R.C. Chapter 2950 Interpretation
In State v. Williams (2000), 88 Ohio St.3d 513, 2000 Ohio 428, 728 N.E.2d 342, the Supreme Court of Ohio rejected the argument that an earlier version of R.C. Chapter 2950 placed defendants in double jeopardy. Id. at 528. Citing its previous decision in State v. Cook (1998), 83 Ohio St.3d 404, 1998 Ohio 291, 700 N.E.2d 570, the Court concluded that, "because Cook held that R.C. Chapter 2950 is neither 'criminal,' nor a statute that inflicts punishment, R.C. Chapter 2950 does not violate the Double Jeopardy Clauses of the United States and Ohio Constitutions." Williams at 528.
The Court has reached a similar conclusion with respect to the current version of R.C. Chapter 2950. See Honey at P12-19. on that basis, we conclude that application of the Adam Walsh Act does not place an offender in double jeopardy. See Williams at 528.
In State v. Wilson, 113 Ohio St.3d 382, 2007 Ohio 2202, 865 N.E.2d 1264, the Ohio Supreme Court clarified the standard of review applicable to sex offender classifications under former R.C. Chapter 2950.
The Supreme Court held that "because sex-offender-classification proceedings under R.C. Chapter 2950 are civil in nature, a trial court's determination in a sex-offender-classification hearing must be reviewed under a civil manifest-weight-of-the-evidence standard and may not be disturbed when the trial judge's findings are supported by some competent, credible evidence." Id., at the syllabus.
The civil manifest-weight-of-the-evidence standard "affords the lower court more deference than the criminal standard." Id. at P26.
"Thus, a judgment supported by 'some competent, credible evidence going to all the essential elements of the case' must be affirmed." Id., citing C.E. Morris Co. v. Foley Constr. Co. (1978), 54 Ohio St.2d 279, 376 N.E.2d 578.
Former R.C. 2950.01(E)(1) defined a sexual predator as "a person who has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to committing a sexually oriented offense and is likely to engage in the future in one or more sexually oriented offenses."
The state has the burden of proving that the offender is a sexual predator by clear and convincing evidence. Wilson, supra, at P20; former R.C. 2950.09(B)(4).
"Clear and convincing evidence is evidence that 'will produce in the mind of the trier of facts a firm belief or conviction as to the facts sought to be established.'" Wilson at P20, quoting Cross v. Ledford (1954), 161 Ohio St. 469, 120 N.E.2d 118, paragraph three of the syllabus.
The "clear-and-convincing standard requires a higher degree of proof than a 'preponderance of the evidence,' but less than 'evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.'" Id., quoting State v. Ingram (1992), 82 Ohio App.3d 341, 346, 612 N.E.2d 454.
Thus, "a reviewing court will examine the record to determine whether the trier of fact had sufficient evidence before it to satisfy the requisite degree of proof." State v. Schiebel (1990), 55 Ohio St.3d 71, 74, 564 N.E.2d 54.
In State v. Cook, 83 Ohio St.3d 404, 1998 Ohio 291, 700 N.E.2d 570, the Ohio Supreme Court addressed whether former R.C. Chapter 2950, as applied to conduct prior to the effective date of the statute, violated the Ohio Constitution's prohibition on retroactive laws and the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution.
The Supreme Court noted that former R.C. Chapter 2950 sought to "protect the safety and general welfare of the people of this state," which was a "paramount governmental interest." Id. at 417.
It held that because the statute was remedial rather than punitive, the registration provisions of former R.C. Chapter 2950 did not violate the Ohio Constitution's ban on retroactive laws. Id. at 413.
The Supreme Court reasoned that in light of the statute's remedial nature, and because there was no clear proof that the statute was punitive in its effect, the registration and notification provisions of former R.C. Chapter 2950 did not violate the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution. Id. at 423.
Two years later, in State v. Williams, 88 Ohio St.3d 513, 2000 Ohio 428, 728 N.E.2d 342, the Ohio Supreme Court addressed whether the registration and notification provisions of former R.C. Chapter 2950 amounted to double jeopardy.
The Supreme Court held that because former R.C. Chapter 2950 was "neither 'criminal,' nor a statute that inflicts punishment," former R.C. Chapter 2950 did not violate the Double Jeopardy Clauses of the United States and Ohio Constitutions. Id. at 528.
Subsequently, in State v. Wilson, 113 Ohio St.3d 382, 2007 Ohio 2202, 865 N.E.2d 1264, the Ohio Supreme Court reiterated that "the sex-offender-classification proceedings under former R.C. Chapter 2950 are civil in nature." Id. at P32.