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Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

NWD 300 Spring LLC/Nationwide Realty Investors et al. v. Franklin County Board of Revision et al., Case no. 2016-0102
Ohio Board of Tax Appeals

Don Koprivec et al. v. Rails-To-Trials of Wayne County, Case no. 2016-0704
Ninth District Court of Appeals (Wayne County)

Lorain County Bar Association v. Kenneth Allen Nelson II, Case no. 2016-1830
Lorain County

State of Ohio v. Andrea Beasley, Case no. 2016-1020
First District Court of Appeals (Hamilton County)


Which Property Appraisal Method Was Appropriate for Columbus Condominiums?

NWD 300 Spring LLC/Nationwide Realty Investors et al. v. Franklin County Board of Revision et al., Case no. 2016-0102
Ohio Board of Tax Appeals

ISSUES:

  • Was the allocation appraisal method appropriate when valuing a downtown Columbus high-rise condominium for taxes?
  • To determine the tax value, did the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals unreasonably and unlawfully compare the property with others that were non-comparable uses and not in the same geographic or economic area?

BACKGROUND:
Directly west of the location of the former Ohio State Penitentiary near downtown Columbus sits the North Bank Park Condominiums – a 20-story tower comprised of single-family units plus a five-story building with residential lofts and a parking garage. Nationwide Insurance Company developed the site through its subsidiary, Nationwide Realty Investors, which completed the 100-unit project in 2007. 

The city of Columbus granted a 15-year property-tax abatement for improvements to the property, and the underlying land is subject to property taxes based on its value as if vacant. Up until 2011, the Franklin County auditor valued the land at $959,409. In an updated valuation for 2012-2014, the auditor reported the land value at $6,317,343.

For the 2013 tax year, 83 of the North Bank unit owners, including Thomas and Victoria Reidy and NWD 300 Spring LLC, filed complaints with the Franklin County Board of Revision, challenging the new tax valuation. Nationwide Realty arm NWD 300 Spring owned 15 of the unsold units at the time. In January 2015, the board of revision upheld the $6.3 million valuation for the North Bank land.

The residents appealed to the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals (BTA). They presented an appraisal valuing the land at $1.2 million, while the Columbus Board of Education, which intervened in the case, offered a $3.3 million appraisal. The BTA adopted the school board’s $3.3 million appraisal in December 2015.

The property owners appealed the decision to the Ohio Supreme Court, which must consider this type of case from the BTA.

Property Owners Endorse Comparison with Similar Buildings
The Reidys and other North Bank condo owners take issue with the valuation method used by the county auditor. Based on the “allocation method of valuation,” the appraiser calculated 10 percent of each unit’s retail price as the value of the underlying land and arrived at $6.3 million. While the allocation method is appropriate for suburban condominium and home sales, the North Bank owners argue the approach isn’t typically used for other types of properties, such as condos in urban settings.

They contend, instead, that the correct approach, given the tax abatement, is to value the land as though vacant and without any improvements. When considering the value of vacant land for an appraisal, the condo owners maintain that the preferred valuation method under state law is the “sales comparison approach,” which evaluates comparable properties that have been sold recently.

To identify “comparable properties,” appraisers examine the “highest and best use” of the property being valued. The condo owners’ appraiser said commercial use, which the owners describe as including a high-rise multi-family dwelling, would be the highest and best use of the North Bank property. The appraiser considered two nearby apartment developments and one downtown Columbus residential multi-family building sold close in time to the January 2013 tax date, and valued the North Bank land at $1.2 million.

In the view of the condo owners, the school board’s $3.3 million appraisal unfairly compared the North Bank condos to downtown properties with first-floor retail and office space – neither of which is offered in the North Bank property. Those aren’t comparable properties because the North Bank condos aren’t suitable for retail ventures and the school board’s appraisal used sales made in 2015, two years after the tax year in question, the property owners maintain. They ask the Court to return the case to the BTA to correctly determine the North Bank land’s value based on comparable residential multi-family buildings.

Board of Education Focuses on Highest and Best Use of Property
The school board counters that tax authorities allow the allocation method to be used for properties like North Bank. The board states that not enough land sales existed in 2011 to properly appraise the North Bank property using the comparable sales method – a situation that also makes the allocation method permissible. While the auditor used the allocation method, the school board points out that its appraiser used comparable sales to assess the $3.3 million property value.

