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Introduction to Conditions of Probation in Ohio

NCJ Number
Capital University Law Review Volume: 9 Issue: 4 Dated: (Summer 1980) Pages: 639-681
L P Leggette
Date Published
43 pages
Focusing on limitations to judicial determinations regarding probation conditions in Ohio, this article discusses probationary options, availability of probation, propriety of common probation conditions, and procedures for probation revocation.
In felony cases a judge has four options that permit some type of probationary treatment. Under formal probation the judge imposes an indefinite sentence of imprisonment then suspends the execution of sentence, permitting the offender to stay out of jail as long as he abides by certain probation conditions. The second option, split sentencing, is standard probation with a special condition, in that the offender must serve a definite term of imprisonment of not more than 6 months in a couny jail or workhouse. The third option, suspension of all or part of a fine, is probationary only in the broad sense; the judge suspends the fine but is not required to place the offender on formal probation. Under shock probation the judge may order probation after the offender has been sent to a State institution and has served for a few months. Probationary devices available in misdemeanor cases are generally the same as in the felony cases. In addition to these general provisions, Ohio has several special treatment options for offenders addicted to drugs or alcohol. The legal concept of probation underwent a significant change in 1974, when the present criminal code took effect. Before that time the probation order was not part of the judgment in criminal cases, and no judgment could be made without the imposition of a sentence. The judge may not order probation in cases involving either a nonprobationable offender, such as a repeat offender, or a nonprobationable offense, such as murder or rape. Special conditions of probation, such as victim compensation, tend to address the specific needs of the offender. Courts have held that conditions must not be unreasonable, must not violate a probationer's constitutional rights, and must not be used to circumvent restrictions on court authority. Probation revocation is authorized by the State's statutory provisions and must follow constitutional requirements set forth in Gagnon v. Scarpelli (1973). Footnotes and exhibits are included.