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Crabbs v. Scott

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

May 4, 2015

KEITH CRABBS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ZACH SCOTT, Defendant-Appellant

Argued April 30, 2015.

Page 427

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio at Columbus. No. 2:12-cv-01126--Michael H. Watson, District Judge.

ARGUED:

Jesse W. Armstrong, FRANKLIN COUNTY PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE, Columbus, Ohio, for Appellant.

Charles W. Hess, HESS LAW OFFICE, Dublin, Ohio, for Appellee.

ON BRIEF:

Jesse W. Armstrong, Amy L. Hiers, FRANKLIN COUNTY PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE, Columbus, Ohio, for Appellant.

Michael Garth Moore, Columbus, Ohio, for Appellee.

Before: NORRIS, SUTTON, and DONALD, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 428

SUTTON, Circuit Judge.

Keith Crabbs sued the Franklin County Sheriff under the Fourth (and Fourteenth) Amendment for requiring him to submit to a DNA cheek swab after a jury acquitted him of voluntary manslaughter. The sheriff responded that Ohio's sovereign immunity insulated him from the lawsuit because state law required him to take the sample. That is not quite true. In 2010, Ohio law required criminal defendants to submit a DNA sample after a felony conviction. See Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2901.07(B) (West 2010). Today, Ohio law requires county sheriffs to collect DNA after a felony arrest. Ohio Rev. Code § 2901.07(B)(1)(a). The new law applies " during the intake process" to anyone arrested " on or after July 1, 2011." Id. In this case, the relevant events straddle the July 1 start date and prompt two questions: Does the statute require a DNA sample for a felony defendant arrested before July 1, 2011, and rearrested after that date for violating bond? And does the statute require a sample after an acquittal if the sheriff was unable to collect one during the intake process? No is the answer to both questions, and for these reasons and others elaborated below the State's sovereign immunity does not bar this civil rights action. We affirm.

In December 2010, Keith Crabbs turned himself in to the Franklin County Sheriff on charges of voluntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony. Id. ยง 2903.03(C). After one night in the county jail, Crabbs was released on bond. His trial began in March 2012. Two days in, the court revoked Crabbs' bond for arriving late and for quarrelling with a witness outside the courthouse. Courtroom deputies arrested Crabbs and took him to jail for processing. According to Sheriff Zach Scott, the amended DNA-collection statute required Crabbs to submit a sample because he " was arrested for a ...


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