PAINESVILLE, Ohio (WJW) – Three years after a defendant’s profanity-laced outburst resulted in
additional prison time, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that a local judge should not have increased the sentence.
Back in 2019, County Common Pleas Court Judge Eugene Lucci added six more years onto the prison sentence of then 32-year-old Manson Bryant.
Tuesday, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that Lucci was wrong to increase the sentence based on Bryant’s profanity-laced tirade against him.
In a 4-3 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that Bryant’s courtroom outbursts were not related to the crimes he was being sentenced for.
Therefore, Bryant’s reaction could not legally factor into Lucci’s longer sentence.
Writing for the majority, Justice Melody Stewart stated that, “If a defendant’s outburst or other courtroom misbehavior causes a significant disruption that obstructs the administration of justice, that behavior may be punishable as contempt of court.”
Lucci had initially sentenced Bryant to 22 years in prison after a jury convicted him of aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery.
Lucci said he could not comment on the decision because Lucci is in a short time period after the decision where he files a request for a reconsideration.
At the time, Judge Lucci noted that it was the fourth time Bryant had stood before him as a convicted felon.
But in the end, Ohio’s highest court decided that the state’s criminal sentencing statutes do not authorize a judge to increase a defendant’s sentence based on an offensive outburst.