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State ex rel. Ford v. Honorable Administrative Judge of Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District

September 23, 2013

STATE OF OHIO, EX REL. NATHAN FORD RELATOR
v.
THE HONORABLE ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE OF CUYAHOGA COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS RESPONDENT

Writ of Mandamus Motion No. 466805 Order No. 468319

FOR RELATOR Nathan Ford, pro se Inmate #513-816 Trumbull Correctional Institution

ATTORNEYS FOR RESPONDENT Timothy J. McGinty Cuyahoga County Prosecutor BY: James E. Moss Assistant Prosecuting Attorney.

JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

SEAN C. GALLAGHER, J.

(¶1} Ford seeks a writ of mandamus ordering "the administrative or current judge of Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas" to issue, pursuant to Civ.R. 58(B), notification of the judgment denying his motion to withdraw the plea of no contest on December 22, 2009. Ford maintains he filed the subject motion to withdraw in Cuyahoga C.P. No. CR-464709 but also identified Cuyahoga C.P. No. CR-469583 in the caption of his petition.[1] Respondent has moved for summary judgment on various grounds. Ford has not opposed respondent's motion for summary judgment, which we grant for the reasons that follow.

(¶2} The requisites for mandamus are well established: (1) the relator must establish a clear legal right to the requested relief; (2) the respondent must possess a clear legal duty to perform the requested relief; and (3) the relator does not possess nor possessed an adequate remedy at law. State ex rel. Tran v. McGrath, 78 Ohio St.3d 45, 676 N.E.2d 108 (1997).

(¶3} Ford cannot establish the requisite elements that would merit the issuance of a writ of mandamus.

(¶4} This original action concerns the trial court's December 22, 2009 judgment entry that denied Ford's motion to withdraw his no contest plea in Cuyahoga C.P. No. CR-464709-A. Ford has also designated Cuyahoga C.P. No. CR-469583 in his petition; however, the petition does not seek a writ of mandamus regarding any judgment in that case.[2] Accordingly, the petition must be denied with regard to case No. CR-469583 for that reason and is denied in case No. CR-464709-A for the reasons set forth below.

(¶5} Ford has failed to establish that the named respondent, i.e., the administrative judge, possesses a clear legal duty to provide notification of the subject criminal judgment pursuant to Civ.R. 58. Ford contends that Civ.R. 58(B) imposes a duty on the administrative judge to endorse direction to the clerk to serve notice of the trial court's December 22, 2009 denial of his motion to withdraw no contest plea. It does not.

(¶6} Civ.R. 58(B) applies to civil matters and provides:

When the court signs a judgment, the court shall endorse thereon a direction to the clerk to serve upon all parties not in default for failure to appear notice of the judgment and its date of entry upon the journal. Within three days of entering the judgment upon the journal, the clerk shall serve the parties in a manner prescribed by Civ.R. 5(B) note the service in the appearance docket. Upon serving the notice and notation of the service in the appearance docket, the service is complete. The failure of the clerk to serve notice does not affect the validity of the judgment or the running of the time for appeal except as provided in App.R. 4(A).

Cuyahoga C.P. No. CR-464709-A is currently assigned to Judge Robert McClelland, not the respondent judge. Accordingly, Ford has not named a proper respondent. Additionally, Civ.R. 58(B) applies to civil judgments and does not apply to criminal judgments. See State v. Mayo, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 80216, 2002 Ohio App. LEXIS 2075 (Apr. 24, 2002). This court has held that the clerk of courts has no legal duty to provide service of criminal judgments pursuant to Civ.R. 58(B). State ex rel. Daniels v. Fuerst, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 72192, 1997 Ohio App. LEXIS 2360 (May 29, 1997).[3] Therefore, neither the judge who signed the criminal judgment nor the judge who is presently assigned to the case had or has any legal duty to provide Civ.R. 58(B) endorsement on that criminal judgment. Although Civ.R. 58(B) does not apply, Crim.R. 32(C) requires that "[t]he judge shall sign the judgment and the clerk shall enter it on the journal. A judgment is effective only when entered on the journal by the clerk." Ford does not contend that there was any violation or failure to comply with the requirements of Crim.R. 32(C). Further, App.R. 5(A) allows for delayed appeals in criminal cases, which is an adequate remedy in the ordinary course of the law. State ex rel. Hayes v. Winkler, 131 Ohio St.3d 66, 2011-Ohio-6046, 960 N.E.2d 954, citing State ex rel. McKinney v. Defiance Cty. Court of Common Pleas, 123 Ohio St.3d 153, 2009-Ohio-4693, 914 N.E.2d 1044, ¶ 1.

(ΒΆ7} Accordingly, we grant the motion for summary judgment filed by respondent. Relator to pay costs. It is further ordered that the Clerk of the Eighth District Court of Appeals serve notice of this ...


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