The school board’s appraiser first determined that the highest and best use of North Bank property for maximum profit was a mixed-use development featuring retail, office, and residential space, the school board notes. The appraiser then identified four properties for comparison. The school board argues those property sales were within two years before or after the tax year at issue and were appropriate comparisons given the highest and best use of the North Bank property.

The school board explains that the BTA made specific findings to explain why it concluded that the school board’s $3.3 million appraisal was more persuasive than the condo owners’ $1.2 million valuation. For example, the BTA stated that North Bank’s appraiser concluded that the highest and best use of the property was commercial, but then selected only multi-family residential buildings without any retail or office space for comparison. The BTA determines the weight and credibility to give to each appraisal, and its conclusions can only be overturned if the decision is unreasonable, arbitrary, or unconscionable, which it wasn’t, the school board argues.

Other Organization Waive Oral Argument
By not filing merit briefs, the Franklin County Board of Revision and NWD 300 Spring have forfeited their opportunities as parties in the case to participate in oral arguments before the Supreme Court.

- Kathleen Maloney

Docket entries, memoranda, briefs (including amicus briefs), and other information about this case may be accessed through the case docket.

Contacts
Representing Thomas and Victoria Reidy et al.: Russell Kelm, 614.246.1000

Representing Columbus City Schools Board of Education: Mark Gillis, 614.228.5822

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Can Neighboring Landowners Claim Wayne County Abandoned Railway Sold for Trails?

Don Koprivec et al. v. Rails-To-Trials of Wayne County, Case no. 2016-0704
Ninth District Court of Appeals (Wayne County)

ISSUES:

  • Is a claim of adverse possession of land because of lack of use for 21 years by the title owner valid if there is activity on the property by those with licenses to use it?
  • Does property granted to a railroad company revert back to the original landowners if the property is not used for railroad activity?

BACKGROUND:
Three property owners in Wayne County claim they own a strip of land on or near their properties that was abandoned by a series of railroad companies, and that the principle of adverse possession gives them the right to block the current title owners from using the land to create a multi-use recreational trail.

In 2008, the non-profit Rails-to-Trails of Wayne County purchased a 66-feet wide strip of land eight miles long owned by Norfolk Southern Railway Company. It had purchased the railroad line from Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail). The property extended from the Summit County border to Orville in Wayne County.

Don and Carolyn Koprivec purchased about 64 acres abutting the unused railroad, referred to as the trail property, in 1981. In 1996, Brian and Laura Bilinovich purchased 129 acres that included a strip of the trail property running through it, and in 1998, Joseph and Michelle Koontz purchased 64 acres abutting the trail property. The Bilinovichs and Koontzs bought their property from Judith Wiley and her heirs. Wiley had been living on the land from 1941 until she sold it to the two families.

When Rails-to-Trails announced intentions to build a trail, the three families claimed they owned the land through “adverse possession” because they had been using it for at least 21 years without any interference from the railroad companies. The Bilinovichs and Koontzs reach the 21-year point by counting some of the time that Wiley owned the property and her use of it without any interference from the railroad.

Rails-to-Trials and the railroad companies dispute the exclusivity claim. Conrail noted it began to abandon the railroad line in 1987, but granted Sprint a license to install and maintain an underground fiber optic communications line along the south side of the tracks. Later that year, AT&T was granted similar permission to install a line under the north side. Conrail and Norfolk Southern entered into license agreements with Sprint and AT&T in 1991 and 1995 that allowed for continual maintenance of the lines and the property, and both agreements were filed in Wayne County’s real property records.

The two telephone companies made periodic upgrades and cleared brush with the last clearing project done by AT&T in 2007. The railroad also indicated the railroad property manager visited the area at least four times during the mid-1990s and early 2000s, with at least once telling Wiley not to trespass on the trail property, and on another occasion meeting with Brian Bilinovich to discuss selling the trail property that intersected his land.

Families Sue to Obtain Land
In 2011, the three families filed suit against Rails-to-Trails in Wayne County Common Pleas Court seeking to quiet the title to their land based on adverse possession. Rails-to-Trails filed a counterclaim to quiet title on its behalf and to sue the three families for trespassing.

The trial court pointed to the activities of Sprint and AT&T and found them to be evidence that interrupted the claim of exclusive use by the families. Without exclusive use, the families couldn’t claim adverse possession, the trial court reasoned, and deemed Rails-to-Trials the property owner. The families appealed to the Ninth District Court of Appeals.

