Reproductive Freedom on the Docket

State of Ohio v. Asim J. Taylor

Status:
Closed
Case Dates:
Tuesday, 30 April, 2013 - Wednesday, 8 October, 2014
Facts:

Asim Taylor pleaded guilty and, subsequently was found guilty of criminal non-support for failing to make child support payments to the mother of his four minor children.  On January 23, 2013, trial court Judge James T. Walther of the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas imposed a five-year community control sanction and, as a condition, ordered Taylor to make all reasonable efforts to avoid impregnating any women during the community control period.  The Court’s Order specifically provided that Mr. Taylor make all reasonable efforts to avoid impregnating any women during community control or “[u]ntil such time that (he) can prove to the Court that he is able to provide support for his children he already has and is, in fact, supporting the children or until a change in conditions warrant the lifting of this condition.”

When the Court issued its order, Asim Taylor was unemployed and his total accrued support obligation was approximately $97,000.  He contended that he is providing support for his minor children although not through the support enforcement agency.  Allegedly, he was involved in a job placement program but, following the publicizing of this incident, he was terminated from the program.  During the sentencing the Judge stated on the record that male contraception has an 18% failure rate and, consequently, he “should abstain from sex for five years.”

Legal Theory:

The ACLU of Ohio previously submitted an amicus curiae brief in a similar criminal non-support case captioned State of Ohio v. Talty, 103 Ohio St.3d 177.  In the Talty case, the trial court ordered the defendant to “make all reasonable efforts to avoid conceiving another child.”  In reversing the trial court, the Ohio Supreme Court avoided a constitutional analysis but ruled that the trial court’s antiprocreation provision, as a condition of community control for criminal nonsupport, was overbroad under Ohio law.

In our amicus brief filed with the Ninth District Court of Appeals on April 30, 2013, on behalf of Asim Taylor in the current case, we argued that the anti-procreation order interferes with the fundamental right to procreate and is an unwarranted governmental intrusion that violates the right to privacy guaranteed under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. We also argued that the trial court abused its discretion in its order since it was overbroad under Ohio law.

Status:

Taylor’s counsel filed a notice of appeal on February 22, 2013.  Interestingly, the Lorain County Prosecutor declined to consent to our involvement as amicus. Nevertheless, we obtained court approval and filed our amicus brief in the Ninth District Court of Appeals on April 30, 2013.  On June 5, 2013, the State of Ohio filed its merit brief. We requested and were granted leave to participate in oral argument. We argued as amicus on behalf of Taylor on October 17, 2013 before a panel of judges in the Ninth District Court of Appeals.

On May 12, 2014, the Ninth District Court of Appeals in Lorain County issued an opinion written by Judge Moore affirming the judgment of the trial court. The court affirmed the judgment without addressing the arguments on the merits because Taylor did not provide the court with the record considered by the trial court.  On June 25, 2014 Taylor’s attorney appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court.  The Court declined to accept the case on October 8, 2014.

 

DOCUMENTS:

ACLU of Ohio’s Amicus Brief filed in Ohio Court of Appeals – 4/31/2014

Memorandum in Support of Jurisdiction of Appellant Asim J. Taylor filed in Ohio Supreme Court – 6/25/2014

Memorandum of Appellee in Opposition to Jurisdiction filed in Ohio Supreme Court – 7/29/2014

Ohio Supreme Court Decision Declining Jurisdiction – 10/8/2014