a “serious youthful offender” blended sentence or when the juveniles are transferred to adult court. These cases proceeded only in juvenile court, and the minors were all classified as juvenile sex offenders.

The majority in In re D.S. found the requirement of the additional years of registration did not violate the juvenile’s due process rights. The dissenting justices maintained the law did violate the juveniles’ due process rights.

Consistent with In re D.S.¸ Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justices Terrence O’Donnell, Sharon L. Kennedy, and Judith L. French joined the majority opinions in the cases released today.

Justices Paul E. Pfeifer, Judith Ann Lanzinger, and William M. O’Neill dissented.

The cases decided today are:

Please note: Opinion summaries are prepared by the Office of Public Information for the general public and news media. Opinion summaries are not prepared for every opinion, but only for noteworthy cases. Opinion summaries are not to be considered as official headnotes or syllabi of court opinions. The full text of this and other court opinions are available online.

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