The Ninth District reversed the trial court’s decision, finding that only two types of entities can claim to enter the land and defeat adverse possession – the “true title owners,” which would have been the railroad companies, or third persons with either their own claims to the title or permission to be on the premises by the land owner. The Ninth District cited the Sixth District Court of Appeals’ 2006 Cronin v. Standish decision, which found utility workers on the land to install underground utilities aren’t included in the definition of those having permission to be on the land. The Ninth District reasoned the telephone companies aren’t on the premises to possess the surface property, but only accessing property underground.

Rails-to-Trails appealed the Ninth District decision to the Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case.

Adverse Possession Disfavored, Rails-to-Trials Argues
Rails-to-Trails notes the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that to acquire title by adverse possession, the person claiming it must prove “exclusive possession and open, notorious, continuous and adverse use for a period of 21 years.” Failing to prove any one element of possession defeats title acquisition, and the Court has repeatedly held the rules for making a claim under the doctrine of adverse possession must be strictly followed, the group explains. Rails-to-Trails writes in its brief the practice is disfavored because it results in a legal property owner forfeiting the land without any compensation.

Rails-to-Trails maintains the Ninth District, citing a single appeals court case, wrongly excluded the activities of utility companies as counting against an adverse possession claim. The group argues that in Cronin, and in two cases from Indiana and Texas cited by the Sixth District in Cronin, the disputes dealt with a utility easement. In contrast to the Rails-to-Trails case, there was no actual activity by utility workers during the 21-year span in the other cases. Rails-to-Trails claims the trial court correctly noted the activity of the AT&T and Sprint that included at least two clearing projects made it obvious to the three landowners that the railroad companies still owned the land and licensed its use to the telecommunication providers.

Rails-to-Trails also asserts that AT&T and Sprint shouldn’t be categorized as utility companies but fall under the broader category of permitted land users. The group cited cases from the Third and Fifth district courts of appeals, finding that activities by permitted users defeat claims of adverse possession. The group also finds the Ninth District had too strict of a requirement for the railroad companies to be physically present on the land, and that in other cases, the owners of rural, undeveloped land, such as the trail property, didn’t require vigilant oversight by the owner.

Families Insist Property Reverted to Them
The Koprivecs, Bilinovichs, and Koontzs maintain that not only did they acquire the property by adverse possession, but also claim it by the terms of an 1882 deed. The deed to the railroad for the strip of land had a clause that indicated if the land wasn’t used for railroad activities it reverted back to the prior owners. The three families claim to be the successors to the original owners, and they now own the trail property. The Ninth District and the trial court rejected the deed argument.

The families argue there was never any activity by the “true owners,” the railroad company, on the Koontz and Koprivec land during the 21 years prior to their 2011 ownership claim, and that the only activity on the Bilinovich property occurred when a railroad company employee was invited onto it to discuss a sale. They note that it isn’t enough for a title owner to enter the land to defeat adverse possession, but the owner must take actions “which would characterize an owner’s use.” The three couples had been hunting, using recreational vehicles, placing personal property on the trail area, and using it in other open and obvious ways without any objection from the railroads, the families assert.

The families also support the Ninth District’s reliance on Cronin and contend that easements giving to utilities like Sprint and AT&T have little to do with possession of the land, and their activities should not be factored into an ownership dispute.

Deed Incorporates Legislation Giving Land Back, Families Assert
The families point to what is called the “Brussard Deed” and dispute the right of the railroad to sell the property to Rails-to-Trails for non-railway use. The deed notes that the land is only to be used for construction and as a railroad, but doesn’t contain any language that specifically indicates what happens to the land if the railroad removes the tracks, which it did in 1989 when the last of the wooden railway ties were removed. However, the deed incorporates by reference the language of an 1835 legislative act that incorporated the Akron Rail Road Company, which was the original owner. That act indicated the property belongs to the railroad “so far as” it’s used for railroad purposes “and no further.”

The families insist the two terms are crucial in interpreting the deed to have a clause that indicates once the property isn’t used for a railroad, it reverts back to the original owner. The Ninth District ruled that in order for the property to revert, the language of the contract must specifically state that requirement, and if the appeals court also ruled that it had found the language in the legislative act should be considered, it wasn’t placed in the deed in a way that would clearly turn the property back to the seller without compensation.

Friend-of-the-Court Brief
An amicus curiae brief supporting the landowners’ position has been submitted jointly by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and the Wayne County Farm Bureau.

- Dan Trevas

Docket entries, memoranda, briefs (including amicus briefs), and other information about this case may be accessed through the case docket.

