Franklin County Criminal Law Casebook

Reproduced with permission from:
Timothy E. Pierce and the Franklin County Public Defender Office
Brown v. Plata (2011), 131 S.Ct. 1910 – Ordered California reduce its prison population to 137.5 % of designed capacity within two years stands.
Wilkinson v. Austin (2005) 125 S.Ct. 2384 -- Prisoners have a constitutionally protected liberty interest such as to require due process for placement in a supermax prison which imposes hardship in excess of that normally associated with prison life. Evaluation of those procedures looks to the normal curtailment of liberty in prisons, review procedures, and calls for a degree of deference to management decisions. A full adversary hearing is not required.
Cutter v. Wilkinson (2005), 125 S.Ct. 2113 -- The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 does not improperly advance religion in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. There is no reason to believe it would be applied by the courts in an inappropriate manner and without sensitivity to legitimate security concerns.
Beard v. Banks (2006), 126 S.Ct. 2572 -- Court upholds a Pennsylvania policy denying newspapers, magazines and personal photos to the most disruptive prisoners, citing the need for deference to decisions made by prison management.
Overton v. Bazzetta (2003), 123 S.Ct. 2162 -- Supreme Court upholds Michigan restrictions on visitation by certain children and former inmates, and for inmates with multiple substance abuse violations.
McKune v. Lile (2002), 122 S.Ct. 2017 -- Inmate brought 1983 action contending his Fifth Amendment rights were abridged by worsening the terms of confinement upon refusal to admit prior offenses as a part of a prison rehabilitation program. No violation found, even though admissions might lead to further prosecution for uncharged incidents. Admission of responsibility serves a valid penological objective. Loss of privileges deemed not to be compulsion encumbering the constitutional right. 4-1-4 decision. Four dissenters and concurring justice believe compulsion for Fifth Amendment purposes is broader than the "atypical and significant hardship" standard adopted in evaluating due process claims concerning prison conditions.
Johnson v. California (2005), 125 S.Ct. 1141 -- Strict scrutiny is to be applied in weighing the constitutionality of a prison cell assignment policy based on race.
Baker v. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (2001), 144 Ohio App. 3d 740 -- (1) Inmate's 1983 action survives Civ.R. 12(B)(6) motion on claim denial of proper medical care by prison affiliated physician amounted to cruel and unusual punishment. (2) Bias claim against trial judge is not a matter that can be raised on appeal. Remedy is disqualification by the Chief Justice.
Martin v. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (2001), 140 Ohio App. 3d 831 -- Suit in state court claiming mistreatment of prisoner construed as a 1983 action and held properly dismissed pursuant to Title 42 U.S.C., Sec. 1997e(a), which requires exhaustion of administrative remedies with respect to suits concerning detention facility conditions.
Blackwell v. Patten, 117 Ohio Misc. 2d 61, 2001-Ohio-4336 -- Immunity saves county and its employees from suit brought by a prisoner served a grasshopper.
Hope v. Pelzer (2002), 122 S.Ct. 2508 -- Alabama prison's use of a hitching post to discipline inmates found to violate the Eighth Amendment. Nonetheless, guards would be entitled to immunity unless they were on notice their conduct violated established law. Here, a reasonable officer should have known the practice was wrong, it part because the Justice Department has so advised prison officials.
State ex rel Bray v. Russell (2000), 89 Ohio St. 3d 132 -- "Bad time" violates the doctrine of separation of powers. At p. 136: "Prison discipline is an exercise of executive power and nothing in this opinion should be interpreted to suggest otherwise. However, trying, convicting, and sentencing inmates for crimes committed while in prison is not an exercise of executive power. Accordingly, we hold that R.C. 2967.11 violates the doctrine of separation of powers and is therefore unconstitutional." Compare Woods v. Telb (2000), 89 Ohio St. 3d 504 holding post-release control does not violate separation of powers.
State v. Thompson (1999), 132 Ohio App. 3d 755 -- Inmate threw a cup of excrement at a nurse and received fifteen days in disciplinary control. Prison disciplinary proceedings held not to create a double jeopardy bar to subsequent prosecution for harassment by an inmate pursuant to R.C. 2921.38.
State v. Nutt (September 16, 1999), Pickaway Co. App. No. 98CA36, unreported -- Double jeopardy violation found in prosecution of an inmate for an offense based on conduct already punished as bad time added to his existing sentence.
Swarthout v. Cooke (2011), 131 S.Ct. 859 – Two prisoners contended that the some evidence standard applied to review of some parole decisions did not satisfy due process. There is no right to conditional release under federal law. Assuming there was a liberty interest at stake under California law, the Due Process Clause does require fair procedures for its vindication. But the Due Process Clause does not require a legally correct decision by California courts weighing the claims of state inmates.
