Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

In re C.C., a minor child, Case No. 2022-1020
Eighth District Court of Appeals (Cuyahoga County)

City of Toledo v. Antonio M. Randolph, Case No. 2022-1082
Sixth District Court of Appeals (Lucas County)

Disciplinary Counsel v. Hon. Kim Richard Hoover, Case No. 2023-0188
Summit County

Did Continuances During Pandemic Lead to Violation of Juvenile’s Speedy Trial Rights?

In re C.C., a minor child, Case No. 2022-1020
Eighth District Court of Appeals (Cuyahoga County)


  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, was a trial court’s continuance without a definite trial date a “reasonable” justification for excluding days counted toward a speedy trial violation?
  • Can a continuance issued because of a court’s inability to conduct jury trials extend the time to bring the accused to trial if the person has not yet been indicted for the crime?

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a juvenile identified in court records as “C.C.” was arrested for aggravated murder, murder, and other charges. C.C. was 13 years old when detained in September 2020. The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office filed a complaint with the juvenile court against C.C., seeking a serious youth offender (SYO) disposition for the aggravated murder and murder charges. The SYO designation allows for a blended sentence that could include an adult prison sentence if the offender doesn’t make satisfactory progress in the juvenile system.

Because of the potential for adult forms of punishment, a juvenile is granted more constitutional guarantees than in a typical juvenile delinquency case, including the right to a speedy trial and the right to a jury trial. C.C. appeared in juvenile court on Sept. 21, 2020, and denied all charges. That day he was placed in the juvenile detention center. C.C. didn’t waive his speedy trial rights.

R.C. 2945.71 governs speedy trials in Ohio. Under the law, a defendant must be brought to trial within 270 days. If the accused is incarcerated, each day in confinement counts as three days of speedy trial time.

In October 2020, attorneys for C.C. made a request for discovery from the prosecution and for the appointment of a guardian ad litem to identify the minor’s best interests and to relay that to the court. In December 2020, the parties discussed the case with the juvenile court by telephone and agreed to start the trial on Feb. 18, 2021. The juvenile court would later document that the discovery and guardian ad litem requests along with the agreement to start the trial in February 2021 added 97 days in detention that wouldn’t count against C.C.’s 90-day speedy trial deadline.

Pandemic Shuts Down Jury Trials
At a hearing prior to the February trial, a magistrate explained to C.C. his legal rights and the possible consequences of the hearing where he could be designated as an SYO. At the hearing, C.C. again denied the allegations and expressed a wish not to waive his right to a speedy trial or a jury trial.

But before his February trial date, the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court General Division continued to cancel most court proceedings because of the pandemic. The courts were instructed that jury trials couldn’t resume until April 26, 2021. The trial judge on March 15 then continued the matter indefinitely, and said a date would be set when juvenile jury trials were allowed to resume.

In June 2021, C.C.’s case was transferred to an assigned visiting judge. The new judge noticed that C.C. had been in juvenile detention for nine months without waiving his speedy trial rights, and he hadn’t been indicted for any crimes. The assigned judge scheduled a hearing for mid-June. The day before the hearing, the prosecutor’s office secured a four-count indictment against C.C. based on the four crimes originally alleged when he was arrested.

C.C. sought to avoid the consequences of the SYO designation and adult prison. He asked the judge to dismiss those charges because of a speedy trial violation. The judge concluded that 97 days were excluded by acts the parties agreed shouldn’t count toward his speedy trial timeline. When adding those days to the 90 days that C.C. could be detained without a trial, the judge ruled the prosecution had 187 days to try him.

At the time of the June hearing, the judge calculated that 272 days had elapsed, and that prosecutors could no longer seek the SYO designation. The case against C.C. could proceed, but the prosecutor could only seek juvenile delinquency offenses, the judge ruled.

The prosecutor appealed to the Eighth District Court of Appeals, which found the pandemic suspension contributed to the delay, and that the prosecutors had more time to try C.C. than the juvenile court determined. The appeals court reversed the trial court’s decision, allowing for C.C. to face the SYO disposition.

C.C. appealed to the Supreme Court of Ohio, which agreed to hear the case.

Indefinite Continuance Shouldn’t Stop Speedy Trial Clock, Minor Argues
At issue is the time between when the original judge issued an indefinite continuance of C.C.’s case in March 2021 and the new judge’s hearing on June 16, 2021, C.C. explains. The prosecutor argued the March indefinite continuance was appropriate because county courts were still unable to conduct jury trials and it wasn’t realistic to believe that every jury trial delayed by the pandemic could resume immediately upon the April 26 reopening date. The Eighth District agreed, and found that the 92 days between C.C.’s March and June hearings shouldn’t be counted against the speedy trial clock. The appeals court determined that the state still had 81 days after the June 16 hearing to try C.C.

