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In re R.J.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Sixth District, Huron

April 27, 2018

In re R.J.

          Trial Court Nos. SO 2008 00001, SO 2008 00002

          Kevin J. Baxter, Erie County Special Prosecuting Attorney, and Martha S. Schultes, Assistant Special Prosecuting Attorney, for appellee.

          Timothy Young, Ohio Public Defender, and Timothy B. Hackett, Assistant State Public Defender, for appellant.

          DECISION AND JUDGMENT

          OSOWIK, J.

         {¶ 1} This is an appeal from an August 21, 2017 judgment of the Huron County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, denying appellant's February 2, 2017 motion to vacate a September 21, 2010 sexual offender classification. For the reasons set forth below, this court reverses the judgment of the trial court and remands the matter to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this decision.

         {¶ 2} Appellant, R.J., a minor at the time of the underlying events, sets forth the following two assignments of error:

I. The juvenile court erred when it denied R.J.'s motion to vacate his classification as void, because the court was not authorized to classify him under R.C. 2151.82.
II. The juvenile court erred when it denied R.J.'s motion to vacate his classification, because R.C. 2152.86 was inapplicable and facially unconstitutional.

         {¶ 3} The following undisputed facts are relevant to this appeal. On April 10, 2008, appellant was adjudicated to be a delinquent minor on one count of felonious assault, in violation of R.C. 2903.11, a felony of the first degree, one count of attempted rape, in violation of R.C. 2923.02, a felony of the second degree, and one count of abduction, in violation of R.C. 2905.02, a felony of the third degree. Appellant was 15 years of age at the time of the offenses.

         {¶ 4} Following these crimes, appellant was committed to a term of incarceration in the Ohio Department of Youth Services ("DYS") of a minimum of two and one-half years to a maximum of appellant's 21st birthday. On September 21, 2010, appellant was released from DYS.

         {¶ 5} On September 21, 2010, simultaneous to the release, a hearing was conducted pursuant to which appellant was designated to be a Tier III sexual offender for registration purposes. As specifically relevant to this appeal, the trial court erroneously classified appellant for registration purposes as a Tier III offender pursuant to R.C. 2152.82 and 2152.86.

         {¶ 6} R.C. 2152.82 is Ohio's more stringent repeat juvenile offender classification statute. Appellant was not a repeat offender. R.C. 2152.86 imposed more stringent registration requirements upon offenders whom the trial court imposed a serious youthful offender ("SYO") sentence at disposition. Appellant was not sentenced as a serious youthful offender.

         {¶ 7} Appellant received a traditional juvenile sentence, not an SYO sentence. In addition, R.C. 2152.86 was subsequently stricken as unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court in 2012. In re C.P., 131 Ohio St.3d 513, 2012-Ohio-1446, 967 N.E.2d 729.

         {¶ 8} On February 2, 2017, approximately seven years following the subject classification hearing, appellant filed a motion to vacate his 2010 sexual offender classification. In support, appellant argued that it was improper for the trial court to impose the more stringent classification and requirements ...


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