Hamilton County Prosecutor appeals sentences for juveniles

WCPO and the Cincinnati Enquirer report that Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters has filed appeals to the First District in several cases heard by Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge John Williams. At issue is whether giving the juveniles credit for time served in non-secure facilities before sending them to the higher-security Department of Youth Services (DYS) violates Ohio law.

The cases involve juveniles who were sentenced to time in the state Department of Youth Services facilities for felony crimes, but had these sentences suspended so that they could participate in counseling and treatment at non-secure facilities. In three of these cases the juveniles either ran away from the non-secure facilities, assaulted staff members or violated other rules and were sent to complete their sentences at DYS.

In the fourth case the juvenile did not exhibit behavioral problems, but the state had previously argued that he shouldn't have been sent to the non-secure facility at all because his crime of aggravated robbery with gun specifications required a mandatory commitment to DYS. The First District agreed and sent him to DYS.

When the juveniles were ordered to DYS Judge Williams gave them credit for the time they served in the non-secure facilities. Deters alleges that this is improper under the law, and that subtracting the time juveniles serve in less secure facilities from the time they are required to serve in the higher security facility diminishes the threat of incarceration  in DYS.