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James L. Chatfield v. Deb Timmerman-Cooper

November 3, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Magistrate Judge E.A. Preston Deavers



This matter is before the Court for consideration of Petitioner's Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma Pauperis. Upon consideration, the Court finds the Motion is meritorious, and, therefore, it is GRANTED.

WHEREUPON, IT IS ORDERED THAT the Petitioner be allowed to prosecute his action without prepayment of fees or costs and that judicial officers who render services in this action shall do so as if the costs had been prepaid.

Petitioner, a state prisoner, brings the instant Petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The case is before the Court pursuant to its own motion under Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts. For the reasons that follow, the Magistrate Judge RECOMMENDS that this action be DISMISSED.


The Ohio Fifth District Court of Appeals summarized the facts and procedural history of this case as follows:

On June 25, 2008, the Perry County Grand Jury indicted Appellant in Case No. 08CR0050 on five counts of breaking and entering, four counts of theft, and one count of attempted theft. A warrant was issued for Appellant's arrest. It appears from the docket, Appellant was arrested sometime in December, 2008, or early January, 2009. Appellant appeared before the trial court for arraignment on January 26, 2009, and entered a plea of not guilty to the charges contained in the Indictment. The trial court subsequently found Appellant indigent and appointed counsel for him.

On January 27, 2009, the Perry County Grand Jury issued a second Indictment against Appellant in Case No. 09CR0003. The Indictment charged one count of breaking and entering, and one count of theft. Both charges arose from an incident which occurred on or about November 2, 2008. Appellant appeared for arraignment in Case No. 09CR0003 on February 4, 2009, and entered a plea of not guilty to the Indictment.

The trial court scheduled Case No. 08CR0050 for trial on April 14, 2009. The trial court scheduled the jury trial in Case No. 09CR0003 for April 29, 2009. Appellant filed a Motion for Continuance in Case No. 08CR0050 on April 10, 2009. The trial court rescheduled the jury trial in Case No. 08CR0050 for April 28, 2009. Prior to the commencement of trial on April 28, 2009, defense counsel made an oral motion for continuance, advising the trial court he needed additional time to obtain police reports relative to a stolen vehicle which was allegedly used during the commission of some of the offenses. The trial court denied the request and commenced voir dire.

The following evidence was adduced at trial.

Deputy Daniel P. Corder with the Perry County Sheriff's Office testified he was dispatched to a business known as Tourcon on November 27, 2007, on an "alarm drop". When Deputy Corder arrived, deputies from the Licking County Sheriff's Office; Steve Dearlove, the owner; and Paul Brown, the owner of the building complex, were already at the scene. The deputy explained the offender had smashed open the front door of the business, but did not find the object which had been used to gain entrance. Deputy Corder was unable to lift any fingerprints at the scene. He was advised Paul Brown had observed a white Ford Explorer exiting the parking lot.

John Gillogly, the owner of Coop's Corner, testified his store was broken into on October 14, 2007. Despite numerous security measures, the offender was able to gain access into the store by throwing a heavy block through glass windows which had been framed in with two-by-fours. The phone wires at the business had been cut. The offender also cut the locks of a gate securing cigarette cartons. Approximately $2,600.00 worth of cigarettes were stolen. Gillogly was able to provide law enforcement officers with a surveillance video taken that evening. The video depicted the offender, who entered the business with a large trash can, proceed behind the checkout counter, cut the locks on the security gate, and fill the trash can with cartons of cigarettes. The offender left the store after approximately three minutes. The exterior security camera caught the vehicle driving out of the parking lot and travel toward the interstate.

Deputy Lee Hawks, who was an investigator with the Perry County Sheriff's Office in 2006, and 2007, testified he was dispatched to Coop's Corner on October 14, 2007. One of the first shift employees had telephoned the Sheriff's Office regarding a break-in. Officer Hawks conducted a security sweep of the store as well as a preliminary look for evidence. The officer found a window on the southwest corner of the building had been completely smashed out, leaving shattered glass and pieces of plywood on the floor of the store under the window. Officer Hawks testified the padlocks, which secured the cage over the cigarettes, had been cut. Part of a concrete bench which was located outside the business had been used to smash through the glass window. Jeff Cook, a crime scene technician with BCI, came to the scene to assist Officer Hawks in processing the scene. Numerous footwear impressions were taken from the scene, all having the same tread wear pattern.

Deputy Hawks detailed the evidence compiled. Surveillance video was forwarded to evidence technicians at the Attorney General's Office for enhancement of the imagery. Still photographs of the suspect were made from the surveillance video. The photographs depicted a white male with dark hair and a beard, wearing a flannel jacket, and dumping cartons of cigarettes into a trash can. Surveillance video was subsequently obtained from Lake's End, a business adjacent to Tri-County Plumbing, which had also been broken into during the same time period. The surveillance video showed a white Ford Explorer traveling onto the Tri-County Plumbing parking lot, and leaving a short time later. The date and time feature of the surveillance video revealed the vehicle was in the parking lot at the same time the alarm went off at Tri-County. Deputy Hawks testified Pataskala police officers apprehended the driver and passenger of a vehicle matching the ...

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