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Ohio Third District Court of Appeals judges to hear oral arguments at ONU Law

Cases involve murder-for-hire conspiracy and digital privacy rights 

Ohio’s Third District Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments for two cases at Ohio Northern University on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, in Claude W. Pettit College of Law’s Tilton Hall, Room 129. At the conclusion of arguments, which address one criminal and one civil case, the appellate judges will take questions from the audience.

The event will be free and open to the public. Business attire is required and observers must be seated by 9:40 a.m. Court will be in session at 10 a.m. Judge John R. Willamowski will serve as the presiding judge.

ONU’s College of Law annually hosts such proceedings. The court’s special session at ONU Law is part of an educational outreach program to give students, educators, and the public an opportunity to enhance their understanding of the appellate process.

Based in Lima, Ohio, the Third District Court of Appeals hears cases from 17 counties and travels among them for special court sessions.

Arguments will be heard for the following cases:

State of Ohio v. Gerry Moore

This case involves an intricate murder-for-hire conspiracy that came to light through recordings of inmate conversations at North Central Correctional Institution in Marion County. Defendant-Appellant Gerry Moore faced charges of retaliation, attempted murder, and conspiracy to commit murder in Erie County. A jury initially found him guilty, but on appeal, the tables turned. The retaliation charge was dismissed, and his other convictions were vacated due to insufficient proof of venue.

The State now seeks to prosecute Defendant-Appellant in Marion County for the very same plot, igniting a fierce debate over Double Jeopardy under the Ohio Constitution. The trial court denied Defendant-Appellant’s Motion to Dismiss for Double Jeopardy and this interlocutory appeal hinges on the nuanced question of whether a dismissal based on venue implicates a procedural or substantive right. The Ohio Attorney General and the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association have filed amicus briefs in support of the State.

Jane Doe v. Lima Memorial Hospital

This appeal stems from a dispute over privacy rights in the digital age. Plaintiff-Appellant Jane Doe challenges the trial court's decision to dismiss her wiretapping claim, rooted in allegations that Defendant-Appellee Lima Memorial Hospital compromised her confidential health information. According to the lawsuit, the hospital used sophisticated tracking pixels on its website to share her private health data with Facebook, sparking a legal battle under Ohio's wiretapping laws. The hospital counters by stating that Plaintiff-Appellant’s wiretapping claim is nullified by standing precedent. It asserts that the Ohio Supreme Court's ruling in Biddle v. Warren General Hospital effectively overrides her legal grounds for the wiretapping cause of action.

Charles Rose III, ONU College of Law dean, said hosting court proceedings on campus allows for students to enjoy a clear connection between the classroom and the courtroom, and to meet successful ONU Law alumni; all four Third District Court of Appeals judges, who, along with Judge Willamowski, include William R. Zimmerman, Juergen A. Waldick, and Mark C. Miller, received their law degrees from ONU.