2929.05 Supreme court review upon appeal of sentence of death.

(A) Whenever sentence of death is imposed pursuant to sections 2929.03 and 2929.04 of the Revised Code, the court of appeals, in a case in which a sentence of death was imposed for an offense committed before January 1, 1995, and the supreme court shall review upon appeal the sentence of death at the same time that they review the other issues in the case. The court of appeals and the supreme court shall review the judgment in the case and the sentence of death imposed by the court or panel of three judges in the same manner that they review other criminal cases, except that they shall review and independently weigh all of the facts and other evidence disclosed in the record in the case and consider the offense and the offender to determine whether the aggravating circumstances the offender was found guilty of committing outweigh the mitigating factors in the case, and whether the sentence of death is appropriate. In determining whether the sentence of death is appropriate, the court of appeals, in a case in which a sentence of death was imposed for an offense committed before January 1, 1995, and the supreme court shall consider whether the sentence is excessive or disproportionate to the penalty imposed in similar cases. They also shall review all of the facts and other evidence to determine if the evidence supports the finding of the aggravating circumstances the trial jury or the panel of three judges found the offender guilty of committing, and shall determine whether the sentencing court properly weighed the aggravating circumstances the offender was found guilty of committing and the mitigating factors. The court of appeals, in a case in which a sentence of death was imposed for an offense committed before January 1, 1995, or the supreme court shall affirm a sentence of death only if the particular court is persuaded from the record that the aggravating circumstances the offender was found guilty of committing outweigh the mitigating factors present in the case and that the sentence of death is the appropriate sentence in the case.

A court of appeals that reviews a case in which the sentence of death is imposed for an offense committed before January 1, 1995, shall file a separate opinion as to its findings in the case with the clerk of the supreme court. The opinion shall be filed within fifteen days after the court issues its opinion and shall contain whatever information is required by the clerk of the supreme court.

(B) The court of appeals, in a case in which a sentence of death was imposed for an offense committed before January 1, 1995, and the supreme court shall give priority over all other cases to the review of judgments in which the sentence of death is imposed and, except as otherwise provided in this section, shall conduct the review in accordance with the Rules of Appellate Procedure.

(C) At any time after a sentence of death is imposed pursuant to section 2929.022 or 2929.03 of the Revised Code, the court of common pleas that sentenced the offender shall vacate the sentence if the offender did not present evidence at trial that the offender was not eighteen years of age or older at the time of the commission of the aggravated murder for which the offender was sentenced and if the offender shows by a preponderance of the evidence that the offender was less than eighteen years of age at the time of the commission of the aggravated murder for which the offender was sentenced. The court is not required to hold a hearing on a motion filed pursuant to this division unless the court finds, based on the motion and any supporting information submitted by the defendant, any information submitted by the prosecuting attorney, and the record in the case, including any previous hearings and orders, probable cause to believe that the defendant was not eighteen years of age or older at the time of the commission of the aggravated murder for which the defendant was sentenced to death.

Effective Date: 07-29-1998