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Ohio : State v. Bodyke Slip Opinion No. 2010-Ohio-2424

June 3, 2010

State v. Bodyke, Slip Opinion No. 2010-Ohio-2424
Ohio Supreme Court Rules Senate Bill 10 to be unconstitutional on Separation of Powers violation.

R.C. Chapter 2950 — Sex offenders — R.C. 2950.031 and 2950.032 violate separation of powers by requiring executive branch to reclassify sex offenders already classified by court order — Only appellate courts are constitutionally permitted to review or modify court judgments — Executive branch may not reopen final judgments — Stare decisis — Doctrine not controlling in cases presenting constitutional question —
R.C. 2950.031 and 2950.032 severed.

Case No. 2008-2502 — Submitted November 4, 2009 — Decided June 3, 2010.
APPEAL from the Court of Appeals for Huron County, Nos. H-07-040, H-07-041, and H-07-042, 2008-Ohio-6387.

1. The power to review and affirm, modify, or reverse other courts’ judgments is strictly limited to appellate courts. (Section 3(B)(2), Article IV, Ohio Constitution, applied.)

2. R.C. 2950.031 and 2950.032, which require the attorney general to reclassify sex offenders who have already been classified by court order under former law, impermissibly instruct the executive branch to review past decisions of the judicial branch and thereby violate the separation-ofpowers doctrine.

3. R.C. 2950.031 and 2950.032, which require the attorney general to reclassify sex offenders whose classifications have already been adjudicated by a court and made the subject of a final order, violate the separation-ofpowers doctrine by requiring the opening of final judgments.

Although we discharge our duty with great respect for the role of the legislature, Kennedy v. Mendoza-Martinez (1963), 372 U.S. 144, 159, 83 S.Ct. 554, 9 L.Ed.2d 644, for the reasons that follow we are compelled to find that R.C. 2950.031 and 2950.032, the reclassification provisions in the AWA, are unconstitutional because they violate the separation-of-powers doctrine. As a remedy, we strike R.C. 2950.031 and 2950.032, hold that the reclassifications of sex offenders by the attorney general are invalid, and reinstate the prior judicial classifications of sex offenders.

We will have more on this very important ruling later today.
See previous post: Ohio Supreme Court Says State May Not Reclassify Convicted Sex Offenders

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