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In re T.M.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Geauga

June 25, 2018

IN THE MATTER OF: T.M., DELINQUENT CHILD

          Criminal Appeals from the Geauga County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, Case No. 15 JD 106.

          James R. Flaiz, Geauga County Prosecutor, and Melissa J. Lee, Assistant Prosecutor, For Plaintiff-Appellee, State of Ohio.

          Timothy Young, Ohio Public Defender, and Charlyn Bohland, Assistant State Public Defender, For Defendant-Appellant, Truxton Mullett.

          OPINION

          THOMAS R. WRIGHT, J.

         {¶1} Appellant, T.M., appeals the trial court's decision that he is not entitled to an immediate hearing to modify or terminate his classification as a Tier III sex offender. He contends that the hearing is required because he has satisfied all requirements placed upon him. Since we agree that an immediate hearing is mandated under the circumstances, we reverse and remand the case for further proceedings.

         {¶2} In November 2014, appellant admitted to a charge of rape, a first-degree felony under R.C. 2907.02(A)(2) in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division. On the date of this admission, appellant was 15 years old, having been born December 10, 1998. The underlying offense occurred when he was 14. His victim was 6.

         {¶3} In light of the admission, the Cuyahoga County court found appellant to be a juvenile delinquent. But, because appellant was a resident of Geauga County, the Cuyahoga County court transferred the case to the Geauga County juvenile court for final disposition.

         {¶4} The final dispositional hearing was held before the Geauga County trial court on April 10, 2015. The trial court ordered that appellant be committed to the custody of the Ohio Department of Youth Services (ODYS) "for an indefinite term consisting of a minimum period of one year and a maximum period not to exceed the juvenile's twenty first birthday." The court further ordered appellant to undergo sex offender treatment during commitment. Last, the court ordered appellant to have no contact with the victim or his family until appellant turns 21 years old.

         {¶5} In February 2016, ODYS notified the trial court that its release review panel had approved appellant for release on parole on or after April 10, 2016. As a result, the trial court classified appellant a Tier III sexual offender. That decision was affirmed in In re T.M., 11th Dist. Geauga No. 2016-G-0067, 2017-Ohio-156.

         {¶6} Notwithstanding the pendency of his prior appeal, appellant was released on parole on April 10, 2016. Nine months later, in December 2016, ODYS notified the trial court that appellant had been approved for discharge from parole on January 6, 2017.

         {¶7} Within three weeks of discharge, appellant moved the trial court to review/modify his classification as a Tier III juvenile sex offender. The state opposed, maintaining that although appellant was no longer on parole, his request was premature because he was still subject to the no-contact order.

         {¶8} On February 23, 2017, the trial court heard oral arguments on whether a "review" hearing could be held prior to the termination of the no-contact order. Appellant's counsel argued that once discharged from parole, the trial court no longer has jurisdiction to enforce the no-contact order. The trial court rejected that argument, holding that its jurisdiction continues despite parole discharge. However, the trial court also stated that it would accept additional briefing whether the no-contact order should be vacated so that the "review" hearing could go forward.

         {¶9} Appellant immediately moved the trial court to vacate the no-contact order, arguing that the order was void since its issuance because a juvenile court has no authority to impose such an order unless it is part of a community control sentence, citing State v. Anderson, 143 Ohio St.3d 173, 2015-Ohio-2089, ¶17.

         {¶10} Without waiting for a response, the trial court denied appellant's motion to vacate ruling that a juvenile court has discretion to impose a ...


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