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Lomax v. Lazaroff

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

March 31, 2017

RODNEY LOMAX, Petitioner,
v.
ALAN J. LAZAROFF, [1] Warden, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER [RESOLVING ECF NO. 11]

          Benita Y. Pearson United States District Judge.

         Petitioner Rodney Lomax, an Ohio prisoner at the Mansfield Correctional Institution, through counsel, [2] filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (ECF No. 1), alleging three (3) grounds for relief which challenge the constitutional sufficiency of his convictions and sentence in Cuyahoga County, Ohio Court of Common Pleas Case Nos. CR-10-543073-A, CR-11-549126-B, and CR-11-549974-A. The case was referred to Magistrate Judge George J. Limbert for a Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and Local Rule 72.2. The magistrate judge subsequently issued a Report and Recommendation (ECF No. 9). In his Report, the magistrate judge recommends that the Court dismiss the petition because Ground One is not cognizable in this federal habeas corpus proceeding or, in the alternative, is without merit. In addition, Grounds Two and Three fail on the merits. Petitioner filed timely Objections to the Magistrate Judge's Report (ECF No. 11). The Court, after reviewing the Objections, hereby adopts the Report and denies the Petition.

         I. Facts

         In November 2010, Petitioner was indicted in Case No. CR-10-543073-A. Indictment (ECF No. 8 at PageID #: 243-60). In April 2011, Petitioner was indicted in Case No. CR-11-549126-B. Indictment (ECF No. 8 at PageID #: 262-66). In May 2011, Petitioner was indicted in Case No. CR-11-549974-A. Indictment (ECF No. 8 at PageID #: 234-41). The parties reached a plea bargain, and on August 8, 2011, Petitioner entered guilty pleas to amended charges in each case. Transcript of Change of Plea Hearing (ECF No. 8 at PageID #: 363-88). On September 22, 2011, the trial court sentenced Petitioner to an aggregate 17-year term of imprisonment on all three cases. Transcript of Sentencing Hearing (ECF No. 8 at PageID #: 389-404); Journal Entries (ECF No. 8 at PageID #: 268-70).

         In September 2012, the Eighth District Court of Appeals of Ohio affirmed Petitioner's convictions and sentence. State v. Lomax, No. No. 98125, 2012 WL 4019019 (Ohio App. 8th Dist. Sept. 13, 2012) (ECF No. 8 at PageID #: 303-14). On September 24, 2013, Petitioner filed an application for reconsideration, which was denied by the Eighth District on October 11, 2012. ECF No. 8 at PageID #: 328. In February 2013, the Ohio Supreme Court declined to accept jurisdiction of the appeal, State v. Lomax, 134 Ohio St.3d 1453 (2013) (ECF No. 8 at PageID #: 361), and Petitioner did not further appeal to the United States Supreme Court.

         On December 20, 2013, Petitioner filed the instant Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus (ECF No. 1).

         II. Standard of Review for a Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation

         When objections have been made to the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation, the District Court standard of review is de novo. Fed. R. Civ. 72(b)(3).

         A district judge:

must determine de novo any part of the magistrate judge's disposition that has been properly objected to. The district judge may accept, reject, or modify the recommended disposition; receive further evidence; or return the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions.

Id.

         Accordingly, this Court has conducted a de novo review of the portions of the Magistrate Judge's Report to which Petitioner has properly objected.

         III. Law & Analysis

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), as amended by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”), a writ of habeas corpus may ...


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