Ohio residents may favor tough penalties for repeat offenders, especially those who have been previously convicted of violent crimes. However, a federal law established in 1984 to impose stronger penalties on so-called career criminals has been found by the nation's highest court to be unconstitutionally vague in an important area. The 8-1 decision is the culmination of several years' efforts to deal with the interpretation of a certain clause.
The law allows for additional prison time to be added to the sentences of individuals who have at least three prior convictions of violent felonies. However, the general wording of the law often created a need for interpretation. Various courts throughout the nation have had to determine what types of activities fall under the phrase "conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another".