In the case of State ex rel. Gregory v. Toledo, Slip Opinion No. 2023-Ohio-651, the Ohio Supreme Court held that the provisions of R.C. 149.43(B)(8) — which requires inmates to obtain court approval before requesting documents relating to a criminal investigation or prosecution — does not create a blanket rule that an office or official may disregard an entire request when a portion thereof is subject to the prerelease approval of the sentencing judge.
In this case, an inmate argued that a police department improperly refused to provide a digital copy of all body-cam footage from all officers on November 28, 2019, simply because some of the requested footage required court approval pursuant to R.C. 149.43(B)(8). In response, the police department argued that it reasonably believed that all footage must be withheld absent court approval. The Ohio Supreme Court agreed with the inmate.
In support of its decision in favor of the inmate, the Ohio Supreme Court explained that, on the one hand, “the plain language of R.C. 149.43(B)(8) excuses a public office or official from having to provide a record when it relates to a criminal proceeding” but, on the other hand, no reasonable official would believe that R.C. 149.43(B)(8) would “create a blanket rule that an office or official may disregard an entire request when a portion thereof is subject to the prerelease approval of the sentencing judge.” 2023-Ohio-651 at ¶ 13.
To read this case, click here.
Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.
Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always-changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.