Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Cincinnati loses OTR case in U.S. Supreme Court

By Derrick DePledge
Enquirer Washington Bureau

        WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear Cincinnati's appeal of an Ohio court ruling against the city law that created a drug-exclusion zone in Over-the-Rhine.

        The court's decision lets stand an Ohio Supreme Court ruling in October that the law is an unconstitutional restriction on the freedom of movement.

        City Council created the drug-exclusion zone in 1996 in the neighborhood, which at the time accounted for about 20 percent of the city's drug crime.

        People arrested on drug offenses could be barred from the neighborhood for 90 days and for one year if convicted.

        The intent of the law was to discourage repeat offenders from returning to the drug trade.

        “This was a way to help restore the quality of the neighborhood,” said Richard Ganulin, an assistant city solicitor.

        George Burnett, convicted in 1998 for possession of drug paraphernalia, was ordered to stay out of Over-the-Rhine for a year, but police spotted him in the neighborhood a few months later. He was arrested and convicted of criminal trespass.

        Mr. Burnett challenged his trespass conviction before an appeals court and lost. He then appealed to the state Supreme Court, which ruled 6-1 in his favor. The state court found that the city had a compelling interest in reducing drug crime but that the law placed an onerous restriction on movement.

        “A person subject to the exclusion ordinance may not enter a drug-exclusion zone to speak with counsel, to visit family, to attend church, to receive emergency medical care, to go to a grocery store, or just to stand on a street corner and look at a blue sky,” Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer wrote.


Cinergy could blast into past
Race redrew district, tape says
Officers in cruiser shot at on Winton Terrace street
Party's over? Derby security to clamp down
Fr. Hopp out of ministry
Hospital offers quick service - or lunch
Hypnosis provides valuable police tool
Man indicted on drug charges
PULFER: Olympian is back on her feet
RADEL: High school discipline not easy as pie
Some Good News
Field narrows for Loveland position
Kilburn foes lag in funds for primary
Last call at Tag's Tap Room?
Vandals deface airport curbs
Warren deputy accused in school sex case quits
Awaiting trial, girl out of jail
- Cincinnati loses OTR case in U.S. Supreme Court
Dozens arrested in drug sweep
Former police officer says he'll repay misappropriated funds
Growth plan divides council
Late state budget forces layoffs at schools
Next 4 years come down to 1 day
Parishioners meet to discuss abuse allegation
Speaker Richards eyes governor's job
Trial opens in Craven case
Wyoming says school levy a necessity
Bush calls for mental health coverage
Stratton: Some don't get justice
Tristate A.M. report