Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Appeals Court Reverses Sex Offender’s Sentence

A Cuyahoga County sex offender should not be subject to enhanced penalties of a new law when he was originally classified under a previous version of the law, according to the Eighth District Court of Appeals.

Steven C. Davis was sentenced to five years probation for sexual battery and gross sexual imposition in 2004. He was originally classified as a sexually oriented offender under Megan’s Law, which required him to verify his address once a year for 10 years. After the enactment of Ohio’s Adam Walsh Act in 2007, Davis was reclassified as a Tier III sex offender and required to verify his address every 90 days for life. In 2011, Davis was charged with failing to provide notice of change of address and sentenced to a mandatory three–year prison term.

Judge Kathleen A. Keough wrote the decision noting that the appeals court previously reached a similar conclusion in another ruling (State v. Smith, 8th Dist. Nos. 96582, 96622, 96623, 2012-Ohio-261) and that previous ruling is in conflict with cases from two other appellate courts.

“Until the Ohio Supreme Court issues a definitive ruling on this issue or until it remedies the conflict among the districts, we are bound by precedent of this court,” she wrote. “Accordingly, we sustain Davis’s assignment of error, reverse his sentence, and remand the matter to the trial court to impose a sentence consistent with Megan’s Law.”

Judge Keough also pointed out that the Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to address the issue through State v. Howard (Case No. 2011-2126).

Judge Mary Eileen Kilbane concurred in the August 9 opinion. Judge Melody J. Stewart concurred in judgment only and wrote a separate opinion.

“I concur in the decision reached in this case because it follows this court’s precedent,” Judge Stewart wrote. “However, I remain convinced that the analysis set forth in State v. Freeman, 1st Dist. No. C-100389, 2011-Ohio-4357, and in my dissenting opinion in State v. Page, 8th Dist. No. 94369, 2011-Ohio-83, is correct – at least until the Ohio Supreme Court says otherwise.”

State v. Davis, 2012-Ohio-3570
Criminal Appeal From: Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court
Judgment Appealed From Is: Reversed and Remanded
Date of Judgment Entry on Appeal: August 9, 2012

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