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July 28, 2009

Ohio Supreme Court blesses retoractive application of its response to Blakely

As detailed  this official summary, the "Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the constitutionality of a criminal sentencing decision it made in 2006, rebuffing the claims of a defendant who argued the ruling violated his rights to a jury trial and due process."  The full ruling in Ohio v. Elmore, No. 2009-Ohio-3478 (Ohio July 28, 2009), is available at this link, and here is how the official summary starts:

The Supreme Court of Ohio ruled today that the resentencing of criminal offenders pursuant to the Court’s February 27, 2006  decision in State v. Foster for crimes committed before that date does not violate offenders’ Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial or their rights under the Ex Post Facto or Due Process clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

In a 7-0 decision authored by Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger, the Court also held that a trial court resentencing an offender pursuant to Foster is not required to impose the minimum prison term for each offense for which the defendant  was convicted, and has discretion to order that  sentences for multiple convictions be served either concurrently (at the same time) or consecutively (one after the other).

In this local article concerning the ruling, the defendant's lawyer indicates he is eager to appeal this ruling to the US Supreme Court:

Keith Yeazel, Elmore's attorney, said he will recommend to his client that he appeal the Ohio Supreme Court's decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. Yeazel said the U.S. Supreme Court has found that no more than the minimum sentence can be applied unless additional evidence is considered.

He also said Ohio law directs judges to issue concurrent sentences except under certain conditions."The Ohio Supreme Court has decided that they don't want to do what the Ohio General Assembly said they should do," Yeazel said.

July 28, 2009 at 10:58 PM | Permalink

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Comments

I told the AP reporter:

“Much of the court’s opinion rests on a misunderstanding of what constitutes the relevant “statutory maximum for purposes of the Sixth Amendment. According to the United States Supreme Court the relevant statutory maximum sentence is not the maximum sentence a judge may impose after finding additional facts, but the maximum sentence he may impose without any additional findings.”

The reporter interpreted those statements to mean:

“Yeazel said the U.S. Supreme Court has found that no more than the minimum sentence can be applied unless additional evidence is considered.”

The reporter got it wrong.

Posted by: yeazel | Jul 29, 2009 10:24:56 AM

A rather unremarkable decision. Federal courts have held the exact same thing ever since Foster was decided.

Posted by: Res ipsa | Jul 29, 2009 1:01:18 PM

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