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In re C.M.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

June 20, 2019

IN RE C.M. A Minor Child

          Civil Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Juvenile Division Case Nos. DL1120031, DL11121856, DL11118577, DL13118746, and DL12100217

          Timothy Young, Ohio Public Defender, and Lauren Hammersmith, Assistant Ohio Public Defender, for appellant.

          Michael C. O'Malley, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney, and John F. Hirschauer, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for appellee.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          RAYMOND C. HEADEN, JUDGE.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, CM., appeals from a judgment of the juvenile court that denied C.M.'s application to seal his records without holding a hearing after the state filed an objection to the application. CM. raises the following assignment of error for our review: "The juvenile court erred as a matter of law when it denied C.M.'s sealing application without holding a hearing after the prosecutor filed an objection to C.M.'s application, in violation of R.C. 2152.356(C)(2)(d)(iii)."

         {¶ 2} After review of the record and relevant case law, we reverse and remand to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

         Procedural and Factual History

         {¶3} This appeal is based upon C.M.'s application to seal his juvenile records in case numbers DL11118577, DL11120031, DL11121856, DL12100217, and DL13118746 filed on December 4, 2018. Within the application, CM. requested a hearing pursuant to R.C. 2151.356 to present additional evidence if the state opposed sealing his records. The state filed an objection to C.M.'s application for case number DL11118577. The state did not oppose C.M.'s application to seal juvenile records in the other four cases. The juvenile court denied C.M.'s application without holding a hearing.

         {¶ 4} CM. now appeals the juvenile court's judgment.

         Law and Analysis

         {¶ 5} In his sole assignment of error, CM. argues the trial court erred when it did not hold a hearing after the state objected to C.M.'s application to seal his juvenile records.

         {¶ 6} R.C. 2152.356 authorizes the procedure for sealing records in a juvenile case. CM. filed his application in accordance with R.C. 2152.356, specifically under 2152.356(C)(1). When a court considers an application to seal juvenile records that has been submitted to it pursuant to 2152.356(C)(1), the court will follow the requirements identified under R.C. 2152.356(C)(2)(a)-(e). R.C. 2152.356(C)(2)(d)(iii) states the court shall hold a hearing within 30 days after the prosecuting attorney objects to the sealing of the records:

(iii) If the prosecuting attorney files a response with the court that indicates that the prosecuting attorney objects to the sealing of the records, the court shall conduct a hearing on the motion or application within thirty days after the court receives the response. The court shall give notice, by regular mail, of the date, time, and location of the hearing to the prosecuting attorney and to the person who is the subject of the records under consideration.

         {¶ 7} This court has held the word "shall" is mandatory when used in a statute. In re D.R.B., 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 102252, 2015-Ohio-3346. R.C. 2152.356(C)(2)(d)(iii) has been interpreted as requiring a hearing when the state objects to the sealing of juvenile records. In re M.C.H., 994 N.E.2d 47,2013-Ohio-2649, ΒΆ 25 (5th Dist.). Here, the state objected to ...


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