Justice Brunner: From the Tenth District Court of Appeals:
Magda v. Ohio Elections Comm., 2016-Ohio-5043, 58 N.E.3d 1188 (10th Dist.)
PASSAGE FROM THE DECISION: “Since R.C. 3517.21(B)(1) is an excessive restriction on the freedom of speech guaranteed under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution, enforcement of the statute should be permanently enjoined. "Injunctive relief is warranted when a statute is unconstitutional, enforcement will infringe upon constitutional rights and cause irreparable harm, and there is no adequate remedy at law." United Auto Workers Local Union 1112 v. Philomena, 121 Ohio App.3d 760, 781, 700 N.E.2d 936 (10th Dist.1998), citing Olds v. Klotz, 131 Ohio St. 447, 3 N.E.2d 371 (1936), paragraph two of the syllabus. A finding that a constitutional right has been threatened or impaired mandates a finding of irreparable injury as well. Bonnell v. Lorenzo, 241 F.3d 800, 809 (6th Cir.2001), citing Elrod v. Burns, 427 U.S. 347, 373, 96 S. Ct. 2673, 49 L. Ed. 2d 547 (1976). Having sustained appellants' first and second assignments of error, we hold that the granting of an injunction against the enforcement of the statute is warranted.”
COMMENTARY ON THE DECISION: I practiced before the Ohio Elections Commission from 1988 through 2000 and again from 2011 through 2014. Over the years, its powers were diminished for constitutional reasons, especially considering that its findings and decisions could result in referral for criminal prosecution for political speech. It is a 7-member appointed body, and there is no requirement that its members be attorneys. Its members were half Democratic, half Republican and one independent of any party. Its decisions were often unpredictable, there was no funding for an investigator, and its processes were often used by political campaigns as political tactics. By this decision I authored, the statute allowing the commission to punish for campaign speech was declared unconstitutional and is no longer applicable in law.
From the Ohio Supreme Court:
State v. Smith, 2022-Ohio-274, ¶¶ 1-2, 2022 Ohio LEXIS 214, 2022 WL 1-3, 320549
PASSAGE FROM THE DECISION: “Ohio juvenile law is organized around the tenet that children who are charged with acts that would be felonies if committed by adults must be recognized by courts as children when adjudicating and determining the consequences to be imposed on them if they are found to have committed those acts. In the statutory scheme for juvenile justice, "[i]nstead of 'defendants,' children are 'respondents' or simply 'juveniles'; instead of a trial, children receive 'hearings'; children are not found guilty, they are 'adjudicated delinquent'; and instead of sentencing, children's cases are terminated through 'disposition.'"State v. Hanning, 89 Ohio St. 3d 86, 89, 2000-Ohio-436, 728 N.E.2d 1059 (2000). Legislatures and courts, including this court, have recognized that the special interests involved in juvenile cases cannot be adequately addressed by the adult-criminal-justice system, but they have also recognized that juveniles accused of crimes must be afforded the same procedural-due-process protections as adult criminal defendants, see In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1, 13, 87 S.Ct. 1428, 18 L.Ed.2d 527 (1967) (establishing that "neither the Fourteenth Amendment nor the Bill of Rights is for adults alone"), abrogated on other grounds as recognized by Allen v. Illinois, 478 U.S. 364, 106 S.Ct. 2988, 92 L.Ed.2d 296 (1986).
This court has also noted that "[j]uvenile law and criminal law are not synonymous," State v. Hand, 149 Ohio St. 3d 94, 2016-Ohio-5504, 73 N.E.3d 448, ¶ 13, and that "the very purpose of the state juvenile code is 'to avoid treatment of youngsters as criminals and insulate them from the reputation and answerability of criminals,'" id. at ¶ 19, quoting In re Agler, 19 Ohio St.2d 70, 80, 249 N.E.2d 808 (1969). Stated another way, the juvenile-justice system must provide for accountability; yet it must also meet society's need to secure its future through its youth. Thus, the juvenile-justice system must hold juveniles accountable for their actions and, whenever possible, provide them with opportunities for learning and growth toward a better path. The juvenile court was created by statute, and consequently, its authority is determined by that which is conferred on it by the legislature. In re Z.R., 144 Ohio St. 3d 380, 2015-Ohio-3306, 44 N.E.3d 239, ¶ 14. Today, this court is tasked with determining the legal effect of a juvenile court's order transferring ("binding over") charges filed in juvenile court to the jurisdiction of the general division of the court of common pleas (‘adult court’).”
