Ohio Court Rules Restraining Order Must Be Served

The Ohio Supreme Court rules a restraining order must be served before a violation occurs.(Photo: S. Falcow (Flickr))
The Ohio Supreme Court rules a restraining order must be served before a violation occurs.(Photo: S. Falcow (Flickr))

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that to sustain a conviction for a restraining-order violation, prosecutors must prove the defendant was served with the document before the alleged violation.

The 4-3 decision Tuesday reverses a 10th District Court of Appeals ruling upholding a man’s conviction for violating a civil protection order requested by a Columbus woman. Robert Smith was found guilty in 2010 of violating the order.

Smith appealed, saying the state didn’t prove he “recklessly” disobeyed the order because he hadn’t been served before going to the woman’s home.

Tuesday’s opinion says the state doesn’t deny not serving the order until after Smith went to the woman’s house, where she said he tried to choke her.

Franklin County’s prosecutor says his office cannot appeal the case further.

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