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State v. Caulton

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District

June 27, 2013

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
ANTHONY CAULTON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

Criminal Appeal from Common Pleas Court, Case No. 06 CR 1191.

For Plaintiff-Appellee: Attorney Paul J. Gains Prosecuting Attorney Attorney Ralph M. Rivera Assistant Prosecuting Attorney.

For Defendant-Appellant: Anthony Caulton, Pro-se #573-792 Trumbull Correctional Institute.

JUDGES: Hon. Mary DeGenaro Hon. Gene Donofrio Hon. Cheryl L. Waite.

OPINION

DeGenaro, P.J.

{¶1} Pro-se Defendant-Appellant, Anthony Caulton, appeals the decision of the Mahoning County Court of Common Pleas denying his motion to assess jurisdiction and for strict compliance. On appeal, he argues that the visiting judge who presided over his jury trial was never properly assigned to the case and thus lacked jurisdiction over the matter. He further alleges that the judgment entry of sentence was not a final appealable order because it failed to comply with Crim.R. 32(C) and that the trial court lacked jurisdiction because the indictment was not properly filed.

{¶2} Upon review, Caulton's arguments are meritless. The trial court correctly found that Caulton's argument regarding the visiting judge's authority over his case was barred by res judicata. Moreover, the judgment entry of sentence was a final appealable order in compliance with Crim.R. 32(C) and the indictment was properly filed and does not appear to contain any jurisdictional defects. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

Facts and Procedural History

{¶3} In August 2009, following a jury trial presided over by a visiting judge, Caulton was convicted of murder (R.C. 2903.02(A)), an unclassified felony, with an accompanying R.C. 2941.145(A) firearm specification. The trial court imposed a term of 15 years to life for the murder charge with an additional three years for the firearm specification, to be served prior to and consecutive to the term for the murder charge. On direct appeal, this court affirmed the judgment of the trial court. State v. Caulton, 7th Dist. No. 09 MA 140, 2011-Ohio-6636. The Ohio Supreme Court denied Caulton's appeal. State v. Caulton, 131 Ohio St.3d 1500, 2012-Ohio-1501, 964 N.E.2d 440.

{¶4} On June 29, 2012, Caulton filed a pro-se "motion to assess jurisdiction and for compliance with Crim.R. 32(C)." Caulton argued that the trial court's August 4, 2009 judgment entry of sentence failed to comply with Crim.R. 32(C) and State v. Baker, 119 Ohio St.3d 197, 2008-Ohio-3330, 893 N.E.2d 163. He also contended that the indictment did not contain the required time stamp from the clerk of courts. Further, he argued that the visiting judge was not properly assigned to hear his case. On July 27, 2012, the trial court issued a judgment entry denying Caulton's motion, finding that his claims are barred by res judicata and that Visiting Judge Thomas P. Curran was commissioned by the Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court under Article IV, Section 6 of the Ohio Constitution.

Assignment of Visiting Judge

{¶5} In Caulton's first of two assignments of error, he argues:

{¶6} "Court erred when it overruled defendants [sic] properly plead motion to comply with 32(C), and assess jurisdiction, when the record shows the original judge signed to this case was judge (CHRONIN), but a [sic] unassigned visiting judge (CURRAN) ENTERED JUDGMENT WITHOUT ANY AUTHORITY TO DO SO."

{¶7} Caulton argues that the visiting judge lacked authority over his case because the judge was not properly assigned, contending the record lacks any evidence of a proper assignment by the Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court. Thus, he argues that the visiting judge issued a ...


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