C.C. argues the Eighth District is wrong for two reasons. The prosecution can’t cite the inability to conduct a jury trial after April 26 because it could have asked the juvenile court to set a trial date at that time, even if the case eventually had to be continued, he notes. That means for the speedy trial calculation, the state can’t stop the clock for the time between April 26 and June 16, he maintains. Even if the clock was stopped from March 15 to April 26, the speedy trial limit would have been exceeded by June 16, and he couldn’t face the SYO consequences, C.C. maintains.

Secondly, the prosecutor argues that the clock needed to be stopped because C.C. invoked his right to a jury trial and that wasn’t possible. But C.C. argues he only “expressed his right” to not waive a jury trial if and when he gained that right, he notes. Only a person who is indicted for a crime has a right to a jury trial, he explains.

It was only on June 15 — nine months after he was arrested — when the prosecutor finally secured an indictment. C.C. maintains he didn’t have a right to claim a jury trial until then. The juvenile court agreed, finding the pandemic delay couldn’t be used to extend his speedy trial time because he hadn’t been indicted. Because the speedy trial time had elapsed before the indictment, the juvenile judge was correct to find that the pandemic order wasn’t a reason to detain C.C. without indicting him, C.C. concludes.

Pandemic Trumped Accused’s Speedy Trial Rights, Prosecutor Asserts
Under R.C. 2945.72(H), a trial court can issue “reasonable continuance,” which tolls, or pauses, the speedy trial time and doesn’t violate the accused’s rights, the prosecutor maintains. Cuyahoga County was under red alert, the most severe threat for the spread of the coronavirus at the time the court issued an administrative order to suspend the trial, the office notes. The order extended to the juvenile courts and stated that it “determines that a continuance of trial which supersedes the right of defendant’s speedy trial rights is hereby considered permissible by all judges of the General Division under the Ohio Constitution and R.C. 2945.72(H).”

C.C. argues the continuance order wasn’t reasonable because it didn’t include an end date, a trial date, or another court date. The prosecutor notes that while this case isn’t about the pandemic, the trial court’s actions can’t be analyzed with considering the extremely unique circumstances the pandemic placed on the justice system.

The Eighth District noted that the pandemic not only impacted jury trials, but also created a major backlog of juvenile and adult cases, the prosecutor notes. Under the unprecedented circumstances, it was reasonable for the original judge to grant an indefinite continuance without violating C.C.’s speedy trial rights, the prosecutor argues. If C.C.’s argument is accepted, then it would unduly limit the authority of courts to respond to national emergencies, natural disasters, and other unprecedented events, the prosecutor maintains.

The prosecutor also rejects the argument that C.C. only began seeking to enforce his right to a jury trial after he had been detained for nine months. The office states that under R.C. 2152.13(C)(1) C.C’s speedy trial rights were obtained at the time of indictment, but apply retroactively to the day he was arrested in September 2020. If the law states that a juvenile’s rights apply retroactively, the trial court’s exceptions to the speedy trial rights also apply retroactively, the office argues. That means the trial court has a valid reason for extending C.C.’s time in detention because no jury trials could be conducted at that time, the office notes. Because C.C. raised his right to a jury at a time the court couldn’t conduct jury trials, those days were properly excluded, and the time to try C.C. didn’t expire in June 2021, the prosecutor concludes.

Dan Trevas

Docket entries, memoranda, briefs (including amicus briefs), and other information about this case may be accessed through the case docket.

Representing the State of Ohio from the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office: Sarah Hutnik,

Representing C.C. from the Cuyahoga County Public Defender’s Office: John Martin,

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Can Tenant Invite Guest Who Is Banned From Property by Landlord?

City of Toledo v. Antonio M. Randolph, Case No. 2022-1082
Sixth District Court of Appeals (Lucas County)


  • If a rental property landlord prohibits a person from entering the property, is a tenant prohibited from inviting that person to the tenant’s residence?
  • Do rental property owner’s interests in the property supersede a tenant’s right to invite visitors who have been banned?

In December 2020, the property manager at a Toledo apartment complex received a noise complaint about a party. The property manager went to the unit and found Antonio Randolph and several other people. Randolph didn’t live there but had permission from his uncle, who rented the apartment, to be there.

For months before the December noise complaint, the property manager told Randolph many times that he wasn’t allowed on the apartment complex property. The property manager said Randolph was banned in June 2020 after breaking into vacant apartments. His name was on a list of people prohibited from the property posted at the management office.

