Briefing Room


Professor Federle to argue case before Ohio Supreme Court

January 4, 2008 | Faculty

Ohio State University Moritz College of Law Professor Katherine Hunt Federle will argue a case Wednesday, Jan. 9, before the Ohio Supreme Court.  The case, State of Ohio v. D.H., questions whether juveniles who receive adult criminal sentences in addition to their juvenile dispositions are entitled to the same 6th Amendment protections as adults.  Specifically, the court is expected to determine whether the statute, which authorizes a judge to impose a sentence beyond the normal statutory maximum based on a finding of fact made by the judge and not the jury, is unconstitutional.  Under federal and state constitutional law, the imposition of a sentence greater than the statutory maximum without the necessary factual findings from the jury violates the right to counsel in criminal cases.  Ohio’s Third and Tenth District Courts of Appeals have disagreed whether the same requirements should carry into juvenile court.  Last year, the Ohio Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

“This case is incredibly important,” said Federle, who is representing Ohio State’s Justice for Children Project in the case.  “We must recognize once and for all that there are constitutional limits on what the state may do to children.”

The Wednesday arguments can be watched live via the Ohio Supreme Court web site at this link.  Arguments for the day, which include four cases, are expected to begin at 9 a.m.

Professor Federle, who serves as the director of the Justice for Children Project, assumed an additional role this year as the director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Law & Policy Studies.  Federle, who joined the Ohio State faculty in 1998, is a widely recognized leader in children’s rights and how the law relates to children.