Cuyahoga County

Kidnapping, sex crime conviction wrongly overturned, Ohio Supreme Court rules


Columbus, Ohio -- The Ohio Supreme Court on Thursday reversed a decision by an appellate court in Cuyahoga County that overturned a man's conviction on kidnapping and sex crime charges.

The defendant, James Tate II, won before the 8th Ohio District Court of Appeals. It ruled that his conviction was improper because there was not sufficient evidence that identified him as the perpetrator.

But in a 7-0 opinion, the Ohio Supreme Court said the appellate court was wrong and ordered the case back to the 8th District for it to correct its ruling.

The case stemmed from an incident in February 2011 in which a 14-year-old girl at the Euclid Public Library with friends was approached by a man who gave her a business card and told her about a study group meeting nearby.

While they were walked together outside the library, the man asked her to perform a sexual act. About that time, the girl's cellphone buzzed. She told the man that her mother was back at the library and they both returned.

The girl notified Euclid police, who began looking for the man at the library. Police called the phone number on the business card, and James Tate II answered his cell. Tate was convicted in December 2011 of kidnapping, importuning, gross sexual imposition, and public indecency and sentenced to seven years in prison.

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Read the slip opinion here.