Contacts
Representing Rails-to-Trails of Wayne County: Ralph Cascarilla, 216.781.1212

Representing Don Koprivec et al., Thomas Fusonie, 614.464.8261

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Attorney Discipline

Lorain County Bar Association v. Kenneth Allen Nelson II, Case no. 2016-1830
Lorain County

The Board of Professional Conduct is recommending a two-year suspension with 18 months stayed for a Lorain County attorney who waited more than eight months to return a disputed fee.

A three-member panel of the board found Kenneth A. Nelson II violated six rules governing the practice of Ohio attorneys, including failure to cooperate with investigators with the Lorain County Bar Association. Nelson maintains the matter is a fee dispute with a client and that he should receive an entirely stayed suspension.

Client Pays Nelson $10,000 in Cash
In 2015, Efren Vega was charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute heroin by federal authorities. Vega was incarcerated and instructed his girlfriend, Linda Sanchez, to hire Nelson. Sanchez met with Nelson and paid him $10,000 cash. Nelson placed the money in a cash box at his home. Nelson didn’t provide a written fee agreement to Sanchez or Vega and didn’t advise them that if his representation wasn’t completed they may be entitled to a refund of some or all of the fee. He also didn’t provide in writing that he had no professional liability insurance.

Nelson appeared in U.S. district court as Vega’s attorney, sought a continuance in the case, and met with Vega twice in jail over a two-week period. The day after his second meeting with Vega, Sanchez texted Nelson asking that he refund the fee because Vega felt Nelson’s charges were excessive for the service provided. Nelson promptly replied that he would prepare the bill. When Sanchez inquired about the bill a few days later, Nelson told her he was working on it, but had still not provided the bill when he officially withdrew as Vega’s attorney. When his withdrawal was approved, he told Vega he would finalize the bill and meet with Sanchez.

A month passed without a bill, and Sanchez notified Nelson that she was pursing disciplinary action against him and requesting that $9,000 of the $10,000 be returned. The Lorain County Bar Association hired attorney Leslie Gentile to pursue Sanchez’s continuance, and Gentile sent Nelson a notice of the complaint in September 2015. He was asked to respond within 20 days and didn’t, and Gentile sent him an email asking him if he intended to respond. In October, Nelson called Gentile to indicate he would file a written response three days later, but he didn’t file the response and at the end of October, Gentile presented Nelson with notice that she believed he committed multiple rule violations and that she intended to file a certified complaint with county bar association’s grievance committee. Nelson filed a formal reply to Gentile and the committee in March 2016, six months after Gentile first contacted him.

The day before responding to the complaint, Nelson sent Sanchez a check for $9,000.

Panel Finds Multiple Infractions
The hearing panel found that Nelson’s placement of the $10,000 in a cash box and not a client trust account was a rule violation. Nelson had argued he was paid a “flat fee,” which indicated he earned the fee at the time he took the case and wasn’t required to deposit the cash in the bank account. The panel noted that in order to accept an “earned upon receipt” fee or “flat fee” an attorney must provide in writing to the client that the client may be entitled to a refund if the attorney fails to complete representation. Because Nelson admitted he didn’t provide the written statement, then he couldn’t accept a flat fee and was required to keep the money in the client bank account, the panel concluded.

The panel also found the delay in refunding the fee was a rule violation, although Nelson characterized it as a fee dispute. He calculated that he earned about $6,800 for the time he represented Vega. Sanchez disputed the amount claiming she was entitled to a $9,000 refund, which he paid and said he did “to put the matter to rest.” Even though he determined he earned $6,800, he acknowledged that meant he kept nearly $3,200 he had not earned in his cash box from the time he withdrew in July 2015 until he paid Sanchez in March 2016.

Nelson also acknowledged he didn’t file a response to Gentile’s inquiry until six months after it was initiated, but after a formal complaint was filed, he complied promptly with all disciplinary obligations. The panel found he violated the rules for failure to cooperate in a disciplinary matter.

The panel noted that Nelson had a prior disciplinary finding against him in 2015, which included two charges that appear in a pending case. He had a prior violation for failure to notify a client of not having liability insurance, and failed to promptly respond to requests from disciplinary investigators.

The board accepted the panel’s recommendation to suspend Nelson for two years with 18 months stayed on the condition that he complete six hours of continuing legal education on office management, comply with all record-keeping requirements, maintain liability insurance, and be supervised by a monitoring attorney.

