Top court will hear appeal of teen's 112-year prison term
By Peter H. Milliken
The Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal from a man who says his 112-year prison sentence for his role in an armed kidnapping, robbery and gang rape when he was 15 years old is unconstitutional.
Brandon Moore was tried as an adult and convicted by a jury in the August 2001 Detroit Avenue attack on a 21-year-old Boardman woman and drew the sentence in January 2008 from Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
Judge Krichbaum imposed that sentence at Moore’s second resentencing after appeals of previous sentences.
“It is the intention of this court that you should never be released from the penitentiary,” Judge Krichbaum told Moore in 2008.
In his appeal, Moore contends that a definite sentence that exceeds his life expectancy for crimes he committed as a juvenile violates the ban on cruel and unusual punishment contained in the 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The appeal came to the state’s top court after a 2-1 decision of the 7th District Court of Appeals in December 2013, which left Moore’s sentence intact.
In his appeal, Moore cites the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Graham v. Florida decision.
In that case, “The [U.S.] Supreme Court’s bar on sentencing nonhomicide juvenile offenders to die in prison is a categorical bar that applies irrespective of the particular crime at issue,” the appeal argues.
The appeal to the state’s top court was filed for Moore by Attys. Rachel S. Bloomekatz and Kimberly A. Jolson of the Jones-Day law firm in Columbus.
Bloomekatz and Jolson wrote that Moore’s prison term is the longest they know of for an Ohio juvenile offender.
“Defendant is essentially advocating that, no matter what cruel and heinous offenses that a juvenile commits, he should be rewarded with an opportunity for early release,” countered Ralph M. Rivera, an assistant Mahoning County prosecutor, in his request that the top court decline to hear the case.
“This case does not involve any substantial constitutional questions and is of no public interest,” Rivera wrote.
Judge Krichbaum also gave Moore’s co-defendants long prison terms: Chaz Bunch, 105 years; Andre Bundy, 18 years; and Jamar Callier, seven years.
The Moore case was one of only five appeals statewide that the Ohio Supreme Court accepted Wednesday for review. It refused to hear 74 other cases appealed to it.