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OHIO REVISED CODE

TITLE XXIX CRIMES - PROCEDURE

CHAPTER 2921 OFFENSES AGAINST JUSTICE AND PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION

§ 2921.22. Failure to report a crime or knowledge of a death or burn injury.

(A) No person, knowing that a felony has been or is being committed, shall knowingly fail to report such information to law enforcement authorities.

(B) Except for conditions that are within the scope of division (E) of this section, no physician, limited practitioner, nurse, or other person giving aid to a sick or injured person shall negligently fail to report to law enforcement authorities any gunshot or stab wound treated or observed by the physician, limited practitioner, nurse, or person, or any serious physical harm to persons that the physician, limited practitioner, nurse, or person knows or has reasonable cause to believe resulted from an offense of violence.

(C) No person who discovers the body or acquires the first knowledge of the death of a person shall fail to report the death immediately to a physician whom the person knows to be treating the deceased for a condition from which death at such time would not be unexpected, or to a law enforcement officer, an ambulance service, an emergency squad, or the coroner in a political subdivision in which the body is discovered, the death is believed to have occurred, or knowledge concerning the death is obtained.

(D) No person shall fail to provide upon request of the person to whom a report required by division (C) of this section was made, or to any law enforcement officer who has reasonable cause to assert the authority to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death, any facts within the person's knowledge that may have a bearing on the investigation of the death.

(E) (1) As used in this division, "burn injury" means any of the following:

(a) Second or third degree burns;

(b) Any burns to the upper respiratory tract or laryngeal edema due to the inhalation of superheated air;

(c) Any burn injury or wound that may result in death;

(d) Any physical harm to persons caused by or as the result of the use of fireworks, novelties and trick noisemakers, and wire sparklers, as each is defined by section 3743.01 of the Revised Code.

(2) No physician, nurse, or limited practitioner who, outside a hospital, sanitarium, or other medical facility, attends or treats a person who has sustained a burn injury that is inflicted by an explosion or other incendiary device or that shows evidence of having been inflicted in a violent, malicious, or criminal manner shall fail to report the burn injury immediately to the local arson, or fire and explosion investigation, bureau, if there is a bureau of this type in the jurisdiction in which the person is attended or treated, or otherwise to local law enforcement authorities.

(3) No manager, superintendent, or other person in charge of a hospital, sanitarium, or other medical facility in which a person is attended or treated for any burn injury that is inflicted by an explosion or other incendiary device or that shows evidence of having been inflicted in a violent, malicious, or criminal manner shall fail to report the burn injury immediately to the local arson, or fire and explosion investigation, bureau, if there is a bureau of this type in the jurisdiction in which the person is attended or treated, or otherwise to local law enforcement authorities.

(4) No person who is required to report any burn injury under division (E)(2) or (3) of this section shall fail to file, within three working days after attending or treating the victim, a written report of the burn injury with the office of the state fire marshal. The report shall comply with the uniform standard developed by the state fire marshal pursuant to division (A)(15) of section 3737.22 of the Revised Code.

(5) Anyone participating in the making of reports under division (E) of this section or anyone participating in a judicial proceeding resulting from the reports is immune from any civil or criminal liability that otherwise might be incurred or imposed as a result of such actions. Notwithstanding section 4731.22 of the Revised Code, the physician-patient relationship is not a ground for excluding evidence regarding a person's burn injury or the cause of the burn injury in any judicial proceeding resulting from a report submitted under division (E) of this section.

(F) (1) Any doctor of medicine or osteopathic medicine, hospital intern or resident, registered or licensed practical nurse, psychologist, social worker, independent social worker, social work assistant, professional clinical counselor, or professional counselor who knows or has reasonable cause to believe that a patient or client has been the victim of domestic violence, as defined in section 3113.31 of the Revised Code, shall note that knowledge or belief and the basis for it in the patient's or client's records.

(2) Notwithstanding section 4731.22 of the Revised Code, the doctor-patient privilege shall not be a ground for excluding any information regarding the report containing the knowledge or belief noted under division (F)(1) of this section, and the information may be admitted as evidence in accordance with the Rules of Evidence.

