YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Supreme Court of Ohio ruled that a man shouldn’t have been tried as an adult for crimes he allegedly committed as a juvenile in Mahoning County.
In a unanimous decision, the Court said the Mahoning County Court of Common Pleas had no authority to indict and try Frankie Hudson, Jr. when he was 20 for crimes he allegedly committed as a juvenile. It rejected an attempt by the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office to avoid pursuing charges against Hudson in juvenile court by dropping the charges against him and refiling the charges when Hudson was 22 years old.
Writing for the Court, Justice Sharon L. Kennedy said the juvenile court should have exclusive jurisdiction over the case.
In August 2013, Hudson was about to turn 21 when he was indicted in the common pleas court general division for crimes he allegedly committed three and four years earlier. The indictment included charges from events when he was 17 and 18 years old.
The offenses were split into two groups and were to be tried separately. On the charges stemming from the adult offenses, Hudson was acquitted of two charges but found guilty of possessing a weapon under disability and was sentenced to three years in prison.
In 2015, the prosecutor’s office asked the trial court to dismiss the charges stemming from the juvenile offenses without prejudice but then sought to have a grand jury reindict Hudson for the same acts allegedly committed when he was 17.
While those charges were pending, the grand jury indicted Hudson on additional charges, all related to acts he allegedly committed when he was over 18. Hudson sought to dismiss the last indictment, arguing the charges belonged in juvenile court and the court’s general division had no jurisdiction to try the case.
The trial court denied his request. Hudson agreed to plead no contest to the crimes he committed as a juvenile in exchange for dismissing the added adult charges. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Hudson appealed his conviction for the juvenile charges to the Seventh District Court of Appeals, which affirmed the trial court.
Hudson then appealed to the Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case.
The Court reversed the Seventh District’s decision and instructed the trial court to dismiss the second indictment against Hudson.