OHIO — As Ohio judges are expected to deliver their final opinions in the pending lawsuit over a police shooting, a new report on judicial review biases in Ohio is raising questions about the fairness of their rulings.
In the case of an officer who shot and killed a mentally ill man in November, two justices on the state’s high court sided with the city, saying that the city’s actions were justified under the state constitution.
The Supreme Court has since agreed to hear the case.
In the case against a police officer, the two justices agreed with the officer that the officer’s actions “were excessive and unjustified.”
In the past, the Ohio Supreme Court’s judges have ruled on a variety of police shootings and used the courts to strike down state laws that limit the use of deadly force.
In one case, the court ruled that the use the state Constitution was unconstitutional because the law, passed after the 1999 Rodney King beating, prohibited the use deadly force against someone who was “disorderly or menacing.”
That ruling led to a federal lawsuit against the Ohio government and the Ohio Legislature over the constitutionality of the law.
But the Supreme Court justices in the past have also made rulings that were not unanimous, saying police can’t use deadly violence against people who are resisting arrest.
In a ruling last month, for example, Justice Stephen Moore sided with a man who was arrested for allegedly threatening a police sergeant who was trying to detain him.
Moore wrote that the police officer who arrested the man had no legal authority to arrest him, even though he had threatened to shoot him.
But the two other justices dissented from Moore’s decision, saying the officer did have authority to detain the man.
The Supreme Court also ruled in favor of a woman who was charged with disorderly conduct after she refused to leave a bar and was handcuffed by a police dog.
Moore ruled that police officers have a duty to restrain a person who refuses to disperse, even when that person poses a danger to themselves or others.
“It is difficult to imagine that this woman could have complied with a lawful order to leave the bar,” Moore wrote.
But in a separate ruling last week, Moore sided in favor, writing that police can use deadly physical force against a person if they “reasonably believe that they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person is about to use deadly or deadly dangerous physical force.”
The Supreme Judicial Court has never ruled on whether police officers can use lethal force to apprehend someone who has already been arrested.
The Ohio Supreme Courts decision comes on the heels of a ruling from the state Court of Appeals that found the police were justified in using deadly force to arrest a man in July.
The man was charged after a police pursuit in which officers used a Taser and pepper spray to break up a fight.
The court’s decision to take up the case came after the Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association asked the Ohio Judicial Inquiry Commission, an independent commission that reviews police use of force, to review the use-of-force allegations.
The commission was created by a law that took effect in 2003.
In its decision, the Judicial Inquiry Panel said that it has been reviewing the case for three years and found that the Ohio Constitution protects the rights of police officers.
“The commission has determined that the allegations in the complaint are credible and that the actions of the officers were reasonable,” the panel wrote.
The panel’s decision also said that the case was “beyond the scope of the commission’s investigation,” which began in May and is still ongoing.
The Ohio Supreme Judicial Committee has not yet released the full findings of its investigation.
The Justice Department has launched a civil rights investigation into the Cleveland police, but has not found any evidence of misconduct.