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State of Ohio v. Eddie D. Gibson

November 1, 2011

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
EDDIE D. GIBSON, JR., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas (C.P.C. No. 10CR-03-1949)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Klatt, J.

Cite as State v. Gibson,

(REGULAR CALENDAR)

DECISION

{¶1} Defendant-appellant, Eddie D. Gibson, Jr., appeals from a judgment of conviction and sentence entered by the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. For the following reasons, we affirm in part and reverse in part that judgment and remand the matter for resentencing.

Factual and Procedural Background

{¶2} On February 3, 2010, appellant and his wife agreed to purchase two cars from a car dealership in Columbus, Ohio. Three weeks later, appellant and his wife returned to the dealership to pay for the cars. Appellant presented the dealership with a check signed by appellant that indicated it was drawn from a private account at the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta, Georgia. The dealership's salesmen brought the check to Eric Tincher, the dealership's general manager, who had concerns about the validity of the check. Tincher told appellant that it would not release the cars until the check was honored and that he would contact him when that occurred. Appellant agreed and completed the paperwork for the sale of the cars.

{¶3} The dealership presented the check to its bank for payment. However, the bank returned the check unpaid, indicating that it was a counterfeit check. As a result, the dealership contacted the Columbus Police Department. The police told Tincher to have appellant come to the dealership to pick up the cars. When appellant returned to the dealership, the police arrested him.

{¶4} As a result of these events, a Franklin County Grand Jury indicted appellant with one count of forgery in violation of R.C. 2913.31 and one count of possessing criminal tools in violation of R.C. 2923.24. Appellant entered a not guilty plea to the charges and proceeded to represent himself at trial.

{¶5} During the trial, the dealership's employees testified to the above events. Robert Love of the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta, Georgia, testified that the Federal Reserve Bank provides financial services to other financial institutions and that an individual cannot open a private account at that bank. He testified that appellant did not have an account at the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta, Georgia, and that the check was not a valid check. While the check contained the bank's proper routing number, Love testified that the account number on the check was not a valid account number for the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta.

{¶6} Appellant testified on his own behalf and admitted that he created the check at his home. Appellant contended that he possessed an account with the United States Treasury Department (hereinafter "the Treasury") that he could use even though he never opened an actual account at the Federal Reserve Bank and he never deposited money into any account at the Federal Reserve Bank.

{¶7} Appellant's theory begins with letters he sent to Timothy Geithner, the Secretary of the Treasury in April 2009. In the first letter, appellant set forth his beliefs about the United States financial system and notified Geithner that he wished to establish his account with the Treasury. The letter informed Geithner that he had 30 days to "honor or reject" his claim. Three weeks later, having received no response from Geithner, appellant mailed him another letter. Appellant indicated in the letter his understanding that Geithner agreed to everything he wrote in the previous letter by not responding. Accordingly, appellant asserted that he had established a private account with the Treasury. He presented what he characterized as a "private indemnity bond" that he prepared in the amount of $100 billion for deposit into his account.*fn1 Geithner only had 10 days to "honor or reject" this letter.

{¶8} In October 2009, appellant mailed another letter to Dennis Lockhart, the President of the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta, Georgia. Appellant wrote that Lockhart was required to open appellant's "private side account" pursuant to the arrangements he made with Geithner. The letter included a copy of a check appellant intended to use to utilize the funds in his account.

{¶9} Appellant did not receive responses to any of his letters.

{¶10} Accordingly, in December 2009, he delivered notices of the establishment of his private account with the Treasury to a large number of federal, state and local elected and appointed officials. On February 5, 2010, appellant mailed Geithner another letter in which he reiterated his contention that the parties had agreed to the creation of his private account. He also included a copy of the check that he would use to pay for the two cars he agreed to purchase. Appellant gave Geithner only three days to reject his claim. Having received no response, appellant went to the dealership with the check to pay for the cars.

{¶11} The jury found appellant guilty of both counts and the trial court sentenced him accordingly.

{¶12} Appellant now appeals and assigns the following errors:

[1.] APPELLANT'S CONVICTIONS WERE AGAINST THE MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE AND WERE NOT SUPPORTED BY SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE IN VIOLATION OF THE 14TH AMENDMENT TO THE U.S. CONSTITUTION AND ARTICLE I, SECTIONS 1 & 16 OF THE OHIO CONSTITUTION.

[2.] THE FORGERY AND PCT STATUTES WERE UNCONSTITUTIONALLY APPLIED BY THE STATE AGAINST APPELLANT IN VIOLATION OF THE CONTRACT CLAUSES IN ARTICLE I, SECTION 10 OF THE U.S CONSTITUTION AND ARTICLE II, SECTION 28 OF THE OHIO CONSTITUTION, AND APPELLANT'S RIGHT TO CONTRACT UNDER THE 14TH AMENDMENT TO THE U.S CONSTITUTION AND ARTICLE I, SECTION 1 OF THE OHIO CONSTITUTION.

[3.] THE FORGERY AND PCT STATUTES WERE UNCONSTITUTIONALLY APPLIED BY THE STATE AGAINST APPELLANT IN VIOLATION OF THE FREE EXERCISE CLAUSES OF THE 1ST AMENDMENT TO THE U.S CONSTITUTION AND ARTICLE I, SECTION 7 OF THE OHIO CONSTITUTION.

[4.] JURY BIAS AND RACIAL AND RELIGIOUS PREJUDICE AGAINST THE APPELLANT DEPRIVED HIM OF A FAIR TRIAL UNDER THE 6TH AND 14TH AMENDMENTS TO THE U.S. CONSTITUTION, AND THE COURT'S FAILURE TO EITHER GRANT APPELLANT'S POST-TRIAL REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL, OR GRANT A NEW TRIAL OR EVEN HOLD A HEARING BASED ON SAID ALLEGATIONS CONSTITUTED AN ABUSE OF DISCRETION.

[5.] THE RESTITUTION WAS NOT SUPPORTED BY COMPETENT, CREDIBLE EVIDENCE, AND ENTERING CONVICITONS FOR ALLIED OFFENSES OF FORGERY ...


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