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State v. Foster

Supreme Court of Ohio

July 26, 2005, Submitted; August 10, 2005, Submitted; February 10, 2006, Submitted ; February 27, 2006, Decided

Nos. 2004-1568 and 2004-1771, No. 2005-0735, No. 2005-2156



 [**P1]  [*3]  The question presented in these four 1 cases, consolidated sua sponte, is whether Ohio's felony-sentencing structure violates the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution in the manner set forth in Apprendi v. New Jersey (2000), 530 U.S. 466, 120 S.Ct. 2348, 147 L.Ed.2d 435, and Blakely v. Washington (2004), 542 U.S. 296, 124 S.Ct. 2531, 159 L.Ed.2d 403. Because we determine that portions of the applicable statutes are unconstitutional, we apply a severance remedy similar to that adopted in United States v. Booker (2005), 543 U.S. 220, 125 S.Ct. 738, 160 L.Ed.2d 621. This opinion will (1) summarize the Sixth Amendment principles of Apprendi and Blakely, (2) present the histories of the Foster, Quinones, Adams, and Horn appeals, (3) provide an overview of Ohio sentencing statutes, (4) measure the statutes against the requirements of the Sixth Amendment, and (5) apply a remedy for the constitutional violation. [****7] 

I. Sixth Amendment Principles

 [**P2]  ] The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, made applicable to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment, guarantees an accused the right to trial by jury. Duncan v. Louisiana (1968), 391 U.S. 145, 88 S.Ct. 1444, 20 L.Ed.2d 491. Likewise, Section 5, Article I of the Ohio Constitution states that the "right of trial by jury shall be inviolate," and Section 10, Article I confirms the right to "speedy public trial by an impartial jury." These sections preserve for the accused "all essential and distinguishing features of the trial by jury" known to the common law in Ohio. Work v. State (1853), 2 Ohio St. 296, syllabus.

 [**P3]  ] It was not anticipated that jury rights may be implicated in sentencing until Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 120 S.Ct. 2348, 147 L.Ed.2d 435. [****8]  In Apprendi, the Supreme Court of the United States examined New Jersey's "hate crime" statute, which allowed an enhanced sentence if the judge found by a preponderance of the evidence that racial bias was a motive for the offense. After the judge made this finding in his case, Apprendi was sentenced to 12 years in prison, two years above the maximum for the second-degree crime of which he had been convicted. The Supreme Court ruled that Apprendi's sentence, by exceeding the statutory maximum based only on judicial fact-finding, violated his Sixth Amendment rights because the jury, rather than judge, must find all facts essential to punishment. Apprendi held that "[o]ther than the fact of a prior conviction, any fact that increases the penalty for a crime beyond the prescribed [*4]  statutory maximum must be submitted to a jury, and proved beyond a reasonable doubt." Id. at 490, 120 S.Ct. 2348, 147 L.Ed.2d 435.

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109 Ohio St. 3d 1 *; 2006-Ohio-856 **; 845 N.E.2d 470 ***; 2006 Ohio LEXIS 516 ****


Subsequent History:  [****1] Reconsideration denied by State v. Foster, 109 Ohio St. 3d 1408, 2006-Ohio-1703, 845 N.E.2d 524, 2006 Ohio LEXIS 933 (Apr. 12, 2006)

Reconsideration denied by, Sub nomine at State v. Quinones, 109 Ohio St. 3d 1408, 2006-Ohio-1703, 845 N.E.2d 524, 2006 Ohio LEXIS 937 (Apr. 12, 2006)

US Supreme Court certiorari denied by Foster v. Ohio, 549 U.S. 979, 127 S. Ct. 442, 166 L. Ed. 2d 314, 2006 U.S. LEXIS 7863 (Oct. 16, 2006)

Appeal after remand at State v. Adams, 2007-Ohio-2434, 2007 Ohio App. LEXIS 2265 (Ohio Ct. App., Lake County, May 18, 2007)

Appeal after remand at State v. Foster, 2008-Ohio-29, 2008 Ohio App. LEXIS 25 (Ohio Ct. App., Licking County, Jan. 7, 2008)

Prior History: APPEAL from the Court of Appeals for Licking County, No. 03CA95, 2004 Ohio 4209. APPEAL from the Court of Appeals for Cuyahoga County, No. 83720, 2004 Ohio 4485. APPEAL from the Court of Appeals for Lake County, No. 2003-L-110, 2005 Ohio 1107. APPEAL from the Court of Appeals for Ottawa County, No. OT-03-016, 2005 Ohio 5257. null

State v. Horn, 2005-Ohio-5257, 2005 Ohio App. LEXIS 4801 (Ohio Ct. App., Ottawa County, Sept. 30, 2005)State v. Adams, 2005-Ohio-1107, 2005 Ohio App. LEXIS 1075 (Ohio Ct. App., Lake County, Mar. 11, 2005)State v. Foster, 2004-Ohio-4209, 2004 Ohio App. LEXIS 3815 (Ohio Ct. App., Licking County, Aug. 5, 2004)State v. Quinones, 2004-Ohio-4485, 2004 Ohio App. LEXIS 4072 (Ohio Ct. App., Cuyahoga County, Aug. 26, 2004)

Disposition: Judgment accordingly.


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Constitutional Law, Fundamental Rights, Criminal Process, Right to Jury Trial, Criminal Law & Procedure, Sentencing, Ranges, Imposition of Sentence, Statutory Maximums, Guilty Pleas, Allocution & Colloquy, Waiver of Defenses, Findings, Consecutive Sentences, Concurrent Sentences, Sentencing Alternatives, Community Confinement, Adjustments & Enhancements, Criminal History, Prior Felonies, Sentencing Guidelines, Departures From Guidelines, General Overview, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Severability, Separation of Powers, Appeals, Legality Review, Courts, Judicial Precedent