COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The ability of a judge to hold a hearing on a juvenile’s sex offender classification status doesn’t automatically expire when the child turns 21, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.
At issue before the court was a Cincinnati-area defendant who sexually abused two young relatives when he was 14, according to court records. The defendant was convicted in juvenile court in 2011 and labeled a juvenile sexual offender, requiring him to register with authorities annually for ten years, the records show.
State law allows juvenile offenders to petition a judge to have a sex offender classification removed. Although the defendant successfully completed his probation requirements and treatment in 2013, his reclassification hearing wasn’t held until shortly before he turned 21 in 2017, records show. The judge’s order continuing the sex offender classification came three months later.
Attorneys for the defendant argue the judge’s jurisdiction over him stopped both when his probation ended, and when he turned 21.
An appeals court agreed, and the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office asked the state high court to overturn that ruling.
The Supreme Court sided with the prosecutor in a unanimous opinion that returned the case to the appeals court for consideration of other issues raised by the defendant not related to the jurisdictional issue.
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