Ohio Supreme Court Decision: Ohio v. Clayborn

May 20, 2010

State v. Clayborn, Slip Opinion (PDF) No. 2010-Ohio-2123
No. 2009-0971 — Submitted February 17, 2010 — Decided May 20, 2010
Watch Oral Arguments in this case.

LUNDBERG STRATTON, J.:
Today this court must decide whether an appeal of an R.C. Chapter 2950 sexual-offender classification is an appeal of a criminal matter that must be filed within 30 days after judgment in the case is entered, or whether it is a civil matter for which the 30-day deadline is tolled until the defendant has been served with a copy of the judgment entry. See App.R. 4(A). Because we hold that an appeal of a R.C. Chapter 2950 sex-offender classification is governed by the time within which the defendant may appeal the criminal judgment (conviction and sentence), we affirm the judgment of the court of appeals, but for reasons different from those of the court of appeals.

Thus far, this court has not yet addressed whether S.B. 10 is punitive or remedial, but our holdings in Cook, Wilson, and Ferguson do not turn the sex offender classification proceedings in the underlying criminal case, which has a criminal case number, into a civil case. While sex-offender-classification proceedings are civil in nature and require a civil manifest-weight-of-the-evidence standard, we hold that an appeal from a sexual offender classification is a civil matter within the context of a criminal case. Therefore, although the court reviews the classification matter on civil standards, the appeal requirements applicable to criminal cases nonetheless apply.

Conclusion
Accordingly, we hold that an appeal of an R.C. Chapter 2950 sexual-offender classification is an appeal in a criminal matter that must be filed pursuant to App.R. 4(A) within 30 days after judgment is entered. Having passed the appeal time in this case, Clayborn may file a motion for leave to appeal pursuant to App.R. 5(A), which the court of appeals may consider under the standards that exist for accepting delayed appeals. Therefore, we affirm the judgment of the court of appeals but for reasons different from those of the appellate court. We note again that the defendant may seek relief through a motion for leave to appeal pursuant to App.R. 5(A).

Judgment affirmed.
O’CONNOR, O’DONNELL, and CUPP, JJ., concur.
PFEIFER and LANZINGER, JJ., concur in judgment only.
BROWN, C.J., not participating.

The issue in Clayborn was simply the amount of time in which an offender who is classified under the Adam Walsh Act has to appeal. Appellate Rule 4 states that in a criminal case, a party has 30 days after entry of judgment to appeal. But in a civil case, a party has up to 30 days after being served with notice of the entry of judgment. In other words, in a civil case if the clerk fails to serve notice of the judgment under Civ.R. 58(B), the appeal time is extended, but in a civil case it’s not. The Court held that sex offender classifications under the Adam Walsh Act can only be appealed under the more stringent criminal rule, not the more lenient civil rule. See next post for analysis: Ohio Supreme Court Tips Hand on Sex Offender Classification Ruling?

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