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In re D.H.

Supreme Court of Ohio

January 4, 2018

In re D.H.

          Submitted September 12, 2017

         Appeal from the Court of Appeals for Montgomery County, Nos. 27074 and 27075, 2016-Ohio-5265.

          Mathias H. Heck Jr., Montgomery County Prosecuting Attorney, and Heather N. Jans, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for appellee, state of Ohio.

          Timothy Young, Ohio Public Defender, and Charlyn Bohland, Assistant Public Defender, for appellant, D.H.

          DeWine, J.

         {¶ 1} May a juvenile who is "bound over" to adult court immediately appeal the bindover decision, or must his appeal wait until the end of the adult-court proceedings? We conclude that the appeal must wait. That is what the court of appeals decided, so we affirm its judgment.

         I. BACKGROUND

         {¶ 2} D.H. was 17 years old when he was charged in separate complaints with two counts of robbery. The juvenile court held a hearing, determined that D.H. was not amenable to rehabilitation in the juvenile system, and transferred jurisdiction to the adult court.

         {¶ 3} D.H. pled no contest to the charges in adult court and was sentenced to four years in prison. He then appealed his discretionary transfer to the Second Appellate District. The court of appeals concluded that the juvenile court had erred in transferring D.H. because it had not articulated the reasons that D.H. was not amenable to rehabilitation in the juvenile system. On remand from the court of appeals, the juvenile court again found that D.H. was not amenable to rehabilitation.

         {¶ 4} This time, rather than waiting until the end of the adult-court proceedings, D.H. immediately appealed the juvenile court's transfer orders. The court of appeals granted the state's motion to dismiss the appeals for lack of a final order.

         II. THE FINAL-ORDER REQUIREMENT

         {¶ 5} The question whether an immediate appeal from a bindover decision is available depends on whether such a decision is a "final order." The final-order requirement comes from the Ohio Constitution, which provides that courts of appeals "shall have such jurisdiction as may be provided by law" to review "final orders" rendered by inferior courts. Ohio Constitution, Article IV, Section 3(B)(2). Jurisdiction is "provided by law" primarily through two statutes. The first, R.C. 2501.02, the "jurisdictional statute, " provides that courts of appeals have jurisdiction

upon an appeal upon questions of law to review, affirm, modify, set aside, or reverse judgments or final orders of courts of record inferior to the court of appeals within the district, including the finding, order, or judgment of a juvenile court that a child is delinquent, neglected, or dependent, for prejudicial error committed by such lower court.

         In the second statute, R.C. 2505.02, the "definitional statute, " the legislature has defined various categories of orders as final. First, we address our ...


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