(G) Divisions (A) and (D) of this section do not require disclosure of information, when any of the following applies:

(1) The information is privileged by reason of the relationship between attorney and client; doctor and patient; licensed psychologist or licensed school psychologist and client; member of the clergy, rabbi, minister, or priest and any person communicating information confidentially to the member of the clergy, rabbi, minister, or priest for a religious counseling purpose of a professional character; husband and wife; or a communications assistant and those who are a party to a telecommunications relay service call.

(2) The information would tend to incriminate a member of the actor's immediate family.

(3) Disclosure of the information would amount to revealing a news source, privileged under section 2739.04 or 2739.12 of the Revised Code.

(4) Disclosure of the information would amount to disclosure by a member of the ordained clergy of an organized religious body of a confidential communication made to that member of the clergy in that member's capacity as a member of the clergy by a person seeking the aid or counsel of that member of the clergy.

(5) Disclosure would amount to revealing information acquired by the actor in the course of the actor's duties in connection with a bona fide program of treatment or services for drug dependent persons or persons in danger of drug dependence, which program is maintained or conducted by a hospital, clinic, person, agency, or organization certified pursuant to section 3793.06 of the Revised Code.

(6) Disclosure would amount to revealing information acquired by the actor in the course of the actor's duties in connection with a bona fide program for providing counseling services to victims of crimes that are violations of section 2907.02 or 2907.05 of the Revised Code or to victims of felonious sexual penetration in violation of former section 2907.12 of the Revised Code. As used in this division, "counseling services" include services provided in an informal setting by a person who, by education or experience, is competent to provide those services.

(H) No disclosure of information pursuant to this section gives rise to any liability or recrimination for a breach of privilege or confidence.

(I) Whoever violates division (A) or (B) of this section is guilty of failure to report a crime. Violation of division (A) of this section is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. Violation of division (B) of this section is a misdemeanor of the second degree.

(J) Whoever violates division (C) or (D) of this section is guilty of failure to report knowledge of a death, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.

(K) (1) Whoever negligently violates division (E) of this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor.

(2) Whoever knowingly violates division (E) of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree.

HISTORY: 134 v H 511 (Eff 1-1-74); 136 v H 750 (Eff 8-26-75); 136 v S 283 (Eff 11-26-75); 137 v H 1 (Eff 8-26-77); 137 v S 203 (Eff 1-13-78); 138 v H 284 (Eff 10-22-80); 142 v H 273 (Eff 9-10-87); 143 v H 317 (Eff 10-10-89); 144 v S 343 (Eff 3-24-93); 145 v H 335 (Eff 12-9-94); 146 v H 445 (Eff 9-3-96); 146 v S 223 (Eff 3-18-97); 149 v S 115. Eff 3-19-2003.

Not analogous to former RC § 2921.22 (125 v H 308), repealed 134 v H 511, § 2, eff 1-1-74.

The provisions of § 4 of SB 115 (149 v - ) read as follows:

SECTION 4. Section 2921.22 of the Revised Code is presented in this act as a composite of the section as amended by both Am. Sub. H.B. 445 and Sub. S.B. 223 of the 121st General Assembly. The General Assembly, applying the principle stated in division (B) of section 1.52 of the Revised Code that amendments are to be harmonized if reasonably capable of simultaneous operation, finds that the composite is the resulting version of the section in effect prior to the effective date of the section as presented in this act.



19xx Committee Report or Comment.

1974 Committee Comment to H 511

This first part of this section is similar to, but narrower than the common law crime of misprision of felony. The second part of the section retains a requirement in former law that doctors and others report injuries patently caused by criminal violence.

The gist of misprision at common law was keeping silence or failing to attempt to apprehend the offender when one knew a felony had been committed. There was only one exception: a wife was not bound to report her husband's crimes. It was a passive offense, i.e., if any active aid was given to the offender, the aider became an accessory to the crime, after the fact.

