Writ of Habeas Corpus Under R.C. 2725.04

In Watkins v. Collins, 111 Ohio St.3d 425, 2006 Ohio 5082, 857 N.E.2d 78, twelve Ohio inmates filed an action seeking a writ of habeas corpus under R.C. 2725.04 to compel the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to release them from prison. Each of the petitioners was incarcerated for having violated the terms of his postrelease control. The petitioners argued that the trial courts never properly imposed postrelease control because the language contained in their sentencing entries mistakenly included discretionary language concerning their terms of postrelease control. Because the trial courts misrepresented the mandatory nature of their postrelease control, the petitioners claimed that they could not be imprisoned for the violation. The Supreme Court found that, although each of the petitioner's sentencing entries contained discretionary language, the entries were "sufficient to afford notice to a reasonable person that the courts were authorizing postrelease control as part of each petitioner's sentence. A reasonable person in the position of any of the petitioners would have had sufficient notice that postrelease control could be imposed following the expiration of the person's sentence." Id. at P51. The Supreme Court further found that this holding is "consistent with the preeminent purpose of R.C. 2967.28--that offenders subject to postrelease control know at sentencing that their liberty could continue to be restrained after serving their initial sentences." Id. at P52. The Supreme Court concluded, "the petitioners' sentencing entries, although they mistakenly included wording that suggested that imposition of postrelease control was discretionary, contained sufficient language to authorize the Adult Parole Authority to exercise postrelease control over the petitioners." Id. at P53.