Vehicle arson conviction reversed

Larry Limpf

The conviction of a woman for the 2019 arson of a vehicle at a hotel on Oregon Road in Northwood has been reversed by the Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals.
Brooke Marie Maxcy-Tipton had been convicted in Wood County Common Pleas Court of a fourth-degree felony charge to which she had pled guilty and was sentenced to community control and to register as an arson offender.
In her appeal, Maxcy-Tipton argued her legal counsel during the trial was ineffective and the state’s arson registry statute is unconstitutional.
Ohio’s arson offender registry statute requires that an offender register annually with a county sheriff unless the trial court limits the registration requirement to more than the mandatory 10-year minimum but less than the lifetime obligation.
However, the trial court can only exercise its discretion if a prosecutor or law enforcement agency recommends limiting the offender’s registration period.
When Maxcy-Tipton was sentenced, the issue of the registration statute’s constitutionality was before the Eleventh District Court of Appeals and it had been declared unconstitutional by the Fourth District Court of Appeals.
She argued her legal representation erred by failing to assert a constitutional objection to the arson registry and not requesting less than a lifetime registration.
The prosecution had argued she waived the right to claim ineffective counsel by entering a guilty plea but the appeals court disagreed.
The appeals court ruled the constitutionality of the registration statute was a valid issue in the case and “…the conflicting holdings in the two appellate districts was apparent from a cursory review of the annotated statute.”
“Therefore, appellant’s (Maxcy-Tipton) best interest is served by remanding this case to the trial court for full consideration of all of the issues related to the constitutionality of the statute,” the appeals court wrote.
The arson occurred March 24, 2019 and was investigated by the Ohio Fire Marshal’s Fire and Explosion Investigation Bureau.


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