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Ohio Prisoner’s Entitled to Notice of Post-Release Control at Sentencing

Ohio Prisoner's Entitled to Notice of Post-Release Control at Sentencing

The Ohio Supreme Court has held that the Ohio Adult Parole Authority (APA) has no authority to place a prisoner on post-release control when the sentencing court failed to notify the prisoner that he would be subject to such control upon release.

Henry Hernandez was convicted of possessing cocaine in an amount exceeding 50 grams but not exceeding 1,000 grams. He received a prison term of seven years; he was not notified that he would be subject to post-release control. Moreover, the sentencing court did not incorporate a period of postrelease control in its journal entries imposing sentence.

Hernandez completed his sentence on February 7, 2005. The APA placed him on five years post-control release. In June 2005, Hernandez was detained by Texas State Troopers after a car he was a passenger in was stopped for speeding and $18,000 was found in the vehicle. The APA determined that Hernandez had violated his post-release control and imposed a 160-day prison sentence. Hernandez sought habeas corpus relief.

The Ohio Supreme Court held that the APA was not authorized "to exercise its post-release control authority if post-release control is not imposed by the trial court in its sentence." Even though the trial court failed to comply with its clear duty to advise Hernandez of the statutorily required post-release control, the APA was without jurisdiction to fulfill that requirement.

Because Hernandez received no notification at sentencing that he would be subject to post-release control, the court found the only remedy was to grant the habeas corpus petition and release him. The Court so ordered. See: Hernandez v. Kelly, 108 Ohio St.3d 395, 844 N.E.2d 301 (Ohio, 2006).

The Ohio prison system is now reviewing its records to determine how many prisoners are improperly confined under circumstances similar to Hernandez's.

Additional Source: Associated Press

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Related legal case

Hernandez v. Kelly