While driving on the highway, Nancy Weitbrecht (defendant) apparently suffered a cardiac event, lost consciousness, crossed the center lane, and collided with an oncoming vehicle. The driver of the oncoming vehicle was killed, along with Weitbrecht’s husband and friend. There was no evidence of criminal recklessness or criminal negligence on the part of Weitbrecht. A jury convicted Weitbrecht of manslaughter, and she was sentenced to five years in prison. Weitbrecht appealed, arguing that the sentence imposed on her violated her federal and state constitutional provisions against cruel and unusual punishment. The appeals court sided with Weitbrecht. The State of Ohio (plaintiff) then appealed to the state supreme court.