Nelson Suggests Fully Stayed Suspension Warranted
Nelson argues that while most of panel’s findings are accurate, some important factors not noted by the panel should warrant a less-severe sanction than proposed. Nelson wrote that he was unaware that Sanchez intended to promptly bring him the full sum in cash and wasn’t prepared to provide a formal fee letter. He also notes it was only a short amount of time between his initial representation of Vega and the time Vega discharged him while opting to be represented by a federal public defender. He maintains that he immediately told Vega and Sanchez he would be refunding them a portion of the fee as soon as he prepared his bill. He argues that step effectively notified them of the refund possibility and made him eligible to collect a flat fee. Because he was entitled to the flat fee, he shouldn’t have been found to be in violation of three charges for failing to properly deposit the funds into a client trust account, he concludes.

Nelson also acknowledges he didn’t respond to Gentile immediately because he considered Sanchez’s matter a fee dispute that he believed he could settle on his own. He states he discussed the grievance with an attorney for the county bar association who told him to work with Sanchez to settle it. Once he realized the bar association intended to charge him with violations that extended beyond a fee dispute, he filed a written response, refunded Sanchez, and complied with all requests from the bar association about the matter. He also admits he violated the rule by not informing the client in writing that he didn’t maintain liability insurance.

He suggests a suspension that prevents him from practicing law would be unduly punitive, and that he is a sole practitioner with no partners or associates to take over his practice during a possible time out. He states this would be a hardship to past and current clients and devastate his ability to obtain new clients. He suggests that a one-year stayed suspension that requires he doesn’t violate any more rules, pays all costs associated with the matter, completes the six hours of legal education, and submits to a year of monitored probation is justified.

Bar Association Backs Board Findings
The Lorain County Bar Association supports the findings of the professional conduct board. While Nelson states he effectively notified Vega and Sanchez about the refund, the bar asserts the rule is clear that the only way he would be able to accept the funds without placing them into a trust account is if he had given the two written statements at the time he accepted the money saying the clients were entitled to a refund. Because he never provided the written statement, he violated the rules, the bar association maintains.

The bar association argues that Nelson has no valid reason for delaying his response to Sanchez’s grievance and that he offers no proof that he consulted with the association’s attorney when he claimed suggested he should try to settle with Sanchez. The association states that Nelson never informed Gentile when they spoke that he considered the matter a fee dispute and didn’t tell her about the conversation with the association’s attorney.

The bar association also argues that since this is Nelson’s second complaint accusing him of failing to inform a client about lacking liability insurance and failing to respond to disciplinary authorities, it indicates that he has “a continued inability to comprehend the Rules of Professional Conduct” and a six-month actual suspension is warranted.

- Dan Trevas

Docket entries, memoranda, briefs (including amicus briefs), and other information about this case may be accessed through the case docket.

Contacts
Representing Kenneth A. Nelson II: Daniel Wightman, 440.930.2602

Representing Lorain County Bar Association: Lindsey Poprocki, 440.246.2665

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Can Attorney’s Summary of Off-the-Record Conversation Be Used in Appeal?

State of Ohio v. Andrea Beasley, Case no. 2016-1020
First District Court of Appeals (Hamilton County)

ISSUE: Is a trial attorney’s undisputed summary of an unrecorded conference with the judge and prosecutor that is placed on the record sufficient to preserve an error for appeal?

BACKGROUND:
In 2014 Andrea Beasley was stopped by an Amberley Village police officer in Hamilton County after he suspected her of driving her mother’s car without a license. The officer called a tow truck to remove the vehicle and conducted an inventory search of the car. He discovered a baggie of cocaine. When he asked Beasley if it was crack cocaine, she responded that it was probably powder, and she was charged with one count of cocaine possession.

Beasley filed a motion to suppress the evidence to exclude the cocaine, which was denied. On the day her trial was scheduled, Beasley’s attorney met with a Hamilton County prosecutor, and the parties agreed that Beasley would enter a no-contest plea so she could preserve her right to appeal the denial of the motion to suppress. Prior to accepting the plea, the trial court judge met with the attorneys in the judge’s chambers. The judge told the lawyers the trial court had a blanket policy of refusing to accept no-contest pleas.

The parties went back into open court, and Beasley’s attorney asked to add to the record a summary of the conversation in the chambers, including Beasley’s desire to plead no contest and the court’s policy against no-contest pleas. The attorney added that the state had no objection to the no-contest plea. When the trial court judge asked the prosecutor if he wanted to reply to Beasley’s attorney’s summary, the prosecutor declined. After placing the summary on the record, Beasley pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years of community control.

