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City of Willoughby Hills v. Lyons

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District

September 23, 2013

CITY OF WILLOUGHBY HILLS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
STEVEN D. LYONS, Defendant-Appellant.

Criminal Appeal from the Willoughby Municipal Court, Case No. 12TRD04639.

Michael P. Germano, City of Willoughby Hills Prosecutor, (For Plaintiff-Appellee).

Rick L Ferrara, (For Defendant-Appellant).

OPINION

TIMOTHY P. CANNON, P.J.

(¶1} Appellant, Steven D. Lyons, appeals the judgment of conviction from the Willoughby Municipal Court, after a bench trial, on one count of failing to comply with a traffic signal, a minor misdemeanor. For the following reasons, the judgment is affirmed.

(¶2} On June 24, 2012, appellant's vehicle collided with another motorist while attempting to turn left at an intersection in Willoughby Hills, Ohio. Appellant was charged with failing to comply with a traffic signal, a minor misdemeanor in violation of City of Willoughby Hills ordinance 313.03. Appellant pled not guilty, and the matter proceeded to a bench trial. Upon consideration of the evidence, the trial court convicted appellant and ordered him to pay a $50 fine, plus costs.

(¶3} Following trial, appellant filed objections to the magistrate's decision, which were overruled. Appellant attempted to timely appeal the trial court's entry; however, the entry was not final or appealable because it did not set forth the fact of conviction as required by Crim.R. 32(C), nor did it adopt the magistrate's decision. In the interests of judicial economy, we treated appellant's original notice as premature and remanded the matter to the trial court which, in turn, issued a final, appealable order. Accordingly, appellant's notice of appeal, by operation of App.R. 4(C), is treated as though it was filed immediately after the trial court's later entry.

(¶4} Appellant initially asserted four assignments of error in his appellate brief. However, his fourth assignment of error was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction via this court's judgment entry of June 27, 2013. His remaining assignments of error will be addressed in reverse order for ease of discussion.

(¶5}Appellant's third assignment of error states:

(¶6} "The trial court committed plain error by convicting appellant pursuant to a fatally defective complaint."

(¶7} Appellant argues his conviction must be reversed because the traffic citation charging failure to comply with a traffic signal did not recite the correct ordinance number. The merits of this contention need not be addressed because, factually, appellant's claim is inaccurate. Appellant was charged under the City of Willoughby Hills ordinance 313.03 which indeed sets forth the violation of failing to comply with a traffic signal. It provides, in relevant part:

(¶8} "No pedestrian or driver of a vehicle shall disobey the instructions of any traffic control device placed in accordance with the provisions of this Traffic Code, unless at the time otherwise directed by a police officer."

(¶9} This section was properly set forth in the traffic citation. As the city suggests, it would appear appellant has confused the ordinances from the city of Willoughby and the city of Willoughby Hills. By contrast, obedience to traffic control ...


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