Under this section, persons are required only to inform authorities of felonies of which they have knowledge, and are not required to attempt apprehension of the offender. Also, a number of relationships are privileged under this section which were not privileged at common law. These include: attorney and client; doctor and patient; licensed psychologist and client; priest and penitent; clergyman and parishioner; husband and wife, and other immediate family members; newsmen, with respect to confidential news sources; and those engaged in authorized drug treatment or counseling programs.

The rationale for requiring that serious crimes be reported is that effective crime prevention and law enforcement depend significantly on the cooperation of the public. The section covers, for example, the situation where bystanders ignore a murder victim's pleas for help because they do not want to "become involved." The rationale for the exceptions is that, in each case in which a privilege is applicable, the considerations favoring keeping silence override the general policy considerations requiring serious crimes to be reported.

This section also requires doctors, limited practitioners, nurses, and others who give aid to the sick or injured, to report gunshot and stab wounds, and other serious injuries which they know or have reasonable cause to believe resulted from a crime of violence, such as the "battered child syndrome." The reporting requirement under this part of the section is absolute, i.e., no privilege attaches in the cases covered.

The section explicitly states that no disclosure of information under the section can give rise to any cause of action or recrimination of any kind for breach of privilege or confidence. This includes disclosure of information which is privileged under the section, and which the person disclosing it is therefore not required to divulge.

Failure to report a crime is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree when the failure is to report a felony of which one has knowledge. Failure of a doctor, nurse, or person giving aid to the sick or injured to report wounds resulting from criminal violence is a misdemeanor of the second degree.



Cross-References to Related Sections

Penalties, RC § 2929.21.

Contracts for private operation and management of correctional facilities, RC § 9.06.

Report of escapes, RC § 9.07.

County jails, duty to give notice of escape and apprehension of escapee, RC § 341.01.1.

Department of rehabilitation and correction, notice of escapes, RC § 5120.14.

Disclosure of mediation communication, RC § 2317.02.3.

Felony defined, RC § 2901.02.

Form for reporting burn injuries, RC § 3737.22.

Knowingly defined, RC § 2901.22.

Law enforcement officer defined, RC § 2901.01.

Municipal jails, duty to give notice of escape and apprehension of escapee, RC § 753.19.

Negligently defined, RC § 2901.22.

Offense of violence defined, RC § 2901.01.

Privilege defined, RC § 2901.01.

Privileged nature of assisted communications at telecommunications relay service, RC § 4931.35.

Serious physical harm to persons defined, RC § 2901.01.



Ohio Adminstrative Code

State board of pharmacy -

Report of theft or loss of dangerous drugs, controlled substances, and drug documents: procedures. OAC 4729-9-15.

Report of theft or loss of nitrous oxide. OAC 4729-25-04.



Text Discussion

Physician-patient privilege. Weissenberger § 501.12

Who must make a report. 1 Anderson Fam. L. § 4.2



Forms

Failure to report a crime. 4 OJI Form 521.22(A), (B)

Failure to report knowledge of a death. 4 OJI Form 521.22(C), (D)

Research Aids

Confessions to clergyman:

O-Jur3d: Evid & Witn § 788

Failure to report crime, injury, or death:

O-Jur3d: Civil Serv §§ 510, 533; Crim L §§ 1401-1403



ALR

Attorney's disclosure, in federal proceedings, of identity of client as violating attorney-client privilege. 84 ALRFed 852.

Communications between spouses as to joint participation in crime as within privilege of interspousal communications. 62 ALR4th 1134.

Liability in tort for interference with attorney-client relationship. 90 ALR4th 621.

Who is "representative of the client" within state statute or rule privileging communications between an attorney and the representative of the client. 66 ALR4th 1227.



Law Review

Confidentiality and privilege: the status of social workers in Ohio. Gary W. Paquin. 19 Ohio N.U.L. Rev. 199 (1992).

CASE NOTES AND OAG








Analysis

Constitutionality.

- Self-incrimination.

- Vagueness.

Duties.

- Child abuse.

Duty.

- To report.

Employment separation agreement.

- Illegal clause.

Privilege.

