Update. On December 15, 2016, the Supreme Court of Ohio handed down a merit decision in this case. Read the analysis here.
On May 31, 2016, the Supreme Court of Ohio was to hear oral argument in the case of State of Ohio v. Dominic Jackson, 2015-1137. At issue in the case is whether a defendant has a right to allocution at a community control violation hearing.
The argument in this case lasted three minutes. Scott Heenan, for the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office, got up and conceded that all of the state’s arguments (which you can read in the oral argument preview here) had been addressed by the court’s recent decision in State v. Heinz, Slip Opinion No. 2016-Ohio-2814, released on May 5, 2016. In Heinz the court unanimously held that the state is a party to all community control violation hearings, and explained that unlike a probation violation, community control violation hearings are formal adversarial hearings. The Heinz Court stated that as it had explained in State v Fraley, 2004-Ohio-7110 “[f]ollowing a community control violation, the trial court conducts a second sentencing hearing. At this second hearing, the court sentences the offender anew and must comply with the relevant sentencing statutes.” In the Heinz case, the Supreme Court remanded the matter to the trial court “with instructions to reschedule the community control violation hearing and to provide the prosecuting attorney and the offender notice of and an opportunity to be heard at that hearing.” (emphasis added).
Mr. Heenan asked the high court either to dismiss the Jackson case as improvidently accepted, or affirm the decision of the First District Court of Appeals, which found that there was a right of allocution at a community control violation hearing. Justice Pfeifer commented that the assistant prosecutor had done a “pretty stand-up thing.” I’m guessing the high court will affirm the decision of the court of appeals, on the authority of Heinz and Fraley.
Timothy J. Bicknell, now with the Hamilton County Public Defender’s Office, and one of my former research assistants, was making his first argument before the high court. All he got to say was he agreed with the state and hoped the court would specifically find there is a right of allocution at a community control violation hearing. He might not have said much, but it looks like Mr. Bicknell just won his first case in the Supreme Court of Ohio. I wish him many more successes. The blog will report what happens on remand at the new community control violation hearing.