Banned Visitor Charged With Criminal Trespass
Police arrested Randolph, and he was charged with criminal trespass. The offense prohibits a person, “without privilege to do so,” from knowingly entering or remaining on the premises of another. Randolph testified that he was never told he couldn’t be at the complex and he wasn’t aware he was on a banned list. The Toledo Municipal Court found him guilty and sentenced him to 30 days in jail, which was suspended, and court costs.

Randolph appealed to the Sixth District Court of Appeals, which overturned his conviction. The Sixth District stated that the prosecutor had to prove Randolph wasn’t given permission to be in his uncle’s apartment.

The Sixth District decision conflicts with 2004 and 2012 rulings from the Second District Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court of Ohio will consider the conflict between the courts.

City Focuses on Property Owner Obligation to Ensure Quiet
The city of Toledo argues that courts must consider a landlord’s duty to provide quiet enjoyment for other tenants. Randolph was warned not to be at the property, and he was arrested after a noise complaint was made, the city notes. It maintains that the list of banned people reflected the landlord’s steps to protect other tenants’ right to quiet enjoyment.

The city contends that the Second District agreed with this analysis in a similar case, State v. Smith (2012). In that case, police told the defendant he wasn’t permitted back on the property after a fight with his girlfriend’s son. The defendant returned to his girlfriend’s home, she called police, and he was convicted of criminal trespass. On appeal, the Second District ruled that the property owner’s obligation to ensure quiet enjoyment for the tenants eclipses the right of one tenant to invite the prohibited person back to the premises.

The Sixth District in this case, though, determined that Smith didn’t apply. The girlfriend in Smith was the tenant and revoked the defendant’s privilege to be there by calling the police. But the Sixth District found that Randolph’s uncle was the tenant and permitted Randolph to be at the apartment. The city disagrees with that distinction, maintaining that the Smith decision wasn’t based on the girlfriend’s action in calling the police. It instead relied on the landlord’s duty to provide quiet enjoyment, which supersedes the permission given by Randolph’s uncle, the city argues. Applying that rationale reinforces Randolph’s conviction, the city concludes.

Banned Visitor Believes Situation Didn’t Justify His Arrest
Randolph maintains that the Second District in Smith determined that the damage caused by the boyfriend and the circumstances of the fight created a risk of danger and annoyance to the other tenants. In Randolph’s view, those facts in Smith elevated the landlord’s obligations over the tenant’s right to invite someone into her apartment. But there was no damage or danger in his case, he contends.

He argues he was one of 11 people at the party and no evidence was presented that he was causing the noise. There were no allegations of fights and no damage to the apartment, he adds. And he was given permission by his uncle to be in the apartment, he reiterates.

His privilege to be on the property was contested in court, but the prosecutor didn’t meet the burden to show that he wasn’t entitled to visit the apartment complex, Randolph asserts. He argues that a landlord can only bar guests from an apartment through the lease agreement, and the apartment complex presented no such agreement.

Kathleen Maloney

Docket entries, memoranda, briefs (including amicus briefs), and other information about this case may be accessed through the case docket.

Representing the City of Toledo: Jimmie Jones,

Representing Antonio Randolph: Laurel Kendall,

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Judge Challenges Claim That He Ran Modern Day Debtor’s Prison

Disciplinary Counsel v. Hon. Kim Richard Hoover, Case No. 2023-0188
Summit County

A Stow Municipal Court judge is facing a two-year suspension for coercing people to pay court costs and fines in what disciplinary officials described as “the equivalent of a modern-day debtor’s prison.”

Judge Kim Hoover denies that he used unlawful means to collect fines and costs, but rather found ways to “get the attention of a small group of defendants who failed to appear in court, refused to fulfil their sentences, or otherwise thumbed their noses at the court.”

Based on a complaint filed by the Office of the Disciplinary Counsel, the Board of Professional Conduct found Judge Hoover committed 64 ethics violations while handling 16 cases. The board recommends the Supreme Court of Ohio suspend Judge Hoover from the practice of law for two years, and immediately remove him from office without pay.

Judge Hoover concedes that he mistakenly didn’t follow the law for collecting past fines or costs owed by two defendants and at most he should receive a one-year suspension with six months stayed, and no removal from office. Judge Hoover’s objections to the board’s report triggered an oral argument before the Supreme Court.

Judge Doesn’t Apply Debt Collection Law, Board Asserts
The board reports that R.C. 2947.14 provides the “sole and exclusive method” for imposing a jail sentence for the refusal to pay a fine. It notes the Supreme Court has established that the purpose of fines and costs aren’t to generate revenue. Fines are criminal sanctions, and a defendant who doesn’t pay but has the ability to pay can be jailed and credited $50 toward payment of the fine for each day in jail. Court costs are civil obligations, and a defendant doesn’t face the threat of jail for nonpayment, the board explains. To jail a defendant for nonpayment of a fine, R.C. 2947.14 requires the accused be given due process, which includes reasonable notice, advisement of the right to an attorney, and an opportunity to be heard. Judges are directed to determine a defendant’s ability to pay.

