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State v. Tauwab

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Summit

January 11, 2017

STATE OF OHIO Appellee
v.
AMIR J. TAUWAB Appellant

         APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CR 2014-02-0347

          AMIR J. TAUWAB, pro se, Appellant.

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

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          FRANK D. CELEBREZZE, JR. JUDGE

         {¶1} Defendant-Appellant, Amir Tauwab, appeals from the judgment of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, denying his petition for post-conviction relief. This Court affirms.

         I

         {¶2} In February 2014, a grand jury indicted Tauwab on one count of grand theft auto. Tauwab attended his arraignment and pleaded not guilty, but later failed to appear at a scheduled pre-trial. His failure to appear led the court to issue a capias for his arrest that remained outstanding for eight months before Tauwab then filed several pro se motions. One of those motions, filed December 3, 2014, was a motion to dismiss his indictment due to a speedy trial violation.

         {¶3} Tauwab sought a dismissal of his indictment on the basis of RC. 2941.401. He averred that he had been incarcerated since at least April 25, 2014, and, on that date, he had forwarded the prison warden documents, requesting a final disposition in this matter. It was Tauwab's position that he had fulfilled the statutory requirements set forth in R.C. 2941.401, had not been brought to trial within the requisite time period, and, therefore, was entitled to a dismissal. The State, however, responded that it had never received written notice that Tauwab was available for trial. On December 17, 2014, the trial court denied Tauwab's motion on the basis that neither it, nor the State, had received notice of his request to be brought to trial.

         {¶4} Following the court's denial of his motion, Tauwab filed a reply brief in support of his motion as well as a motion for reconsideration. The trial court denied his motion to reconsider, but allowed him to make an oral motion to dismiss on the same grounds at his March 4, 2015 pre-trial. The State then filed a written brief in opposition to the oral motion to dismiss. In its brief in opposition, the State argued that Tauwab was not entitled to a dismissal under R.C. 2941.401 because he had neglected to comply with the statute's notice provisions. The State attached to its brief affidavits from Carolyn Young and Julie Loomis, two employees of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. On March 16, 2015, the trial court denied Tauwab's motion. Although the court determined that Tauwab had set forth a prima facie case that he had complied with R.C. 2941.401's notice provisions, the court found that the State had rebutted his prima facie showing. As such, the court set the matter for trial.

         {¶5} After a jury was empaneled, Tauwab decided to retract his not guilty plea and plead no contest to the charge of grand theft auto. As a part of his plea, Tauwab agreed to forfeit any right or interest he might have in the 2013 Hyundai Equus that was the subject of his charge. The trial court sentenced him to six months in prison, ordered his interest in the subject vehicle forfeited, and ordered the vehicle returned. The court also ordered the Summit County Clerk of Courts to issue a clear title for the vehicle.

         {¶6} Tauwab appealed from the trial court's denial of his motion to dismiss, and this Court affirmed the trial court's judgment. See State v. Tauwab, 9th Dist. Summit No. 27736, 2015-Ohio-3751. Specifically, we determined that Tauwab had failed to show that he properly invoked his speedy trial rights under R.C. 2941.401 by delivering the necessary statutory notices to the prison's warden. Id. at ¶ 13-15.

         {¶7} Shortly before this Court issued its decision, Tauwab filed a petition for post-conviction relief. He also later filed a motion for summary judgment. The basis for both his petition and motion for summary judgment was once again that his speedy trial rights under R.C. 2941.401 had been violated. The State moved to dismiss Tauwab's petition, and he filed a brief in opposition to the dismissal. He also filed a motion to vacate the court's orders about the title to the vehicle at issue, should he prove successful on his petition for post-conviction relief. The State filed a brief in opposition to both Tauwab's motion for summary judgment and his motion to vacate. Subsequently, the court denied all of Tauwab's outstanding motions.

         {¶8} Tauwab now appeals from the court's judgment and raises one ...


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