In re A.W.

New Activity

As the result of a plea agreement, A.W. was designated a serious youthful offender and committed to the Department of Youth Services until he turned 18.  At the time of his plea he was told by the court that the adult portion of his sentence would only be invoked if he engaged in further serious wrongdoing while in custody.  Subsequently the court ordered him to complete sex offender treatment to avoid imposition of the adult sentence.  A.W. participated in all treatment offered, but because DYS failed to provide treatment for several months, he was unable to complete the course of treatment.  Although A.W. had participated to the extent possible, when he reached his eighteenth birthday, the court invoked his adult sentence for failure to complete treatment.
 
Juvenile Law Center initially filed an amicus brief in support of A.W. in the Ohio Court of Appeals, arguing that A.W.'s due process right against self-incrimination was violated when the juvenile court used compelled statements made during court-ordered treatment to invoke an adult conviction, adult prison sentence, and adult registration requirements on A.W. The Court of Appeals agreed that "evidence of A.W.'s incriminating statements could not be used as a basis for invoking his adult sentence," but found that "the record contains sufficient evidence to support the trial court's decision to invoke A.W.'s adult sentence without A.W.'s incriminating statements."  

Subsequently, Juvenile Law Center along with the Office of the Ohio Public Defender and the National Juvenile Defender Center filed an amicus brief in the Ohio Supreme Court arguing that the court violated A.W.’s constitutional rights by failing to provide notice at the time of his plea that completing sex offender treatment was a necessary condition to avoid imposition of an adult sentence and that the court violated his rights and Ohio law by imposing the adult sentence for a condition that, due to time constraints, was impossible for A.W. to meet.