Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ohio Supreme Court finds offense classifications can be applied retroactively

   The Ohio Supreme Court last week found in answering a certified conflict between two of the state’s appellate courts that "a defendant may benefit from the decrease in a classification and penalty of an offense enacted by the General Assembly that becomes effective after the commission of the offense but before sentencing on that offense, concluding that the legislature in passing HB 86, which became effective September 30, 2011, intended to afford the benefit of a decreased theft offense classification to offenders." [State v. Taylor (Slip Opinion) Case 2012-2136, 2014-Ohio-460 on 2/13/2014]

  At issue in the case was ORC. 1.58(B), which specifies that if the penalty or punishment for an offense has been reduced by amendment of a statute, the reduced penalty or punishment shall be imposed unless sentence had been previously imposed.

  The Ninth District Court of Appeals in Summit certified a conflict between its decision in this case and decisions of the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Licking County in State v. Gillespie, 2012-Ohio-3485, 975 N.E.2d 492 (5th Dist.) and State v. David, 5th. Dist. No. 11-CA-110, 2012-Ohio-3984.

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