The disciplinary counsel argued that for 16 individuals who appeared before Judge Hoover, the judge ignored the R.C. 2947.14 procedures and used threats and coercion to collect payments. The board notes that during Judge Hoover’s disciplinary hearing he admitted he was aware of the statute but deemed it “impractical” and not “an effective tool.”

The board found that by sidestepping the law, Judge Hoover broke four ethics rules each time he put the 16 defendants through his collection process. The judge is accused of not acting in a manner that promotes public confidence in the judiciary; failing to apply the law; performing his duties in a manner that indicates bias or prejudice; and engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.

Judge Hoover counters that in two cases he failed to follow the law and admits to two ethical violations. He argues that in the other 14 cases, R.C. 2947.14 didn’t apply and he rightfully took action to make individuals pay fines and costs they owed to the court.

Case Illustrates Pattern of Misbehavior, Board Asserts
The board contends that Judge Hoover’s treatment of Douglas Dawson is one of many counts that demonstrates his bias toward vulnerable persons, including those of low socioeconomic status, with mentally illness, and those with drug or alcohol dependence disorder.

In 2019, Dawson pleaded guilty to driving under suspension, which is not a jailable offense. Judge Hoover sentenced Dawson to a $100 fine and court costs that totaled $537. Dawson entered a payment plan and made a $100 payment. Dawson failed to appear for a follow-up hearing and didn’t pay the balance. A warrant was issued for his arrest.

Dawson was arrested later in 2019 and appeared before Judge Hoover. The judge told Dawson, “Takes $507 to get you out, or you’re gonna stay about 10 days.”

Dawson stated he didn’t have the money and that he already had spent one night in jail after being arrested. He said that being jailed was going to mess up his employment. The judge told Dawson he would stay in jail, be credited for $50 a day, and could be released if he paid the fines and costs.

Dawson spent seven days in jail. Because only the nonpayment of fines, not court costs, could result in jail time under state law, the most Dawson should have spent in jail was two days, the board notes. The judge didn’t follow the law because he didn’t notify Dawson that at his court appearance there would be a discussion of placing him in jail for nonpayment, the board notes. Dawson wasn’t told he could have an attorney, and the court didn’t conduct a required assessment of whether Dawson had the ability to pay, all which violated the law, the board concludes.

Judge Defends Actions as ‘Forced Accountability’
In his objections, Judge Hoover states that judges make mistakes, and unfortunately, sometimes a defendant improperly spends time in jail. But cases are appealed all the time, and decisions by judges are reversed, he notes. This doesn’t mean a judge violated ethics rules, he argues. In Dawson’s case, Judge Hoover acknowledged he didn’t have legal authority to jail him, and that was a rule violation for failing to apply the law.

However, Judge Hoover denies his actions were based on any bias against the underprivileged. He notes the disciplinary counsel took 16 cases out of the “hundreds of thousands” he has presided over during his 27 years on the bench to makes its claim of bias. He argues the few cases “don’t show bias, they show forced accountability in one manner or another.”

Judge Hoover notes his practices show he issues low fines and standard costs, and when defendant can’t pay, he offers community service. He gives the offender time to pay, and when they don’t pay the first time, he gives them more time, he states. He argues that allowing defendants to be released early if they paid is not coercion and holding defendants accountable for their prior conduct isn’t coercion.

Disciplinary Counsel Supports Suspension
The disciplinary counsel contends a statement made by Judge Hoover to a defendant captures his judicial philosophy. “If you don’t have any money, then it ain’t going to work out for you today,” the judge said.

The disciplinary counsel accused Judge Hoover of a blind obsession to operate a self-funded municipal court, disregarding all safeguards afforded to defendants. His actions result in a “modern-day debtors’ prison where unsuspecting and unrepresented individuals lost their liberty due to their socioeconomic status.”

The disciplinary counsel argues the board found the evidence supported the judge didn’t follow the law in all 16 cases when he detained people or threatened to detain them until they paid their fines and court costs. The office maintains the two-year suspension “will assist in restoring the public’s confidence in our judicial system.”

Dan Trevas

Docket entries, memoranda, briefs (including amicus briefs), and other information about this case may be accessed through the case docket.

Representing Judge Kim Hoover: George Jonson,

Representing the Office of Disciplinary Counsel: Joseph Caligiuri,

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