Ohio Supreme Court

photo of Whetstone High School

The Ohio Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that a student’s constitutional rights were not violated by a search of an unattended book bag that led to the discovery of a gun.

In 2013, officials at Columbus’ Whetstone High School found a gun in 18-year-old Joshua Polk’s backpack. They were led to Polk after first finding bullets and an item that had Polk’s name on it in another bookbag left on a school bus.

Prosecutor Tim McGinty

The Ohio Supreme Court says five Cleveland police supervisors may face trial in East Cleveland on misdemeanor dereliction of duty charges. For Ohio Public Radio, WCPN’s Nick Castele reports the supervisors were charged in connection with a 2012 cross-town chase that ended in 137 gunshots.

Cuyahoga County prosecutors accused the supervisors of failing to control the chase. It involved dozens of police cars and ended with the fatal shooting of an unarmed motorist and his passenger, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams.


A two-year-old state law that limits the use of traffic cameras went before the Ohio Supreme Court today, in a case filed by cities who claim the law amounts to a ban on those devices. 

More than 20 cities put up cameras to catch drivers running red lights, speeding or committing other traffic violations.

A few of those camera programs were repealed by voters. Most other cities shut off their cameras after the state law passed, saying it has such severe restrictions it basically outlawed those cameras.

photo of Ohio Supreme Court

A city is not immune in the case of a crash involving a stop sign that was obscured by a tree. That’s the finding of the Ohio Supreme Court.

In May, 2011, a driver ran a stop sign in Findlay and caused a crash. She was cited, but said she didn’t see the stop sign until it was too late because it was blocked by leaves and branches from a tree.

photo of Supreme Court bench

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled an experienced police officer’s testimony is sufficient to prove a driver was under the influence of drugs. 

The ruling comes from a 2012 case in Dayton, when Clinton Richardson rear ended a car.


The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled records of most criminal investigations are public records once the trial is over.  

In 2013, the Innocence Project requested criminal investigation records from the Columbus Division of Police.

The city would not provide some of those records, arguing they could be withheld until all proceedings were concluded, even if the defendant was not actively appealing his case. 

Photo of the Ohio Supreme Court's main courtroom

The Ohio Supreme Court has sharply split over whether a 112-year sentence for a teenager convicted of kidnapping and raping a Youngstown State student in 2001 is constitutional. The court ended up ruling against what is effectively a life sentence.

The sentence for 15-year-old Brandon Moore means he wouldn’t be eligible for parole until he’s 92.

In the majority opinion, Justice Paul Pfeifer pointed to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that a juvenile not convicted of murder who’s demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation must be given a meaningful opportunity for release.

Photo of the Ohio Supreme Court's main courtroom

The Ohio Supreme Court says a state law capping damages in sex-abuse cases is constitutional. That means a 15-year-old Delaware County girl raped by her pastor in 2008 will get a quarter of a million dollars – not the $3.5 million the jury awarded her family. 

The girl’s lawyer had argued the $250,000 cap is unconstitutional, especially when it comes to underage victims of sex crimes. But a majority of the court agreed those caps on non-injury cases passed by state lawmakers in 2005 are constitutional. 

Dashboard cameras

The Ohio Supreme Court says – with few exceptions – footage from police dash-cams are public records. 

A unanimous state high court ruled today (Tuesday) that the Ohio Highway Patrol should have immediately released more than an hour of video from a 2015 police chase. The state had maintained the footage was confidential because it could contain evidence.

photo of Pat Fischer and John O'Donnell

All the statewide races on this month’s ballot were decided by fairly big margins, except one.

But the contest between Ohio Supreme Court justice between Republican appeals court judge Pat Fischer of Cincinnati and Democratic Cuyahoga County Common Pleas judge John O’Donnell is now over. 

King's label was among the first to produce rock and roll

The Ohio Supreme Court today  issued a reprieve that could save the life of an historic Cincinnati building.   The two-story-red brick structure looks decrepit today but it was there that, arguably, the first rock and roll song was recorded.  Mark Urycki from member station WCPN reports…

You can quibble over what constitutes the very first rock song but a good case could be made for Wynonie Harris’s 1948 recording “Good Rocking Tonight.”

photo of death penalty gavel

A group that fights for an end to the death penalty in Ohio has issued a new report showing a task force’s recent recommendations are not being implemented.

Photo of the Ohio Supreme Court's main courtroom

  The Ohio Supreme Court has issued a proposed amendment to provide some clarification for lawyers who are trying to advise clients about the state’s new medical marijuana law. 

The court’s suggested amendment to the Rules of Professional Conduct says a lawyer can assist a client regarding conduct that it permitted under the new state law, but the lawyer has to advise the client of related federal law, which says marijuana is illegal. 

  Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources said the boundaries of privately owned on the Lake Erie Shore stopped at the water’s edge of the high-water mark of the lake.  That was regardless of where deeds showed property lines to have been before erosion or water level changes.   In 2012, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled against ODNR. But four more years have passed as another aspect of the case played out.

  The Ohio Supreme Court today heard from attorneys in two cases revolving around the question of whether police body camera footage is public record. 

The first case made nationwide headlines when a white former University of Cincinnati police officer fatally shot an unarmed black man during a minor traffic stop. In the other case, state troopers initially refused to release footage of a high-speed chase. The Cincinnati Enquirer sued.

The state’s highest court will decide whether internet retailers who sell products in Ohio but have no offices or employees here have to pay a tax that nearly all Ohio businesses pay.

Statehouse Correspondent Karen Kasler reports the question before the court centers on what the definition of "doing business" in Ohio actually is.

Photo of the Ohio Supreme Court's main courtroom

A group that recently announced it would go to the ballot with a package of ethics reforms for lawmakers – including a pay cut – is now going to court. 

The group Ethics First – You Decide Ohio wants a single ballot issue composed of six proposals on pay and rules for state lawmakers.

Secretary of State Jon Husted noted the group wasn’t at the Ballot Board meeting where the package was split into three proposals.

photo of Rob Walgate

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that all but one opponent of recently expanded gambling in the state have no standing to challenge the constitutionality of casino and racino betting in court.

Photo of Romell Broom

The Ohio Supreme Court says state prison officials can make a second attempt to execute a condemned killer. For Ohio Public Radio, WOSU’s Steve Brown reports.

The failed 2009 lethal injection of Romell Broom, 59, made national headlines after executioners couldn’t find a suitable vein despite 18 tries over two hours.


When a person is found guilty of violent charges such as rape or kidnapping, a judge can sentence that criminal to prison but can’t stop them from trying to contact the victim at the same time. A lawmaker wants to close that so-called loophole.

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled last year that a separate court proceeding must take place if a victim wants to get a restraining order against the person sent to jail for that crime.