The Ohio Supreme Court this morning held that its 2010 decision in State v. Bodyke, which invalidated part of Ohio’s Adam Walsh Act (AWA) as unconstitutional, did not invalidate the statutory petition process by which a sex offender may seek judicial review of his classification. The Court also held that when a trial court finds that a defendant who has been indicted for failing to register as a sex offender under the AWA is not a person subject to registration, the trial court has authority to grant a pretrial motion to dismiss the indictment.
The appeal drew the Court to consider two procedural questions that lingered after its decisions in State v. Bodyke, 2010-Ohio-2424, and State v. Williams, 2011-Ohio-3374, each of which invalidated aspects of the state’s version of the Adam Walsh Act.
First, the Court said, it reviewed “whether its decision in Bodyke invalidated the statutory petition process for challenging a classification under the Adam Walsh Act. It did not. Bodyke invalidated the reclassification provisions of the Adam Walsh Act because they violated Ohio’s separation-of-powers doctrine. However, because separation of powers implicates more than one branch of government, it is not at issue in the petition process, which involves only the judiciary and survives Bodyke.
It secondly, addressed whether a trial court could dismiss an indictment alleging violations of the Adam Walsh Act. Crim.R. 12 authorizes pretrial dismissal of defective indictments, and after Williams, duties under the Adam Walsh Act may not be imposed retroactively. When a trial court faces an indictment based on the retroactive application of the Adam Walsh Act, the law not only allows but indeed demands dismissal.”
State v. Palmer, Slip Opinion No. 2012-Ohio-580
Court’ s summary
Franklin County Court of Appeals decision
Ohio’s Adam Walsh Act [ Am.Sub.S.B. No. 10 analysis (2007) ]