Wednesday, December 31, 2003

A. Sweeney, Supreme Court justice

By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

INDIAN HILL - Retired Ohio Supreme Court Justice Asher William Sweeney wrote two high-profile decisions in the early 1990s that were important to all workers in the state.

When the General Assembly passed bills that restricted tort claims for workplace injuries, Justice Sweeney wrote the court's decisions for Brady v. Safety-Kleen Corp. and Sorrell v. Quality Stores, in which several of the laws were declared unconstitutional.

Justice Sweeney was also part of the majority that narrowly upheld several controversial last-minute commutations of death sentences by then-governor Richard F. Celeste.

Justice Sweeney died early Sunday morning at Jewish Hospital. The Indian Hill resident was 83.

"Asher Sweeney was a close associate and friend," said Ohio Chief Justice Thomas Moyer. "His years of experience and his common sense made him a valuable member of the Supreme Court."

Justice Sweeney's public service spanned some 50 years.

Success came when he was elected to the Supreme Court in 1976. He was re-elected in 1982 and 1988.

Justice Sweeney was forced to retire because of his age in 1994. Moyer appointed him a commissioner for the Ohio Court of Claims, where he helped administer the Victims of Crime Compensation Fund.

"That was the way Dad was - his entire life was in public service," said his son, Randall Sweeney of Westerville, Ohio.

Justice Sweeney's wife, Bertha, died in 1998.

In addition to his son, Randall, survivors include: two other sons, Ron of Centerville, Ohio, and Gary of Indian Hill; and a daughter, Karen Cody of West Jefferson, Ind.; five brothers; three sisters; seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. A private service will be in Salem, Ohio. Burial will be at Salem Grandview Cemetery.


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