Ohio

(information last updated Fall 2017)

Ongoing Projects:

State Project:

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (DNR) runs a volunteer water quality monitoring program: Stream Quality Monitoring (SQM).  See Stream Quality, Ohio Dep’t of Nat. Resources, http://watercraft.ohiodnr.gov/sqm (last visited Apr. 10, 2017).  Through SQM, volunteers monitor macroinvertebrate populations, using them as indicator species for water quality. See id.  We were unable to find statutory authorization for SQM, which DNR appears to have created on its own initiative.

Collection of Information:

Ag-Gag Law:

“(B) No person shall commit a specified offense [which includes trespass] involving any agricultural product or equipment with the intent to do any of the following:

      (1) Intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

      (2) Influence the policy of any government by intimidation or coercion;

      (3) Affect the conduct of any government;

      (4) Interrupt or interfere with agricultural production, agricultural research, or equipment for purposes of disrupting or influencing, through intimidation or other means, consumer confidence or agricultural production methods.”

 

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 901.511.

 

Private parties can recover treble damages in civil suits.  Id.

 

There are also criminal penalties; for a first offense, the violation is classified as “one degree higher than the penalty for the most serious underlying specified offense,” except that when the underlying offense is a first-degree felony, it is also a first-degree felony.  See Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 901.99.

 

Trespass Laws:

Criminal Liability for Trespass Despite Lack of Notice:

No.  Entry upon property does not constitute criminal trespass unless “notice against unauthorized access . . . is given . . . by posting in a manner reasonably calculated to come to the attention of potential intruders, or by fencing or other enclosure.”  Ohio Rev. Code Ann.  § 2911.21. 

Other Provisions:

See supra “Ag-Gag Law.”

Stalking Laws:

Criminal Law:

“No person by engaging in a pattern of conduct shall knowingly cause another person to believe that the offender will cause physical harm to the other person or a family or household member of the other person or cause mental distress to the other person or a family or household member of the other person.  In addition to any other basis for the other person’s belief that the offender will cause physical harm to the other person or the other person’s family or household member or mental distress to the other person or the other person’s family or household member, the other person’s belief or mental distress may be based on words or conduct of the offender that are directed at or identify a corporation, association, or other organization that employs the other person or to which the other person belongs.”  Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2903.211.

Use of Information:

Our research has not found any provisions relating to the use of information collected by citizens in enforcement or administrative/legislative actions.

Evidentiary Standards:

Pleading a Claim:

Requires certification that “there is good ground to support” the claim.  Ohio Civ. R. 11.

Authentication or Chain of Custody:

“The requirement of authentication or identification as a condition precedent to admissibility is satisfied by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what its proponent claims.”  Ohio Evid. R. 901.

Expert Testimony:

Daubert standard.  See State v. Martens, 629 N.E.2d 462, 466 (Ohio 1993).

Discussion

Please note that this discussion is not moderated by the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic.