The Ohio Supreme Court ruled yesterday that a court cannot impose both a no-contact order and a prison term for the same felony conviction. The case before the Court involved David M. Anderson, who was convicted of kidnapping and rape in 2012 and was sentenced to 17 years in prison as a result. The trial court also ordered that Anderson have no contact with the victim in the case. Anderson appealed, arguing that the court could not impose both sanctions.
The Ninth District upheld the sanctions, stating that while the statute does not expressly permit imposing both a no-contact order and a prison term, it does not prohibit it either. This decision conflicted with the 8th District, which had previously found that both sanctions could not be imposed for the same crime. The Supreme Court accepted the conflict case for review.
The Court held that no statute expressly provides for a no-contact order as part of a felony sentence, and that such an order is actually a type of community control sanction. The Court found that prison sentences and community control sanctions are alternatives and cannot both be imposed for the same felony offense. In making these findings the Court examined the sentencing statutes themselves and the legislative intent of the General Assembly, and wrote that,
We hold that as a general rule, when a prison term and community control are possible sentences for a particular felony offense, absent an express exception, the court must impose either a prison term or a community-control sanction or sanctions.
Justice Kennedy penned the agreement for the Court and was joined by Justices O’Connor, Pfeifer, O’Donnell, French, and O’Neill. Justice Lanzinger concurred in judgment only. For more information about this case see this article from Court News Ohio and the online docket, available here.
Photo credit: Pixabay