Ohio News Briefs

Ohio court: Juvenile crimes can’t enhance adult sentences

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s Supreme Court has ruled that prior juvenile convictions cannot be used to increase the severity of charges or the length of prison sentences those individuals receive as adults.

The justices ruled 4-3 Thursday that treating cases from juvenile court as prior convictions for adult-sentencing purposes is unconstitutional and “fundamentally unfair.”

The Columbus Dispatch reports Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger, writing for the majority, said juvenile court proceedings are civil proceedings intended to protect the development of those under age 18 while they are rehabilitated. She said adult felony sentences are intended to protect the public and punish offenders.

The ruling said prior juvenile convictions can’t be used to enhance prison sentences of adults because children facing delinquency charges have no right to a jury trial.

Justice Terrence O’Donnell, writing for the dissent, said six federal decisions and five state supreme courts have determined crimes committed as juveniles can be used later to sentence adults.

O’Donnell said lawmakers should be responsible for changing the state law and that it was inappropriate for the court to do so.

The ruling overturned a lower court’s decision in the case of Adrian Hand Jr. Hand pleaded no contest as an adult to three felonies while using a gun. The judge considered a juvenile court adjudication against him as a prior felony conviction and added several years onto his prison sentence.

Heroin overdoses this week top 60 in Cincinnati

CINCINNATI (AP) — Police in the Cincinnati area say a surge in heroin overdoses has topped 60 cases this week.

WLWT-TV reports there was a death Tuesday of a man found in a parked car. First responders have been able to revive other overdosers with naloxone opioid antidote, sometimes requiring multiple doses.

Police are trying to find the source of the drug being circulated, which they suspect has a mixture of heroin and another strong substance such as an animal tranquilizer.

The head of the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition says that its task force is working with Cincinnati police. Newtown Police Chief Tom Synan warns dealers they have “the full and undivided attention” of the task force that includes state and federal agencies.

Cincinnati Officer Ryan Lay calls the overdose wave “complete madness.”

Authorities: Man, 79, dies after tractor rolls onto him

COSHOCTON, Ohio (AP) — A man is dead after officials say a John Deere tractor rolled on top of him in central Ohio.

The Coshocton Tribune says 79-year-old Kenneth Shaw was driving his tractor in Warsaw on Wednesday afternoon when the tractor went off the road and threw Shaw off the vehicle.

The Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office says the tractor then rolled onto the Warsaw man.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

FDA: Listeria found in Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams kitchen

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration says Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is battling listeria again, a problem that disrupted the company’s business last year.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the FDA says in a letter to the company’s CEO that the agency found listeria in a production kitchen after two out of 75 swabs taken in January and February came back positive.

The FDA says the positive swabs came from prep-room and wash room floors and no listeria was found in the Columbus-based company’s products.

Jeni’s says in a blog post that its products remain free of listeria.

Jeni’s shut down twice last year after listeria was found in a pint of ice cream in Nebraska and in Jeni’s kitchen. A second finding on a kitchen floor occurred later that year.