Can Unsolicited Letters Be Considered Records for a Judge to Sentence a Defendant ?
In State ex. rel. Beacon Journal Publishing Co. v. Whitmore (1998), 83 Ohio St.3d 61, 697 N.E.2d 640, respondent, a judge, received numerous unsolicited letters from the public regarding a criminal defendant before the judge.
Although the letters were sent to the judge in an attempt to influence the judge's sentencing decision with respect to that defendant, the Ohio Supreme Court found that respondent did not rely on the unsolicited letters in carrying out her duty of sentencing a defendant.
Therefore, the Court found that the unsolicited letters were not records subject to the disclosure requirements in R.C. 149.43.