Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Supreme Court To Hear Wrongful Imprisonment Dispute

Eight Cases Will Be Considered During Oral Arguments

Image of a row of prison cells

Along with the state’s appeal opposing a wrongful imprisonment lawsuit, other cases on the court’s calendar address Ohio’s voluminous budget bill, lead poisoning records, and electric rates.

Image of a row of prison cells

Along with the state’s appeal opposing a wrongful imprisonment lawsuit, other cases on the court’s calendar address Ohio’s voluminous budget bill, lead poisoning records, and electric rates.

The Ohio Supreme Court will review the case of a Cuyahoga County man seeking compensation for wrongful imprisonment after his 2010 conviction for killing a man in his house who was assaulting a woman who lived there.

The appeal will be one of four cases argued on Tuesday, May 19 during the next Supreme Court session. Four more cases are on the court’s agenda for Wednesday, May 20.

In 2009, a man identified by the initials C.K. because his criminal record has been sealed, rented out a bedroom in his house to Valerie McNaughton. The homeowner had a permit to carry a concealed weapon, and he kept a licensed handgun in his home.

McNaughton returned to the house one September day after smoking crack cocaine with Andre Coleman and others. Coleman followed her to the residence, insisting she give him money. C.K. tried to get Coleman to leave, but Coleman attacked McNaughton. C.K. pulled his gun and thought Coleman was also drawing a weapon. The homeowner shot Coleman twice and then four more times after Coleman fell to the ground.

In August 2010, a jury convicted C.K. of murder with firearms specifications, and the court sentenced him to prison for 18 years to life. But, on appeal, a court noted the jury hadn’t properly considered the state law known as the “castle doctrine,” which prohibits the punishment of homeowners using deadly force against an intruder when in fear of harm or death. The appeals court returned the case to the trial court to address that issue. However, the prosecutor decided to dismiss the case without prejudice, which allows charges to be filed again later.

Because the charges were dismissed, C.K. has requested damages for the time he has served in prison. In the appeal to the Supreme Court, the state contends it’s too soon for C.K. to assert he was wrongfully imprisoned because criminal charges could still be filed. The state argues the wrongful imprisonment law prohibits a claim until a criminal proceeding can no longer be brought.

Court Days
Oral arguments begin at 9 a.m. each day at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center in Columbus. The arguments will be streamed live online at and broadcast live on The Ohio Channel.

Previews Available
In addition to the brief descriptions below, the Office of Public Information today released summaries of each case.

Cases for Tuesday, May 19
Besides State v. C.K., the court will consider these cases:

  • In a public utilities appeal, multiple groups contest an AEP-Ohio electricity rate plan approved by the state public utilities commission in 2012. The groups argue the costs being passed on to consumers are unlawful and unreasonable, while the company maintains the plan provides stable prices and encourages competition.
  • Lead poisoning records kept by the county are at the center of Board of Health of Cuyahoga County v. Lipson O’Shea. In 2012, a Rocky River law firm requested the records, which include reports about the young children who were poisoned and investigations of the houses where they lived when diagnosed. The appeals court limited release to only residential information that obscured identifying details about the children. The county health board asserts that even the redacted records aren’t public because the residential data could be used to figure out the children’s identities.
  • Disbarment has been recommended in Disciplinary Counsel v. Terry for a Cuyahoga County judge who decided a foreclosure case as instructed by former county auditor Frank P. Russo, now in prison for corruption. The judge was convicted on federal charges for his actions and currently is serving time. He asks the court for a lesser sanction because this was his only incident of misconduct and he cooperated in the disciplinary process.

Cases for Wednesday, May 20
The court has four cases on Wednesday:

  • Provisions in the 2011-2013 budget bill allowing the sale and/or private operation of five prisons have been challenged in State v. State ex rel. Ohio Civil Service Employees Association as violating the state constitution’s one-subject rule for legislation. The state claims the measures are allowed in the appropriations bill because they can bring in revenue and reduce spending. The state also contests the line-by-line review of the entire budget bill ordered by the appeals court.
  • A Fostoria man was convicted in Arnold v. State of domestic violence for assaulting his father in 2013. The man’s father refused to testify at trial, asserting a Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate himself, but was ordered by the court to read the statement he gave to the police. The son argues he was denied a fair and impartial trial and the evidence didn’t support his conviction.
  • Fulton County Board of Revision v. The Metamora Elevator Company asks whether grain storage bins should be taxed as real or personal property. A grain processor in Fulton County owns 18 bins, valued at nearly $1.1 million. The tax authorities view the bins as permanent buildings or structures that should be included as part of the property’s overall value for tax purposes.
  • In Disciplinary Counsel v. Corner, the attorney disciplinary board has found that a Columbus attorney mismanaged money, records, and cases and recommends suspending the lawyer for two years with one year stayed. On remand, the board considered whether one client was entitled to restitution and decided instead to dismiss the related rule violations. The disciplinary counsel objects to this action arguing the board was limited to approving or disapproving reimbursement to the client and wasn’t authorized to reconsider its prior conclusions.