COMMENTARY ON THE DECISION: Because a juvenile court’s finding of probable cause as to any particular act charged is what triggers a possible transfer to adult court, when a juvenile court determines that there is no probable cause for an act charged, the adult court has no jurisdiction over that charge. In Smith, the juvenile court found no probable cause that the youth committed what would be a felony with a gun, but using discretionary bindover determined he should be tried in adult court. The common pleas court indicted on matters for which the juvenile court found no probable cause. “[B]indover of the child [is] not an open invitation for the adult court to treat the child as if his or her bindover to adult court is the child's first encounter with a tribunal for the acts named in the bindover order—there are limitations. Juvenile bindover does not open the door to prosecution in adult court for any charge the state might later seek in an indictment.” State v. Smith, 2022-Ohio-274, P2, 2022 Ohio LEXIS 214, *4, State v. Azeen, 163.
Justice DeWine: Did not respond to the survey.
Justice Fischer: Did not respond to the survey.
Judge Jamison: I'm proud of every decision as it brings closure or resolution to the case for each party. I don't believe any case is more important than another. If I am able to persuade my peers to reach a different conclusion that gives a better outcome for the entirety of the jurisdiction I serve, I believe that I have done my job.
Balfour v. Hayman, 2021-Ohio-3499, comes to mind where research showed that a quit claim deed could be used for a mortgage. The gentleman gave a quit claim deed to borrow money and the grantee attempted to evict him from the property. The Plaintiff got a judgment on the pleadings from the trial court, which Defendant appealed. I wrote the decision that remanded the case for further proceedings. The case showed the power of the court to bring equity in this case and give Appellant the ability to provide evidence rather than the court making a ruling solely on the pleadings.
Justice Kennedy: Did not respond to the survey.
Judge Zayas: One of my proudest decisions was in a parental termination case, In re D.M., L.W., and L.M., 1st Dist. No. C-200043, 2020-Ohio-3273. Parental termination cases are where the state requests the court to permanently end the parents’ rights to raise their child. One of our most precious rights is the right to parent our children. Family bonds should only be severed when parents pose a substantial risk to a child that cannot be remedied.
In this case, a young mother appealed from the juvenile court's judgement that terminated her parental rights. Mother had three children before she turned 18. Initially, the state intervened after mother and her second child tested positive for marijuana at the child’s birth. At that time, the state had concerns that mother may have substance abuse issues and cognitive and mental health issues.
Ultimately, it was determined that mother had no cognitive issues. Concerns of substance abuse were alleviated when mother tested negative on all eight random urine screenings. The only identified mental health issue was a diagnosis of persistent depressive disorder, and mother had attended thirty-three sessions with her therapist.
The first time this case came to my court, I was assigned to author the case. The day that mother was to come to court and testify, her car broke down, and her back-up driver was a no show. The magistrate refused to continue the case and proceeded to terminate mother’s parenting rights absent her testimony. Mother objected, attended that hearing, and asked to testify. The Juvenile Court Judge adopted the magistrate's decision without allowing mother to testify. I wrote a unanimous opinion reversing the decision and remanding the case to the Juvenile Court to allow mother to testify.
The second time the case came on appeal to my court, I was again assigned to author the case. The record contained no evidence of abuse or neglect, even for mother’s eldest child, who was in her custody until after his first birthday, while her other two children were removed straight from the hospital. The trial court's determination hinged on a finding that mother had failed to complete the parenting component of the case plan by failing to attend parenting coaching classes to their completion. However, the case manager testified that mother had successfully completed the parenting class and was not required to participate in parenting coaching.
In a unanimous decision, we reversed that decision and allowed the family to be reunited.