Ohio News Briefs

Ohio court allows quick sealing of dismissed cases records

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that criminal cases can be sealed immediately on their dismissal even if charges could be refiled later.

The court said Wednesday that state law only requires judges to determine if a timeline for refiling charges has expired.

The unanimous decision said Ohio law doesn’t prevents judges from sealing records if the timeline hasn’t expired. The ruling settled disagreements between two lower courts.

Wednesday’s decision upheld the 2015 request of a man in Fairfield County to seal records in his case after charges including arson, aggravated menacing and domestic violence were dropped.

Cleveland moves to scrap disused pay phones

CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland’s city council has approved spending $200,000 to scrap pay phones that have fallen into disuse across the city.

Cleveland.com reports that the city has an estimated 1,700 outdoor pay phones, many of which don’t work. A city official says some are covered with so much vandalism it’s difficult to know who owns them.

Two council members raised concerns that people without cellphones might still need the pay phones. Councilman Blaine Griffin said the city should consider installing emergency call boxes so that residents can still call 911.

Online school gets OK for dropout prevention designation

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The giant online charter school locked in a legal fight with Ohio officials over millions of dollars has received initial approval to be designated a dropout prevention school.

Cleveland.com reports the Ohio Department of Education approved the change for the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow on Monday, pending an audit to confirm that most of the school’s students are between ages 16 and 21. The school offers kindergarten through high school classes, but says about 53 percent of its students meet the age requirement and would be considered at-risk, qualifying it for dropout prevention status.

Dropout recovery schools get a more lenient state report than traditional schools.

The school is currently fighting an order to refund $60 million to the education department for lax attendance.

2 Ohio colleges apply for medical marijuana testing

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Two colleges have applied to handle testing for Ohio’s nascent medical marijuana program.

A spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Commerce tells The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Central State University in southwest Ohio and Hocking College in southeast Ohio both sent in applications by last Friday’s deadline.

State law mandates only colleges and universities can apply for testing permits for the program’s first year. Some schools have hesitated over concerns about losing federal funding since marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

The commerce department will review applicants and rank them by performance. More than one site could be selected.

The medical marijuana program is expected to launch in September 2018.

The department starts accepting applications from private laboratories from Nov. 27 to Dec. 8.

Inmate files lawsuit against prison after alleged beating

CLEVELAND (AP) — An Ohio inmate who alleges he was severely beaten by a guard is suing a private prison after a grand jury declined to bring a criminal charge against the officer.

Cleveland.com reports that 31-year-old Timothy Davis filed the lawsuit this month in federal court in Cleveland. He has named the private prison’s owner, CoreCivic, the prison warden and other staff members as defendants.

Davis, who was at the Lake Erie Correctional Institution during the alleged assault in September 2016, is serving a 13-year sentence for burglary and theft.

His lawsuit claims his constitutional rights were violated and the prison company failed to properly train and supervise their guards.

A spokesman for CoreCivic says they do not comment on pending litigation.

Davis is seeking an undisclosed amount in damages.

State auditor: Health care company owes Ohio nearly $4M

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s auditor says a home health provider owes the state almost $4 million after state auditors found widespread noncompliance among staff who worked with patients.

Ohio Auditor Dave Yost’s statement Tuesday said that Healing Touch HealthCare Ltd. In southwest Ohio claimed $8.5 million in Medicaid reimbursement from Ohio from 2013 through 2015. State auditors determined the company was overpaid $3.7 million, with interest bringing the total to more than $3.9 million.

Auditors said some aides had no first aid experience. The state says the company told auditors that training centers didn’t provide the right cards reflecting that training.

A message seeking comment was left at the company’s offices in Montgomery County’s Washington Township.

The auditor’s office says findings have been referred to Ohio’s attorney general.

Cincinnati to name street for actress, singer Doris Day

CINCINNATI (AP) — A street in downtown Cincinnati will be named for actress and singer Doris Day, who was born and raised in the southwest Ohio city.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that City Council voted Tuesday to dedicate a portion of Walnut Street on Wednesday in Day’s honor, giving that section of the street an honorary second name of Doris Day Way. Wednesday also will be declared Doris Day Day.

Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld introduced the legislation that he said developed from efforts by Day’s passionate local fan base to honor her. Day is also known for her activism on behalf of animal welfare.

The newspaper reports that the 95-year-old Day, who now lives in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, couldn’t travel but sends her thanks to the city.