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The Ohio Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments on April 19th and 20th, 2016. The session is being held at Meigs County High School as part of the Court’s program to hold arguments off-site twice per year. The Off-Site Court Program enables students and community members to watch the Court in action, and helps to educate the public about the justice system.

The Court is hearing arguments in six cases, two of which raise constitutional due process issues. First, State v. Jackson, Case no. 2012-1644, is an appeal from a death sentence. The issues raised include whether the defendant’s rights under Ohio Constitution, Article I, Sections 2, 9, 10, and 16 were violated when the trial court refused to appoint counsel for the defendant’s resentencing hearing, and when the trial judge enlisted the prosecutor’s assistance in drafting the sentencing opinion.

Second, in State v. Aalim, Case no. 2015-0677, the issues raised include whether the mandatory transfer of juvenile offenders to adult court pursuant to R.C. 2152.10 (A)(2)(b) and 2152.12(A)(1)(b) violates due process rights and equal protection under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and Ohio Constitution, Article I, Sections 2 and 16.

Oral Argument Previews for all six cases can be found here, and recordings of the session can be found on the Ohio Channel.

The Ohio Supreme Court adopted amendments to the Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio on February 23rd that will increase attorney fees. Attorneys from out of state who wish to appear in Ohio courts must pay pro hac vice registration fees. These fees will increase from $150, to $300.  The newly adopted amendments also include a voluntary $50 add-on fee to the existing $350 biennial active attorney registration fee. The fee increases were recommended by the Supreme Court’s Task Force on Access to Justice, and will become effective July 1, 2016. The money collected from the increased fees will be used to help fund legal aid services for low-income Ohioans.

Text of the amendments: Rule VI and XII amendments

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that Frederick Kinsey, one of the parties in State ex rel. Walgate v. Kasich, has standing to challenge the constitutionality of a 2009 voter-approved amendment to the Ohio Constitution that permits limited casino and “racino” gambling operations. In order to have standing, the Court requires a plaintiff to show that he suffered an injury caused by the defendant’s actions, remedied by the requested relief. (See, ProgressOhio.org, Inc. v. JobsOhio). Kinsey claims that the state’s constitutional amendment and gambling laws violate the Equal Protection Clause by essentially allowing a monopoly on the operation of casinos. Thus, the injury on which Kinsey’s standing claim is based, is that the amendment and gambling laws create barriers that prevent him from even applying for a casino operator license. The lead opinion by Justice French, issued March 24, 2016, rejected all other claims by the other parties in the collectively-filed suit. In a concurring opinion, Justice Pfeifer wrote that he would have granted more parties standing, whereas Justice Lanzinger’s dissent argues for rejecting all claims including Kinsey’s.

The slip opinion is located here: 2016-Ohio-1176

A detailed summary from Court News Ohio is located here: Citizen has Standing to Challenge Constitutionality of Ohio Casino Gambling

supreme-court-statueThe Ohio Supreme Court ruled in State v. Broom that it is not “cruel and unusual punishment” or double jeopardy to make a second attempt at executing the same person after the first attempt failed. The 4-3 decision was issued last Wednesday, with the majority opinion finding that since the medical team had failed to locate a suitable vein for administering the lethal injection drug, the execution never actually began. To learn more about the case, Court News Ohio has prepared a summary, and the slip opinion can be found here on the Supreme Court’s website.

Proposed Amendment

ohiostatehouse Senator Sandra Williams has recently introduced a Senate Joint Resolution proposing an amendment to the Ohio Constitution. Senate Joint Resolution 6 would “amend Section 10 of Article I of the Constitution of the State of Ohio to allow the prosecutor in a felony case to elect to prosecute upon a finding of probable cause by a court following a hearing rather than upon indictment by a grand jury.” For the full text of the resolution, click here.

If you are interested in learning more about this resolution, or in conducting other legislative history research, check out C|M|LAW Library’s Legislative History Research Guide.

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled yesterday in Lycan v. Cleveland that, under Article IV of the Ohio Constitution, an appellate court or the Supreme Court does not have jurisdiction if there was no final order issued by a trial court. The case was remanded to the trial court for further proceedings. Read more at cleveland.com.

The Ohio Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in Clyde A. Hupp, et al. v. Beck Energy Corporation and XTO Energy, Inc. and  State of Ohio ex rel. Claugus Family Farm, L.P. v. Seventh District Court of Appeals, et al. Among other issues, attorneys for the Claugus Family Farm argued in a reply brief that their client’s due process rights under the U.S. and Ohio constitutions were violated. Read more at NGI’s Shale Daily.

Election Roundup

Ohio voters voted on proposed amendments to the state constitution this week regarding marijuana legalization, redistricting reform, and monopolies/ cartels created by amending the state constitution. Detailed statewide voting results are available at cleveland.com; a summary of the key election results is available at cincinnati.com. Read more about the constitutional issues at Bloomberg View.

On October 23, 2015, the Ohio Attorney General’s office certified the petition for the Ohio Fair Wage Amendment. Read more at cleveland.com.

Stand Up Ohio has submitted an initiative petition for the Ohio Fair Wage Amendment to the AG’s office. The AG’s office is expected to act on the petition by October 23, 2015. The amendment would gradually increase Ohio’s minimum wage to $12.00 by 2021. Read more about the petition in the Youngstown Vindicator.

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