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.

Lenhart v. Erdos

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

February 6, 2017

CHRISTOPHER E. LENHART, Petitioner,
v.
RONALD ERDOS, Warden, Respondent.

          Solomon Oliver, Jr. Chief Judge

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          James R. Knepp II United States Magistrate Judge

         Introduction

         Christopher Lenhart, a pro se Ohio prisoner, has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Doc. 1). Respondent, Warden Ronald Erdos, filed an answer (Doc. 10) and Petitioner filed a reply (Doc. 11). The district court has jurisdiction over this petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). This cause is before the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) for findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendations. See non-document entry dated December 29, 2015. For the reasons stated below, the undersigned recommends the Petition be dismissed.

         Facts

         A Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Grand Jury indicted Lenhart in three separate cases, Cuyahoga C.P. Nos. CR-12-558148, CR-12-558615, and CR-12-559178. State v. Lenhart, No. 99993, 2014 WL 2466019, at *1 (Ohio Ct. App. May 29, 2014).

         In Case No. CR-12-558148, Lenhart was indicted on one count of burglary with a notice of prior conviction specification and a repeat violent offender specification in violation of Ohio Rev. Code § 2911.12(A)(2), one count of theft in violation of Ohio Rev. Code § 2913.02(A)(1), one count of telecommunications harassment in violation of Ohio Rev. Code § 2917.21(B), one count of intimidation of crime victim or witness in violation of Ohio Rev. Code § 2921.04(B), one count of kidnapping with a notice of prior conviction specification and a repeat violent offender specification in violation of Ohio Rev. Code § 2905.01(B)(2), one count of assault in violation of Ohio Rev. Code § 2903.13(A), one count of felonious assault with a notice of prior conviction specification and a repeat violent offender specification in violation of Ohio Rev. Code § 2903.11(A)(2), and one count of aggravated menacing in violation of Ohio Rev. Code § 2903.21(A). (Doc. 10-1, at 6-9).

         In Case No. CR 12-558615, Lenhart was indicted for failure to provide notice of change of address in violation of Ohio Rev. Code § 2950.05(F)(1) and tampering with records in violation of Ohio Rev. Code § 2913.42(A). (Doc. 10-1, at 10-11).

         In Case No. CR-12-559178, Lenhart was indicted on two counts of intimidation of crime victim or witness in violation of Ohio Rev. Code § 2921.04(B). (Doc. 10-1, at 12-13). Lenhart pleaded not guilty to all counts in each case. (Doc. 10-1, at 14-16). “The trial court consolidated the three cases and proceeded to trial.” Lenhart, 2014 WL 2466019, at *1.

         While the jury trial was in progress, Lenhart notified the court he wished to change his plea in all three cases. (Doc. 10-1, at 25-30). Lenhart pleaded guilty to the following charges: in CR-12-558148, burglary, a second-degree felony and kidnapping, a first-degree felony; in CR-12-558615, notice of change of address, a third-degree felony; and in CR-12-559178, intimidation of crime victim or witness, a third-degree felony. Lenhart, 2014 WL 2466019, at *1. The parties subsequently “agreed upon a five-year sentence for all charges and the trial court imposed a five-year term of imprisonment.” Id. Lenhart failed to pursue a timely appeal to the Ohio Court of Appeals.

         On June 19, 2012, Lenhart filed a pro se motion to withdraw his guilty plea. (Doc. 10-1, at 31-35). Lenhart argued his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to approach the state regarding a possible plea bargain prior to trial and that he would have received a lesser sentence had his attorney done so. On June 29, 2012, the trial court denied the motion. (Doc. 10-1, at 36). Lenhart did not appeal the trial court's decision.

         On October 15, 2012, Lenhart filed a petition to vacate or set aside his conviction arguing ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Lenhart asserted counsel erred by advising Lenhart to plead guilty to burglary, and for failing to investigate whether Lenhart had permission, as a tenant, to enter his girlfriend's domicile. (Doc. 10-1, at 37-48). Lenhart filed a supplement to his petition asserting insufficient evidence to sustain a kidnapping conviction. He also claimed a Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), violation for the withholding of billing records. (Doc. 10-1, at 49-54).

         On April 19, 2013, Lenhart filed a motion for a specific performance order pursuant to Ohio Crim. R. 32(B)(2), claiming he was never informed of his right to appeal his conviction and sentence. (Doc. 10-1, at 60-62). On July 9, 2014, Lenhart filed a motion to proceed to judgment on a post-conviction petition in Case No. CR-12-558148, arguing the trial court failed to rule on his post-conviction petition. (Doc. 10-1, at 63-66). On March 9, 2015, the trial court denied Lenhart's motion, finding it was without merit. (Doc. 10-1, at 67). Lenhart did not appeal the trial court's decision.

         On June 13, 2013, Lenhart filed a notice of appeal and moved for leave to file a delayed appeal to the Ohio Court of Appeals from his March 14, 2012, conviction. (Doc. 10-1, at 68-81). On July 9, 2013, the Ohio Court of Appeals granted Lenhart's motion for leave to file a delayed appeal and appointed him counsel. (Doc. 10-1, at 82).

         On October 11, 2013, Lenhart, through counsel, moved to remand the case to the trial court for a ruling on his then-pending post-conviction petition. (Doc. 10-1, at 83-85). The appellate court granted Lenhart's motion. (Doc. 10-1, at 86).

         After his post-conviction petition was denied and jurisdiction was returned to the appellate court, Lenhart filed his brief, raising the following assignment of error:

The guilty pleas must be vacated because the Defendant entered the pleas under the mistaken belief, promulgated by the trial court, that (1) the charge of failure to provide notice of a change of address was a first-degree felony when that charge was only a low-tier third-degree felony, and (2) that first-degree felonies are only punishable by up to ten years of imprisonment as opposed to eleven years.

(Doc. 10-1, at 87-94).

         On May 29, 2014, the Ohio Court of Appeals overruled Lenhart's sole assignment of error, holding that no prejudice had occurred and that Lenhart understood the implications of his plea. (Doc. 10-1, at 105-13). Lenhart's pro se motion for ...


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.