Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. El-Jones

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District

July 31, 2013

STATE OF OHIO Appellee
v.
ELOHIM EL-JONES Appellant

APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CR 2011 01 0136

JANA DELOACH, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

SHERRI BEVAN WALSH, Prosecuting Attorney, and RICHARD S. KASAY, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.

DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

DONNA J. CARR, Judge.

{¶1} Appellant, Elohim El-Jones, appeals the order of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas that denied his petition for postconviction relief without a hearing. This Court affirms.

I.

{¶2} A jury found El-Jones guilty of murdering Michael Kirksey, and the trial court sentenced him to life in prison with the possibility of parole after thirty-three years. El-Jones appealed, and this Court affirmed his convictions, but reversed and remanded for the trial court to correct errors at the sentencing hearing. State v. El-Jones, 9th Dist. Summit No. 26136, 2012-Ohio-4134. While his direct appeal was pending, El-Jones petitioned the trial court for postconviction relief, arguing that trial counsel failed to raise an alibi defense and that his trial was marked by police and prosecutorial misconduct. The trial court denied the petition without a hearing, and El-Jones appealed.

II.

Assignment of Error

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT GRANTING THE APPELLANT'S MOTION FOR POSTCONVICTION RELIEF.

{¶3} El-Jones' assignment of error is that the trial court erred by denying his petition with respect to each of his two grounds for relief without a hearing. We disagree.

{¶4} Under R.C. 2953.21(A)(1), a convicted criminal defendant may petition the trial court to vacate or set aside the judgment or sentence because it is void or voidable under the Constitution of the United States or the Ohio Constitution. The petitioner may file documentary evidence in support of the petition. Id. A petitioner "is not automatically entitled to a hearing." State v. Calhoun, 86 Ohio St.3d 279, 282 (1999). In that respect, the trial court has a "gatekeeping" function. State v. Gondor, 112 Ohio St.3d 77, 2006-Ohio-6679, ¶ 51. "Pursuant to R.C. 2953.21(C), a trial court properly denies a defendant's petition for postconviction relief without holding an evidentiary hearing where the petition, the supporting affidavits, the documentary evidence, the files, and the records do not demonstrate that petitioner set forth sufficient operative facts to establish substantive grounds for relief" Calhoun at paragraph two of the syllabus.

{¶5} When a trial court exercises its "gatekeeping" function by determining that the petitioner has not alleged sufficient operative facts that would establish the substantive grounds for relief, our review is a two-step process. First, we must determine whether the trial court's findings of fact are supported by competent and credible evidence. State v. Wesson, 9th Dist. Summit No. 25874, 2012-Ohio-4495, ¶ 11, citing Gondor at ¶ 52. "If this Court concludes that the findings are properly supported, then this Court reviews the trial court's decision in regard to its gatekeeping function for an abuse of discretion." Id. An abuse of discretion "connotes more than an error of law or of judgment; it implies that the court's attitude is unreasonable, arbitrary or unconscionable." State v. Adams, 62 Ohio St.2d 151, 157 (1980).

{¶6} El-Jones raised two grounds for relief in his petition: (1) that trial counsel was ineffective in failing to present an alibi defense, and (2) that he was denied the right to a fair trial because potential witnesses were threatened with criminal charges. With his petition, El-Jones filed the affidavits of family members who claim to have seen him at a family reunion on the date of the shooting, witnesses who claimed that they were threatened or coerced regarding their testimony at trial, and a ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.