Cases & Deals

Ohio Supreme Court strikes down portions of sex offender law as violation of separation of powers

Client(s) Ohio Justice and Policy Center

Jones Day Columbus successfully represented a group of victims' rights organizations and law enforcement personnel as amicus curiae in opposition to Ohio's new sex offender law (Senate Bill 10). In State of Ohio v. Bodyke, 2010-Ohio-2424, the Ohio Supreme Court struck down certain portions of the law as unconstitutional violations of the separation of powers. Under the old law, offenders were classified into categories based on a judicial determination of dangerousness. This classification took place during a hearing following an offender's release from prison. Under the new law, the judicial determinations were thrown out and offenders (including some who had been released from prison nearly a decade ago) were re-classified based solely on their offense at conviction. This had the effect of retroactively placing thousands of offenders who had been in the lowest, least dangerous category into the highest, most dangerous category. Our clients represent victims of sexual violence or are law enforcement personnel. They believed Ohio's new sex offender laws were not based on sound scientific research and, in fact, made communities less safe from sexual predators because police and the community would have no way to know who was truly dangerous. Jones Day Columbus drafted an amicus brief in support of the offender challenging his reclassification. Our clients were given part of the offender's oral argument time, and Lisa argued the case in the Ohio Supreme Court. The Court ultimately struck down the portion of the new law that re-classified offenders who had been previously placed in judicially determined categories. Jones Day Columbus helped with the moot prior to the argument.