Beasley appealed the conviction to the First District Court of Appeals with an attempt to challenge the rejection of the motion to suppress the evidence. However, the First District ruled that the summarization of the unrecorded conference wasn’t considered part of the record. It then ruled that by pleading guilty Beasley forfeited her right to appeal. The First District ruled that Beasley should have pleaded no contest and have the trial court refuse the plea on the record in order to preserve the issue. The First District stated that because Beasley pleaded guilty, it wouldn’t consider the merits of the motion to suppress challenge, and it affirmed her sentence. Beasley appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case.

Other Appeals Court Have Accepted Summaries, Beasley Argues
Beasley notes that the Second and Eighth District courts of appeals have ruled that an attorney’s summary of an unrecorded discussion does preserve the issue for appeal. She explains that courts have ruled the statements are necessary to serve as proof there was an error at the trial level. She argues that by summarizing the issue the statements were entered into the transcript of the trial. The trial transcript is part of the record, she maintains, and the undisputed claim that Beasley wanted to plead no contest but was told she couldn’t became part of the record.

Beasley also asserts a blanket policy of refusing no contest pleas is an abuse of discretion by the trial judge because it prevents a judge’s pre-trial rulings from being challenged unless the person goes through with a trial and loses. She notes the First District also found the trial court’s blanket policy was an abuse of discretion. Had Beasley pleaded no contest and had the plea been rejected, then the First District would have considered all her challenges to the trial court’s decisions, she concludes.

But pleading no contest would have been risky, Beasley explains, arguing that her attorney could have faced a contempt of court violation if he attempted to enter a no contest plea. A no contest plea could also have provoked the judge to issue a harsher sentence based on failing to comply with the court’s policy, she adds. Pleading no contest would have been futile, and a criminal defendant doesn’t have to engage in a futile act in order to contest an error by the trial court, she maintains.

State Argues No Contest Plea Necessary
The Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office notes that it also finds the trial court’s blanket policy against no contest pleas to be improper, but suggests the existence of a policy doesn’t excuse Beasley from not making a no contest plea. Without considering a plea, the trial court isn’t on the record stating the reason for denial, and Beasley lost the chance to argue that was an error on appeal, the prosecutor maintains. Substituting the actual denial with a cursory statement that if she pleaded no contest, then her plea would be denied isn’t an adequate substitute, the office concludes.

While Beasley maintains that pleading no contest would be a futile act, the prosecutor rejects that argument, noting that a futile act “is one that serves no purpose.” Beasley’s plea would have served the purpose of having it rejected and preserving the issue for an appeal, the office’s brief states.

The prosecutor further argues that Beasley’s attorney’s statement was insufficient because it didn’t provide enough particular information about what transpired in the judge’s chambers, and it didn’t identify which of the five prosecutors involved in the case was present. What the on-the-record statement did identify was that Beasley understood the consequences of pleading guilty and the limits it would have on her appeal, yet she elected to plead guilty, the prosecutor’s office maintains. Beasley forfeited her right to appeal her case, the prosecutor concludes.

Friend-of-the-Court Brief
An amicus curiae brief supporting Beasley’s position has been submitted jointly by:

  • Gideon’s Promise
  • National Association for Public Defense
  • National Defender Training Project
  • Ohio Public Defender
  • Ohio Justice & Policy Center

The organizations’ brief states the case raises important questions about what lawyers must do to preserve issues that arise during off-the-record discussions. The group warns that upholding the First District’s ruling would put at risk the ability of judges and lawyers to resolve problems through in-chambers conversations. If summarizing the issue at the first opportunity when back on the record is insufficient then defense lawyers will have to be trained not to participate in off-the-record conversations, the groups argue. The attorneys also would have to refuse them when offered to ensure that all proceedings are on the record and available for appeal, they write.

Dan Trevas

Docket entries, memoranda, briefs (including amicus briefs), and other information about this case may be accessed through the case docket.

Contacts
Representing Andrea Beasley from the Hamilton County Public Defender’s Office: Raymond Faller, 513.946.3838

Representing the State of Ohio from the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office: Sean Donovan, 615.946.3228

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These informal previews are prepared by the Supreme Court's Office of Public Information to provide the news media and other interested persons with a brief overview of the legal issues and arguments advanced by the parties in upcoming cases scheduled for oral argument. The previews are not part of the case record, and are not considered by the Court during its deliberations.

Parties interested in receiving additional information are encouraged to review the case file available in the Supreme Court Clerk's Office (614.387.9530), or to contact counsel of record.