- Immunity for breach.

- Physician-patient.

- Psychologist-patient.

- Testimony.

- Unlicensed supervisees.

Reporting felony.

- Immunity from discipline.





Constitutionality




- Self-incrimination

Revised Code § 2921.22 is unconstitutional as applied in a case where, by virtue of reporting the crime, the person would have given information which would tend to incriminate herself or lead to her own prosecution: State v. Wardlow, 20 Ohio App. 3d 1, 20 Ohio B. 1, 484 N.E.2d 276 (1985).

- Vagueness

Revised Code § 2921.22 is not unconstitutionally void for vagueness, as it gives a person of ordinary intelligence fair notice that the conduct of failing to report a serious crime about which he has knowledge is forbidden: State v. Wardlow, 20 Ohio App. 3d 1, 20 Ohio B. 1, 484 N.E.2d 276 (1985).



Duties




- Child abuse

Revised Code § 2151.42.1 is not an exclusive listing of those persons who must report knowledge or suspicion of child abuse. A duty to report abuse can arise from a special relationship at law, irrespective of a statutory duty. Since a parent has a special relationship to the child, the duty of care, protection and support under RC § 2921.22(A) would create a duty to stop the alleged acts of abuse: Hite v. Brown, 100 Ohio App. 3d 606, 654 N.E.2d 452 (1995).



Duty




- To report

Revised Code § 2921.22 does not require that a felony be directly reported to the police or require a person to answer subsequent questions: In re Stichtenoth, 67 Ohio App. 2d 108, 21 Ohio Op. 3d 420, 425 N.E.2d 957 (1980).



Employment separation agreement




- Illegal clause

An employment separation agreement clause is illegal per se when it purports to suppress information concerning the commission of a felony: Bowman v. Parma Bd. of Edn., 44 Ohio App. 3d 169, 542 N.E.2d 663 (1988).



Privilege




- Immunity for breach

Under RC § 2921.22(G), those unlicensed supervisees of a licensed psychologist enumerated in RC § 4732.22(C), (D) and (E) who disclose privileged information to law enforcement authorities in reporting that a felony has been or is being committed are not subject to any liability or recrimination for breach of privilege or confidence for such disclosure: OAG No. 88-027 (1988).

Under RC § 2921.22(G), a licensed psychologist who voluntarily discloses privileged information to law enforcement authorities in reporting that a felony has been or is being committed is not subject to any liability or recrimination for breach of privilege or confidence for such disclosure: OAG No. 88-027 (1988).

- Physician-patient

Revised Code § 2921.22(B) provides a statutory exception to the physician-patient privilege: State v. Jones, 90 Ohio St. 3d 403, 739 N.E.2d 300 (2000).

- Psychologist-patient

Under RC § 2921.22(F)(1), a licensed psychologist is not required to report a felony which has been or is being committed when such information is privileged under RC § 4732.19 due to the psychologist-client relationship: OAG No. 88-027 (1988).

- Testimony

Where a physician is required by former RC § 2917.44 to report to a law-enforcement officer a gunshot wound or wound inflicted by a deadly weapon, the former may testify, without violating the physician-patient privilege, as to the description of the wounded person, as to his name and address, if known, and as to the description of the nature and location of such wound, obtained by examination, observation and treatment of the victim: (decided under former analogous section) State v. Antill, 176 Ohio St. 61, 26 Ohio Op. 2d 366, 197 N.E.2d 548 (1964).

- Unlicensed supervisees

Under RC § 2921.22(F)(1), those unlicensed supervisees of a licensed psychologist enumerated in RC § 4732.22(C), (D) and (E) are not required to report a felony which has been or is being committed when such information is privileged under RC § 4732.19 due to the psychologist-client relationship: OAG No. 88-027 (1988).



Reporting felony




- Immunity from discipline

An accountant cannot be disciplined by the accountancy board for reporting a felony pursuant to RC § 2921.22: Kelly v. Accountancy Bd. of Ohio, 88 Ohio App. 3d 453, 624 N.E.2d 292 (1993).

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