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Ohio Supreme Court Denies Appeal In Reagan Tokes Lawsuit

Reagan Tokes
Reagan Tokes

The Ohio Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal brought by the family of Reagan Tokes.

Tokes’ family alleged parole officers were negligent in their oversight of Brian Golsby, the man convictedof murdering their daughter.

Golsby was on GPS monitoring in February 2017 after serving a prison term for attempted rape. Police say he spotted Tokes as she was leaving the Bodega Café in the Short North following a work shift. Prosecutors say he forced Tokes into her car at gunpoint, made her withdraw money from an ATM machine, and raped her before fatally shooting her and dumping her body in Scioto Grove Metro Park in Grove City.

The Ohio Court of Claims ruled the family couldn’t seek damages in a wrongful death lawsuit, because the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections holds sovereign immunity while carrying out its public duties. An Ohio appeals court agreed with that ruling.

In their appeal to the Supreme Court, the family contended the state law, which grants state agencies that protection, is so broad it's unconstitutional. But the court chose not to take up the dispute and rejected the appeal.

In 2018, Golsby was convicted on nine charges, including aggravated murder, and sentenced to life without parole.

Ohio lawmakers last year passed the “Reagan Tokes Act,” which allows indefinite sentencing for first- and second-degree felonies, with release based on good behavior. A second bill was introduced this year that focuses on monitoring inmates after they are released.

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.