State ex rel. Wickensimer v. Bartleson, 123 Ohio St. 3d 154, 2009-Ohio-4695 – If an inmate has not initiated a civil action or appeal against a government entity or employee during the previous five years R.C. 2969.25(A) does not require the filing of an affidavit to that effect. It may be advisable to do so anyway to forestall dismissal.
Boylen v. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, 12 Ohio App. 3d 265, 2009-Ohio-1953 – Inmate brought an action seeking declaratory judgment, injunctive relief and damages relating to collection of court costs from his inmate account. Trial court improperly dismissed action. Opinion discusses the administrative review process and the procedural hurdles the inmate is found to have passed with regard to the ensuing lawsuit.
Thompson v. Gansheimer, 116 Ohio St. 3d 349, 2007-Ohio-6666 – The five days allowed for transporting convicts to prison is merely advisory. The failure to do so is not cognizable in habeas corpus.
State ex rel. Turner v. Eberlin, 117 Ohio St. 3d 381, 2008-Ohio-1117 – Cash gifts to prisoners are "income" subject to attachment to pay court costs.
State v. Roberts, 180 Ohio App. 3d 216, 2008-Ohio-6827 – Visiting judge sentenced the defendant to five years for trafficking in heroin. Entry was silent about placement in a boot camp program. ODRC sent the required veto letter to the judge who had taken the seat of the visiting judge upon retirement, not to the judge originally assigned the case. By the time the defendant lost his first appeal he had completed boot camp and had been released. Nonetheless, the originally assigned judge sent him back to prison to serve the balance of the five year term. This is OK with the majority, though the fault lay with ODRC and not the defendant. Dissent faults the originally assigned judge for treating placement in boot camp a personal insult in need of redress. Roberts had previously been unsuccessful seeking relief through a prohibition action. State ex rel. Roberts v. Winkler, 176 Ohio App. 3d 685, 2008-Ohio-2843. Reversed: State v. Roberts, 123 Ohio St. 3d 465, 2009-Ohio-5800. In a two-page opinion the Supreme Court finds "the state has failed to prove that he sentencing court never received notice of the intended placement of appellant in an intensive prison program."
State v. Howard, 190 Ohio App. 3d 734, 2010-Ohio-5283 – Upon revocation of community control defendant was sent to prison. Though the matters were not addressed at the hearing, in the entry the judge disapproved shock incarceration or intensive program imprisonment which might lead to early release. Reversed. While the court did not have to address the issue, if it did findings had to be provided. Court also erred in disapproving transitional control. That decision is to be made when the department of corrections recommends a furlough.
McClain v. State, 186 Ohio App. 3d 654, 2010-Ohio-1021 – Plaintiff was convicted, then awarded a new trial and acquitted in Hamilton County. Wrongful imprisonment suit was filed against the state of Ohio in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court which dismissed based on the pleadings, finding the Hamilton County Prosecutor was the “proper party defendant to represent the state of Ohio” and that Hamilton County was the proper venue. Reversed. Opinion sets forth the basics of wrongful imprisonment suits, then concludes that the state (represented by the A.G.) is the real party in interest as it would have to pay any judgment, and that venue is proper in Franklin County, which is the seat of state government.
Disciplinary Counsel v. Cotton, 115 Ohio St. 3d 115, 2007-Ohio-4481 -- Four justices vote not to discipline a jailhouse lawyer. Applying Johnson v. Avery (1969), 393 U.S. 483, London Correctional is found not to provide a reasonable alternative to jailhouse lawyers. Suggested that Cotton's practice of signing pleadings with his own name, instead of having them signed as pro se documents by the fellow inmate, might be a basis for rejection by clerks of courts.
Wilkinson v. Dotson (1005), 125 S.Ct. 1242 -- Inmates may pursue a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action for declaratory and injunctive relief claiming Ohio's parole eligibility procedures violate the federal constitution. Inmates are not limited to habeas relief. Section 1983 remains available where success would not necessarily lead to immediate release. Claims for future relief do not necessarily imply current confinement is invalid.
Layne v. Ohio Adult Parole Authority, 97 Ohio St. 3d 456, 2002-Ohio-6719 -- Syllabus: "In any parole determination involving indeterminate sentencing, the Adult Parole Authority must assign an inmate the offense category score that corresponds to the offense or offenses of conviction."
State v. Stephens, Hamilton App. No. C-020683, 2003-Ohio-6193 -- The remedy for a Layne violation is a declaratory judgment action against the Adult Parole Authority and the county prosecutor, not a motion to withdraw the guilty plea. Also see State v. Davis, 158 Ohio App. 3d 478, 2004-Ohio-5354.
State v. Plassman, Fulton App. No. F-03-017, 2004-Ohio-279 -- Civil Rule 60(B) relief from judgment is available in criminal cases, but only when the defendant may not pursue other avenues of relief such as breach of contract, declaratory judgment, habeas corpus and postconviction. Defendant wishing to challenge application of revised parole guidelines is found not entitled to relief.
