Sunday, December 8, 2013

State v. Carswell case brief

State v. Carswell case brief summary
871 N.E.2d 547 (2007)

Defendant was charged in the trial court with domestic violence, under R.C. § 2919.25, against a victim to whom he was not married. The trial court found the indictment unconstitutional, under Ohio Constitutional art. XV, § 11, and dismissed it, but the Court of Appeals for Warren County (Ohio) reversed. Defendant sought further review.

The trial court held the domestic violence statute's protection for a "person living as a spouse" recognized a relationship approximating marriage, contrary to Ohio Constitutional art. XV, § 11.


  • The supreme court held art. XV, § 11 did not implicitly repeal R.C. 2919.25 because the two were not clearly incompatible as Ohio Constitutional art. XV, § 11 barred the state's creation or recognition of a legal status for unmarried persons bearing the attributes of marriage, but R.C. 2919.25 created no special or additional rights, privileges or benefits for family or household members. 
  • Cohabitation created a status to which the statute extended protection, but the state did not create cohabitation. R.C. 2919.25's intent was to protect persons from violence by close family members or household residents, while Ohio Constitutional art. XV, § 11's intent was to bar the creation or recognition of a legal status approximating marriage. 
  • The two did not conflict. 
  • "Person living as a spouse" was only a class of persons for purposes of the domestic-violence statutes. It did not create or recognize a legal relationship approximating marriage. 
  • Persons in the "living as a spouse" category had no marital rights or duties.
The judgment of the court of appeals was affirmed.

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