Trial Court No. CRB-10-11207
David Toska, Chief Prosecutor, City of Toledo, and Joseph J. Howe, Assistant Prosecutor, for appellee.
Tim A. Dugan, for appellant.
DECISION AND JUDGMENT
(¶ 1} Appellant, Shirley Garmon, appeals the judgment of the Toledo Municipal Court, finding her guilty of failing or neglecting to obey or abide with an order to abate a public nuisance in violation of Toledo Municipal Code 1726.08(a). We reverse.
A. Facts and Procedural Background
(¶ 2} In April 2010, after investigating complaints concerning the condition of Garmon's home located at 3436 Ojten Road, Toledo, Ohio, appellee, the city of Toledo, ordered Garmon to "repair or demolish" her house. When Garmon failed to comply with the order, appellee filed a complaint against Garmon charging her with failing or neglecting to obey or abide with an order to abate a public nuisance in violation of Toledo Municipal Code 1726.08(a), a misdemeanor of the third degree.
(¶ 3} At her initial hearing on the matter, Garmon appeared with privately-retained counsel. During the course of the hearing, counsel filed a motion to withdraw due to Garmon's inability to pay and requested appointment of a public defender to represent Garmon. The trial court granted counsel's motion to withdraw, entered a plea of not guilty, and appointed a public defender as requested.
(¶ 4} Garmon failed to appear for the next scheduled court date. Consequently, a bench warrant was issued for her arrest. She subsequently appeared in court during amnesty week in order to have her bench warrant revoked. Garmon stated that she failed to appear because nobody contacted her and informed her that she was required to appear. The court proceeded to ask Garmon to enter a plea for a second time, to which she responded as follows:
THE DEFENDANT: As far as I'm concerned, sir, I am not guilty. On either account. Second thing, I did ask at the courts upstairs, or whatever it is, for the attorney for Ojten Road to give me their name and they refused, and I have not received a letter from anyone saying that they wanted to get out of it at all. * * *
THE COURT: I'm going to ask you to stop right there. If you're entering a plea of not guilty, I'm going to set the matter for trial. I had previously appointed a public defender to represent you.
THE DEFENDANT: I know, but nobody told me the name.
[HOUSING SPECIALIST] MS. FALLS: Judge, I don't believe she actually qualifies.
THE COURT: I'm telling you I'm not going to reappoint anyways. The bench warrant has been withdrawn. I'm going to enter a plea of not guilty for you. Go ...