COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The case of a teen charged with aggravated robbery sparked a legal debate before the Ohio Supreme Court over what evidence must be shown to defense attorneys while the court considers trying the teen as an adult.

The case
was one of several recently heard by the Ohio Supreme Court. No decision is imminent. It often can be weeks or even months after oral arguments were made before the court releases its opinions in a case.

The case, from Cincinnati, involves a 16-year-old the court refers to as D.M., who was charged with an act that would constitute aggravated robbery if he were an adult. The law for this charge would have required the case be moved to adult court once probable cause was shown to support the charge.

While preparing for transfer proceedings that would make that determination, D.M.s attorney asked for materials from prosecutors through discovery, a court process by which the two sides of a case exchange evidence before a trial. When prosecutors did not provide all the materials requested, D.M.s attorney sought and won dismissal of the charge.

Prosecutors appealed to the Ohio First District Court of Appeals. which overturned that decision. D.M.s lawyer appealed to the Supreme Court.

Arguments focus on which standards should be used to determine which materials must be provided in discovery.

D.M.s attorney argues that the appeals court erred, that it created its own rules for discovery and that under rules in a juvenile proceeding, a court had the discretion of allowing discovery of police documents. If the access is too restrictive, they argue, it would violate the due process rights of the minor.

Attorneys for the state counter that interpretation is too broad, and that a probable cause hearing is limited in scope, and a minor is not entitled to full, unfettered discovery that would come with a trial.

The Ohio Public Defender, National Juvenile Defender Center and the Childrens Law Center jointly submitted a friend of the court brief supporting D.M.s position.

Northeast Ohio Media Group will periodically look at cases before the Supreme Court. All cases can be viewed through the online docket on the Supreme Courts website.