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Freddy Lamar Strong v. Ohio State Adult Parole Authority et al

November 1, 2011

FREDDY LAMAR STRONG, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
OHIO STATE ADULT PAROLE AUTHORITY ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. (C.P.C. No. 10CVH-9011)

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

Cite as

Strong v. Ohio State Adult Parole Auth.,

(REGULAR CALENDAR)

DECISION

{¶1} Plaintiff-appellant, Freddy Lamar Strong, appeals from a judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas granting the summary judgment motion of defendant-appellee, the Ohio State Adult Parole Authority ("APA"). Because the evidence submitted in connection with the motions for summary judgment does not demonstrate a genuine issue of material fact for trial, we affirm.

I. Facts and Procedural History

{¶2} On June 16, 2010, plaintiff filed a complaint in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against the APA. According to the complaint, plaintiff pled guilty in November 2004 to one count of sexual battery in violation of R.C. 2907.03(A)(3), a felony of the third degree, in case No. 2004CR1448 in the Stark County Court of Common Pleas. (Complaint, ¶7.) The complaint alleges the trial court sentenced plaintiff to three years of incarceration and stated, in its judgment entry, that postrelease control was "mandatory in this case up to a maximum of 5 years." (Complaint, ¶7, Exhibit B.) Plaintiff did not appeal from that sentence, completed his period of incarceration, and was released from custody on August 17, 2007. (Complaint, ¶10, Exhibit C.) Upon plaintiff's release, the APA placed plaintiff on postrelease control for a period of five years. (Complaint, ¶11, Exhibit C.)

{¶3} Plaintiff's complaint sought a declaratory judgment that the APA lacked the authority to subject him to postrelease control because postrelease control was not properly imposed as part of plaintiff's sentence, it violated the separation of powers doctrine, and it contravened principles of double jeopardy. Plaintiff sought preliminary and permanent injunctions to restrain the APA from subjecting him to postrelease control and requested an order directing the APA to immediately release him from postrelease control supervision.

{¶4} Following the APA's answer to the complaint, plaintiff moved for summary judgment on September 2, 2010 pursuant to Civ.R. 56 and requested the trial court to order his immediate release from postrelease control supervision. Plaintiff argued the words "up to" in the Stark County judgment entry were legally insufficient to impose a mandatory period of postrelease control and rendered the postrelease control portion of his sentence void.

{¶5} On September 27, 2010, the APA filed a memorandum opposing plaintiff's summary judgment motion as well as its own cross-motion for summary judgment. The APA noted that for it to apply postrelease control to an offender, the trial court must include the applicable postrelease control term in the offender's sentencing entry. Acknowledging the "up to" language in the sentencing entry, the APA contended the language did not render the sentence void on its face or nullify the APA's authority to apply postrelease control. Instead, the APA argued, the sentencing entry placed plaintiff on notice that postrelease control was mandatory, and plaintiff's remedy was to challenge his sentence on direct appeal, not in a collateral attack. Plaintiff filed a reply memorandum on October 21, 2010 supporting his summary judgment motion and opposing the APA's cross-motion for summary judgment.

{¶6} The trial court issued a decision and entry on December 16, 2010, granting the APA's and denying plaintiff's respective summary judgment motions. The court pointed out that neither party submitted a transcript from plaintiff's November 2004 sentencing hearing, so the court did not know whether the Stark County court advised plaintiff regarding postrelease control. The trial court further noted that, even if it had jurisdiction to hear a lawsuit filed against the APA, "at the heart of this action is a collateral attack on a sentence issued by the Stark County Court of Common Pleas." (Dec. 16, 2010 Judgment Entry.) Relying on Ohio Pyro, Inc v. Ohio Dept. of Comm., Div. of State Fire Marshall, 115 Ohio St.3d 375, 2007-Ohio-5024, cert. denied (2008), 552 U.S. 1275, 128 S.Ct. 1652, the court concluded plaintiff's action was an improper collateral attack on another court's judgment, because not only did the Stark County court have jurisdiction to issue the sentence against plaintiff, but the sentence was not the product of fraud.

II. Assignments of Error

{¶7} Plaintiff appeals, assigning the following errors:

FIRST ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

The Stark County Court of Common Pleas' Judgment Entry improperly imposed postrelease control and is contrary to law. Mr. Strong's complaint asked the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to determine whether or not the APA has authority to supervise Mr. Strong. It ...


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