FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. DL 1111 2532
CHARLYN BOHLAND, Assistant State Public Defender, for
BEVAN WALSH, Prosecuting Attorney, and RICHARD S. KASAY,
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
HENSAL, PRESIDING JUDGE.
D.J. appeals judgments of the Summit County Court of Common
Pleas, Juvenile Division, that invoked the adult portion of
his serious youthful offender dispositional sentence and
sentenced him to life imprisonment with the possibility of
parole after 25 years. For the following reasons, this Court
When D.J. was 15, he anally raped his 3-year-old sister,
which caused injuries that resulted in her death. The
juvenile court adjudicated him guilty of rape and felony
murder and designated him a serious youthful offender. It
committed him to the Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS)
and stayed his adult sentence of life imprisonment with the
possibility of parole after 25 years. D.J. appealed his
adjudication. He also petitioned for post-conviction relief.
D.J. behaved well during his commitment. He completed high
school, took college classes, began an apprenticeship, and
even helped tutor others. In light of his ongoing legal
proceedings, however, he declined to enroll in sex offender
treatment. Eventually, he voluntarily dismissed his appeal
and withdrew his petition.
Following the end of D.J.'s appeal and petition, the
juvenile court wrote that his sex offender treatment would
begin shortly. D.J. did not decide to enter the program,
however, until nine months before he was going to turn 21.
Despite attending and participating in the first part of the
program, D.J. did not meet its goals because he could not
identify the triggers for his conduct. He, therefore, could
not continue into the second part of the program, which helps
participants develop strategies to manage their triggers.
Approximately 50 days before D.J.'s twenty-first
birthday, the State moved for the juvenile court to invoke
the adult portion of D.J.'s sentence. Following an
evidentiary hearing, the juvenile court granted its motion,
finding that D.J., by failing to complete sex offender
treatment, engaged in conduct that poses a substantial risk
to the safety of the community. The court also found that he
could not be rehabilitated before turning 21. It subsequently
imposed D.J.'s adult sentence of life imprisonment with
the opportunity for parole after 25 years. D.J. has appealed,
assigning five errors.
OF ERROR I
STATE CANNOT INITIATE THE REQUEST TO INVOKE THE ADULT PORTION
OF A CHILD'S SYO WHEN THE CHILD IS IN DYS'S
INSTITUTIONAL CUSTODY, IN VIOLATION OF R.C. 2152.14(A).
D.J. argues that the State's motion to invoke was
improper under Revised Code Section 2152.14(A). That section
provides, in part, that "[t]he director of youth
services may request the prosecuting attorney of the county
in which is located the juvenile court that imposed a serious
youthful offender dispositional sentence * * * to file a
motion with that juvenile court to invoke the adult portion
of the dispositional sentence * * *." According to D.J.,
under the statute, only the director of DYS can initiate the
request to invoke the adult part of the dispositional
sentence for a serious youthful offender. Here, however, the
prosecutor sent a letter to DYS, requesting that it join in a
motion to invoke. D.J. contends that DYS's staff was
actually preparing him for release into the community until
the prosecutor interfered in the process.
Section 2152.14 does not provide any guidance for how the
director of DYS should decide whether to request that the
prosecuting attorney move for the juvenile court to invoke
the adult part of a dispositional sentence. The statute's
only requirements are that the juvenile be at least 14 years
old, that the juvenile be in the custody of or has escaped
custody of DYS, and that the juvenile be serving the juvenile
part of a serious youthful offender dispositional sentence.
R.C. 2152.14(A)(2). D.J. has not pointed to any language in
Section 2152.14 that prohibits the ...