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Woods v. Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

Court of Claims of Ohio

April 19, 2017

JEFFERY WOODS Plaintiff
v.
DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION AND CORRECTION Defendant

          Sent to S.C. Reporter 6/23/17

          DECISION OF THE MAGISTRATE

          GARY PETERSON, Magistrate Judge

         {¶1} Plaintiff, an inmate in the custody and control of defendant, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC), brought this action for false imprisonment. The issues of liability and damages were bifurcated and the case proceeded to trial on the issue of liability.

         {¶2} At trial, Angela Dailey testified that she has been employed by ODRC for 19 years and that for the previous six years she has held the position of a Correction Records Computation Auditor. Dailey explained that the division with which she works is a part of the Bureau of Sentencing Computation (BOSC). Dailey stated that her job duties include, among other things, certifying release dates for inmates incarcerated by ODRC. To calculate such dates, Dailey reviews court documentation, sentencing entries, and indictments.

         {¶3} Dailey testified that she reviewed plaintiffs sentencing entries and indictments in order to calculate the expiration of plaintiffs sentences. Those exhibits were admitted as Joint Exhibits 1-8. Plaintiff also admitted several exhibits that are duplicative of the Joint Exhibits.

         {¶4} According to the Joint Exhibits, and the exhibits offered by plaintiff, on December 4, 1984, in Case Number B842032, the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas sentenced plaintiff to a minimum term of five years and a maximum term of 25 years for aggravated robbery. (Joint Exhibit 2). That same day, in Case Number B842819, plaintiff was sentenced to a minimum term of five years and a maximum term of 25 years for aggravated robbery. (Joint Exhibit 1). The sentencing entry in B842819 provided that the term of imprisonment shall run concurrently with B842032. (Joint Exhibit 1). In July 1985, the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas suspended the sentences in B842819 and B842032 and placed plaintiff on probation. (Joint Exhibit 3).

         {¶5} On August 7, 1986, the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas sentenced plaintiff in Case Number B852988 after being found guilty of five counts of rape (counts 1-5), one count of aggravated robbery (count 8), one count of attempted rape (count 11), and one count of robbery (count 12). (Joint Exhibit 4). Plaintiff was sentenced to a minimum term of 10 years and a maximum term of 25 years on each of counts 1-5 and 8 and to a minimum term of five years and a maximum term of 15 years on each of counts 11 and 12. Id. The sentencing entry ordered that the sentences for counts 1-5 and 8 run concurrently and that the sentences for counts 11 and 12 run concurrently. Id.

         {¶6} Also on August 7, 1986, the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, issued a judgment entry in B842819 revoking plaintiffs probation and ordered that plaintiff be imprisoned for "a minimum term of Ten (10) years (Actual), and a maximum term of Twenty-Five (25) years to run consecutive with B852988 and B842032." (Joint Exhibit 5).

         {¶7} Additionally, on August 7, 1986, the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas issued a judgment entry in B842032 revoking plaintiffs probation and ordered that plaintiff be imprisoned for "a minimum term of Five (5) years (Actual), and a maximum term of Twenty-Five (25) years to run consecutive with B852988." (Joint Exhibit 6).

         {¶8} In 1995, the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas issued an amended judgment entry in B842819 wherein the court stated that the August 7, 1986 entry be amended nunc pro tunc to read that plaintiff "is sentenced to be imprisoned in the Ohio Penitentiary for a minimum of five (5) years and a maximum of twenty-five (25) years and pay costs. Said sentence to run concurrent with B842032 but consecutive to B852988." (Joint Exhibit 7).

         {¶9} Also in 1995, the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas issued an amended judgment entry in B842032 wherein the court stated that the August 7, 1986 entry be amended nunc pro tunc to read that plaintiff "is sentenced to be imprisoned in the Ohio Penitentiary for a minimum of five (5) years and a maximum of twenty-five (25) years and pay costs. Said sentence to run concurrent with B842819 but consecutive to B852988." (Joint Exhibit 8).

         {¶10} Dailey testified that she reviewed plaintiffs sentencing entries in addition to any jailtime credit that he received to calculate his maximum release date. Dailey stated that the sentencing entries provide that plaintiff be sentenced to a maximum of 25 years for B842032 to run concurrent with the maximum of 25 years in B842819, but consecutive to the maximum sentence of 25 years in B852988. Dailey explained that consecutive means that the sentences are served one right after the other, whereas concurrent means the sentences are served at the same time. As a result, Dailey calculated that plaintiffs maximum release date is November 19, 2034.

         {¶11} Finally, Dailey testified that three of the judgment entries are signed by the judge in the top right corner of the documents, although she acknowledged that the judge did not sign directly above the signature line on one of the entries. (Joint Exhibits 4-6). Dailey added that in her position, she has reviewed many judgment entries from the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas and that it is not uncommon for a judge to sign the document in the top right corner.

         {¶12} Plaintiff testified that the sentencing entry in B852988 is void inasmuch as he believes the judge failed to sign the document. In addition, plaintiff testified that the sentencing entry in B852988 fails to state how the sentence is to be served in relation to B842819 and B842032. Plaintiff stated that the sentences for B842819 and B842032 are to be served concurrently and that in 2009 he completed the maximum sentence with respect to those two cases. Plaintiff reasoned that inasmuch ...


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