Ankrom v. Hageman, 118 Ohio Misc. 2d 226, 2001-Ohio-4369 -- Prisoners brought declaratory judgment class action suit against the Ohio Adult Parole Authority claiming contract rights arising from plea bargaining were violated when the APA based parole decision on original, not reduced, charges. APA's motion for judgement on the pleadings overruled. Affirmed: Ankrom v. Hageman, Franklin App. Nos. 04AP-984 et. seq., 2005-Ohio-1546
Shaw v. Murphy (2001), 121 S.Ct. 1475 -- Inmate was disciplined for sending a letter to another inmate charged with assaulting a correctional officer. According to Turner v. Safley (1987), 482 U.S. 78, 89 a prison regulation which impinges on the constitutional rights of inmates is valid if it is reasonably related to penological interests. Court holds Turner is controlling in the 1983 action brought by the sanctioned inmate. Inmates do not have a special First Amendment right to provide legal assistance to other inmates.
Tomko v. McFaul (1999), 133 Ohio App. 3d 742 -- R.C. 341.12 permits the sheriff of a county lacking sufficient jail space or staff to place prisoners in a jail in any county he considers convenient and secure. This includes city jails, including those in the home county.
State v. Neff (1999), 135 Ohio App. 3d 1 -- (1) A prisoner is a resident of the county where he is being held. (2) If a prisoner is not permitted to attend a hearing on a civil matter, court should explore alternatives to actual appearance before dismissing action.
Larkins v. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (2000), 138 Ohio App. 3d 733 -- Prisoners fail in declaratory judgment action seeking to have random drug screens held illegal.
Conely v. Correctional Reception Center (2001), 141 Ohio App. 3d 412 -- Inmate may pursue a mandamus action to obtain photos and work schedules of corrections officers who were on duty when and where he claims to have been attacked. The "good sense" rule of State ex rel. Keller v. Cox (1999), 85 Ohio St. 3d 279 does not extend to these circumstances.
State ex rel. Pless v. McMonagle (2000), 139 Ohio App 3d 503 -- Trial judge revived judgment for court costs, which then were collected from inmate's prison account. Prisoner's prohibition action properly dismissed pursuant to Civ. R. 12(B)(6). The judge had authority to revive the dormant judgment. Opinion details authority for collection of funds from inmate's account.
State v. Haynie, 157 Ohio App. 3d 708. 2004-Ohio-2452 -- No equal protection violation found in garnishment for court costs against a prisoner's inmate account.
State ex rel. Amburgey (2000), 139 Ohio App. 3d 857 -- Ohio parolee's new sentence in Kansas was made consecutive with Ohio sentence, but the Department of Corrections refused to credit him with time served in Kansas when he was adjudicated a parole violator. The Full Faith and Credit Clause of Article IV of the U.S. Constitution does not require Ohio to honor the Kansas sentence.
State ex rel. Bray v. Brigano, 93 Ohio St. 3d 458, 2001-Ohio-1587 -- (1) APA's failure to follow its own guidelines does not entitle an inmate to release from prison. (2) An inmate has no due process right to have errors excised from records used to determine parole eligibility. (3) Morrissey v. Brewer standards do not apply to determination of parole eligibility. (4) Failure to include required attachments meant petition was defective.
State v. Sanders, 92 Ohio St. 3d 245, 2001-Ohio-189 -- Syllabus: "The authorities in charge of a prison have no duty to 'negotiate in good faith' with inmates who have seized the prison and taken hostages, and the failure of those authorities to negotiate is not an available defense to inmates charged with the murder of a hostage." But conditions at the institution and the resulting mental and emotional stress inflicted on inmates is relevant at the penalty phase of a capital trial. See pp. 266-267.
In re Application for Forfeiture of Unauthorized Items Confiscated from Inmates Pursuant to AR 5120-9-55, 157 Ohio App. 3d 411, 2004-Ohio-2905 -- The Administrative Code permits inmates only 2.4 cubic feet of personal materials. Warden obtained forfeiture order from Common Pleas Court when transferee's property exceeded this limit. Inmate was not entitled to a hearing. If some of the property was legal material, inmate did not have an unqualified right to keep all of it in his cell - storage could have been arranged elsewhere.
State v. Rossiter, Wayne App. No. 03CA0078, 2004-Ohio-4727 -- Inmate's request for DNA testing to possibly establish innocence was improperly denied on the basis he had pleaded guilty.
State ex rel Russell v. Thornton, 111 Ohio St. 3d 409, 2006-Ohio-5858 -- Inmate filed mandamus seeking police records. Action properly dismissed pursuant to Civ.R. 12(B)(6) for failure to state a cause of action as he had not obtained a judicial finding pursuant to R.C. 149.43(B)(4) that they were necessary to support what appears to be a justiciable claim. See dissent for distinction between records concerning a criminal investigation or prosecution and offense and incident reports.

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Published by Timothy E. Pierce
Copyright © Franklin County Public Defender and Timothy E. Pierce, 2015
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