Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Mandamus Motion No. 502941 Order No. 506258
RELATOR Donnyell Chambers, pro se
ATTORNEYS FOR RESPONDENT Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor By: James E. Moss Assistant County
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
T. GALLAGHER, P.J.
On December 5, 2016, the relator, Donnyell Chambers,
commenced this mandamus action against the respondent, Judge
Daniel Gaul. Although the relief Chambers seeks is difficult
to discern,  it appears that the gravamen of this
mandamus action is to compel the judge to rule on motions in
the underlying cases, State v. Chambers, Cuyahoga
C.P. No. CR-15-597676-A (rape and kidnapping), and State
v. Chambers, Cuyahoga C.P. No. CR-15-569239-A (felonious
assault, attempted felonious assault, and menacing). In the
rape case, one of his former attorneys filed a motion to
suppress evidence on March 22, 2016. Chambers filed pro se
motions to dismiss for lack of speedy trial in both of the
underlying cases on September 27, 2016. On December 21, 2016,
the respondent judge, through the Cuyahoga County prosecutor,
moved for summary judgment. Chambers never filed a response.
For the following reasons, this court grants the motion for
summary judgment and denies the application for a writ of
The requisites for mandamus are well established: (1) the
relator must have a clear legal right to the requested
relief, (2) the respondent must have a clear legal duty to
perform the requested relief, and (3) there must be no
adequate remedy at law. Additionally, although mandamus may
be used to compel a court to exercise judgment or to
discharge a function, it may not control judicial discretion,
even if that discretion is grossly abused. State ex rel.
Ney v. Niehaus, 33 Ohio St.3d 118, 515 N.E.2d 914
(1987). Furthermore, mandamus is not a substitute for appeal.
State ex rel. Daggett v. Gessaman, 34 Ohio St.2d 55,
295 N.E.2d 659 (1973); State ex rel. Pressley v. Indus.
Comm. of Ohio, 11 Ohio St.2d 141, 228 N.E.2d 631 (1967),
paragraph three of the syllabus. Thus, mandamus does not lie
to correct errors and procedural irregularities in the course
of a case. State ex rel. Jerninghan v. Gaughan, 8th
Dist. Cuyahoga No. 67787, 1994 Ohio App. LEXIS 6227 (Sept.
26, 1994). Moreover, mandamus is an extraordinary remedy that
is to be exercised with caution and only when the right is
clear. It should not issue in doubtful cases. State ex
rel. Taylor v. Glasser, 50 Ohio St.2d 165, 364 N.E.2d 1
The court has discretion in issuing mandamus. In Mettler
v. Stratton, 139 Ohio St. 86, 38 N.E.2d 393 (1941),
paragraph one of the syllabus, the Supreme Court of Ohio
ruled: "Mandamus is not a writ of right and the issuance
of the peremptory writ rests in the sound discretion of the
court." In State ex rel. Pressley v. Indus. Comm.
of Ohio, 11 Ohio St.2d 141, 228 N.E.2d 631 (1967),
paragraph seven of the syllabus, the Supreme Court of Ohio
reaffirmed this principle and considered the various elements
to be weighed in exercising discretion:
the exigency which calls for the exercise of such discretion,
the nature and extent of the wrong or injury which would
follow a refusal of the writ, and other facts which have a
bearing on the particular case. * * * Among the facts and
circumstances which the court will consider are the
applicant's rights, the interests of third persons, the
importance or unimportance of the case, the applicant's
conduct, the equity and justice of the relator's case,
public policy and the public's interest, whether the
performance of the act by the respondent would give the
relator any effective relief, and whether such act would be
impossible, illegal, or useless.
11 Ohio St.2d at 161-162. State ex rel. Bennett v.
Lime, 55 Ohio St.2d 62, 378 N.E.2d 152 (1978).
Under Ohio law, hybrid representation - a criminal defendant
may represent himself while also being represented by counsel
- is prohibited. State v. Martin, 103 Ohio St.3d
385, 2004-Ohio-5471, 816 N.E.2d 227, and State v.
Pizzaro, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 94849, 2011-Ohio-611.
Therefore, Chambers's motions to dismiss for lack of a
speedy trial are not properly before the court, and the
respondent has no duty to rule on them.
In reviewing the docket of the underlying cases, this court
notes that certain matters have delayed the resolution of the
case and, thus, of the subject motion to suppress. Chambers
has filed multiple pro se motions, including motions for
self-representation, to disqualify the judge, and to
disqualify court- appointed counsel. Defense counsel have
also moved to withdraw. The docket shows that five lawyers
have represented Chambers. The trial court has set the case
for trial four times and the motion to suppress for hearing
two times. The trial court has continued the case for
further discovery and negotiations. On February 23, 2017, the
court ordered independent testing of the DNA at state's
Mandamus may not lie to control judicial discretion. In
State ex rel. Richard v. Gorman, 83 Ohio App.3d 684,
686, 615 N.E.2d 689 (8th Dist.1992), this court recognized
that compelling a trial court to rule prematurely on a matter
would usurp a trial judge's discretion and his
"inherent power 'to regulate procedure that justice
might result, '" quoting Aluminum Industries,
Inc. v. Egan, 61 Ohio App. 111, 115, 22 N.E.2d 459 (1st
Dist.1938). This court also noted some of the variables, such
as the need for experts, that could cause a trial court in
the exercise of its discretion to delay in ruling on any
given motion. After considering the difficulties in the
underlying case as shown by the docket, this court in the
exercise of its discretion declines to issue the writ of
mandamus to compel the trial judge to rule on the subject
motion in order not to interfere with that court's
discretion and ability to regulate procedure.
Moreover, to the extent that Chambers seeks to have this
court investigate the trial court and the proceedings in
order to dismiss the underlying case, that is an
inappropriate use of mandamus. The correction of errors, if
any, is the purpose of appeal.
Relator also did not comply with R.C. 2969.25(C), which
requires that an inmate file a certified statement from his
prison cashier setting forth the balance in his private
account for each of the preceding six months. This also is
sufficient reason to deny the mandamus, deny indigency
status, and assess costs against the relator. State ex
rel. Pamer v. Collier,108 Ohio St.3d 492,
2006-Ohio-1507, 844 N.E.2d 842; State ex rel. Hunter v.
Cuyahoga Cty. Court of Common Pleas,88 Ohio St.3d 176,