Franklin County Criminal Law Casebook
Reproduced with permission from
David L. Strait and the Franklin County Public Defender Office
Also see Complicity;
Statute of Limitations; Culpable
Organizations and corporations
R.C. 2901.03 -- Common law offenses abrogated.
R.C. 2901.11 -- Criminal law jurisdiction.
R.C. 2901.13 -- Limitation of criminal
prosecutions (statute of limitations).
R.C. 2901.21 -- Requirements for criminal
R.C. 2901.23 -- Organizational criminal
R.C. 2901.24 -- Personal accountability for
Maple Heights v. Ephraim,
178 Ohio App. 3d 439,
2008-Ohio-4576 -- Municipal ordinance made parents punishable for the
delinquent acts of their children. (1) Ordinance was an exercise of police
power, not self-government, and served a valid purpose. (2)
is a general law. That provision requires a voluntary act, or omission to
perform an act or duty, and proof of a culpable mental state. (3) While
vicarious criminal liability applies to corporation through the doctrine of
respondeat superior, and to a degree under conspiracy laws, generally personal
responsibility is required as expressed in
(4) Thus the ordinance and statute are in conflict. Court does not decide
State v. Tomaino (1999), 135 Ohio App. 3d
309 -- Video store owner was prosecuted for disseminating matter harmful to
juveniles after clerk rented videos to a seventeen year old. Prosecutor's theory
of reckless supervision was not supported by the statute and amounted to a
common law crime. Prosecution as an aider and abettor might be possible on
retrial, or state could resort to a more appropriate statute cited in the
State v. Cook (1997), 117 Ohio App. 3d
205 -- Defendant sold urine and blood stained mattress without required tag.
Court rejects claim sale was not made "as is" since 90-day return policy
operated as a warranty.
State v. Gaul (1997), 117 Ohio App. 3d
839 -- Prosecution of county treasurer after setbacks in investment of public
funds found not to have amounted to an offense under
R.C. 2921.44, the
dereliction of duty statute.
State v. Neuvirth (1988), 53 Ohio App. 3d
27 -- It is not an offense under Ohio law to drive in violation of license
restrictions imposed by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles. The traffic code
defines no such offense and
R.C. 2901.03 requires that criminal offenses are
only as set forth in the Revised Code. Also see Dayton v. Anthony (1979),
14 Ohio Ops. 3d 120.
Return to top of
Organizations and corporations
Cleveland v. Washington Mutual Bank,
125 Ohio St. 3d 541,
2010-Ohio-2219. Syllabus: “R.C.
2941.47 does not authorize a trial of a corporation in absentia in a
criminal proceeding that is initiated by affidavit or complaint in a municipal
court.” Case involved housing code violations. Bank owned properties, but didn’t
defend when charged by complaint. It did appeal following conviction in
State v. Homesales, Inc., 190 Ohio App. 3d 385,
2010-Ohio-5572 – Trial court refused to allow property owner to be tried in
absentia. Municipal ordinance provides this can be done, but it is in conflict
with the general law of the state, specifically Crim. R. 43(A) and Article I,
State v. Black on Black Crime, Inc.
(2000), 136 Ohio App. 3d 436 -- City mistakenly wired in excess of $600,000 to
the account of a nonprofit corporation. Funds were dissipated before the mistake
was discovered and return demanded. Theft conviction of the corporation itself
State v. CSX Transportation, Inc. (2000),
139 Ohio App. 3d 589 -- Railroad was subject to being fined under Title 29's
organizational criminal penalties statute for a non-Title 29 offense.
Akron v. Holland Oil Company 146 Ohio App.
2001-Ohio-1415 -- Corporation was prosecuted for underage sale of
alcohol in violation of
R.C. 4301.69(A). At the pretrial the state was allowed
to amend the complaint to allege a violation of
R.C. 2901.23. Before trial the
prosecutor realized that section related to organizational liability, but does
not define an offense. No prejudice in allowing amendment back to original form.
Initial complaint and a fax indicating amendment would be sought gave adequate
notice to the accused.
State v. CECOS International, Inc.
(1988), 38 Ohio St. 3d 120 -- Paragraph one of the syllabus: "Pursuant to
2901.23(A)(4), a business entity may be found guilty of a criminal offense only
if the criminal act or omission was approved, recommended, or implemented by
high managerial personnel with actual or implied authority to approve, recommend
or implement same. High managerial personnel are those who make basic corporate
State v. D.J. Master Clean, Inc. (1997),
123 Ohio App. 3d 388 -- A corporation may be found guilty of a criminal offense
only if the criminal act or omission was authorized, requested, commanded,
tolerated, or performed by the board of directors, trustees, partners, or by a
high managerial officer, agent, or employees acting in behalf of the
organization and within the scope of his office or employment. This was
established with respect to a carpet cleaning company charged with dumping
wastewater in a storm sewer where there was testimony concerning prior
communications from the Ohio EPA concerning this practice.
State v. Beehive Limited Partnership
(1993), 89 Ohio App. 3d 718 -- Evidence was not insufficient to convict
organization of same conduct for which an individual defendant was acquitted.
Compare State v. Worsencroft (1995), 100 Ohio App. 3d 255.
Warren v. Sanfrey (1992), 78 Ohio App. 3d
457 -- President of car dealership who resigned before taxes were due, and did
not retain duty to make the filing, was improperly convicted of failure to pay
State v. Stirnkorb (1990), 63 Ohio App.
3d 778, 785-786 -- An employee does not have to be "high managerial personnel"
to be convicted of a criminal act conducted within the scope of his employment.
State v. Patterson (1986), 35 Ohio App.
3d 14 -- Headnote: "The statutory agent of a corporation is not criminally
liable for the acts of his corporation solely because of his agency."
State v. Airway Distributors (1986), 34
Ohio App. 3d 176 -- Evidence was sufficient to convict corporation of
trafficking in counterfeit controlled substances when the person answering the
telephone responded with the name of the corporation and accepted an order which
was received at designated P.O. box.
Return to top of