May 10, 2014
Justice Kennedy Presents at State Coroners Annual Conference

Image of Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon L. Kennedy with Ohio State Coroners Association President Dr. Stewart Ryckman, OSCA Board Chair and Immediate Past President Dr. Michael Johnson, and OSCA Chief Forensic Pathologist Dr. Kent Harshbarger

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon L. Kennedy at the Ohio State Coroners Association (OSCA) annual conference. Pictured left to right: OSCA President Dr. Stewart Ryckman (Richland County Coroner), OSCA Board Chair & Immediate Past President Dr. Michael Johnson(Crawford County Coroner), Justice Kennedy, and OSCA Chief Forensic Pathologist Dr. Kent Harshbarger (Montgomery County Coroner).

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon L. Kennedy spoke to members of the Ohio State Coroners Association at their annual conference held in Cincinnati on May 10, 2014. Her presentation covered the topic of handling evidence and search rules in the context of a crime scene.

In her speech titled “Near the Body,” Justice Kennedy shared from her past experience as a police officer arriving on the scene of a crime and explored the conflicts that can arise between a coroner and local law enforcement.

Describing the distinctions between each party’s duties at the scene, Justice Kennedy contrasted the coroner’s duty to determine the physical and medical causes of death with the law enforcement officials’ duty to discover “whether or not another person unlawfully caused the death.”

She followed up with an overview of the laws establishing authority within a crime scene, and examined the scope of authority delegated to the coroner. In conclusion, Justice Kennedy outlined recommended procedures for ensuring that all concerned parties—coroner, prosecutor, attorney general, and other law enforcement personnel—work together smoothly and effectively.

Justice Kennedy is serving her first term on the Supreme Court of Ohio. Prior to joining the Supreme Court, Justice Kennedy served on the Butler County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division from 1999 to 2012. Justice Kennedy served as the administrative judge there from 2005 until December 2012. Justice Kennedy began her career in the justice system as a police officer in Hamilton, Ohio. She received her law degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

For a high-resolution, print-quality photo of Justice Kennedy, visit: http://www.sc.ohio.gov/PIO/news/images/justices/kennedy_highres.zip.