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City of Brooklyn v. Woods

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

May 18, 2017

CITY OF BROOKLYN, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
WILLIAM WOODS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

         Civil Appeal from the Parma Municipal Court Case No. 14 CRB-03624

          FOR APPELLANT William Woods, pro se

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Kevin M. Butler City of Brooklyn Law Director BY: James J. McDonnell Assistant Law Director

          BEFORE: Jones, J., McCormack, P.J., and Blackmon, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          LARRY A. JONES, SR., JUDGE

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant William Woods appeals from the trial court's judgment denying his petition for postconviction relief For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

         {¶2} In 2014, Woods was charged with petty theft after he was involved in an incident at the Walmart store located in Brooklyn, Ohio. The matter was tried to the court in the Parma Municipal Court, and the court found Woods guilty of the charge. The court sentenced him to 180 days in jail, with 170 days credit for time served and imposed a $250 fine. Woods appealed, and this court affirmed the conviction. Brooklyn v. Woods, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 102120, 2016-Ohio-1223. The following facts are primarily summarized from this court's opinion in the direct appeal.

         {¶3} In June 2014, Woods was a customer at the subject Walmart. Two asset protection specialists who worked for the store testified at trial. According to their testimony, they saw Woods go into the store's electronics department and place in his cart a TV wall mount that retailed for $99.96 and an electronic accessory that retailed for $17.96. The specialists then saw Woods leave the electronics department and go to an aisle in the store where grocery items were sold. The two specialists continued to observe Woods while he was in the grocery aisle, and saw him peel off the Universal Product Code ("UPC") sticker from the less expensive accessory box and place it over the UPC sticker on the box containing the wall mount. One of the specialists testified that Woods left the accessory box "behind" and proceeded to a check out line, where he paid $17.96 for the wall mount. The specialists stopped Woods before he left the store and escorted him to the assets protection office, where he eventually admitted that he had switched the "price tags."

         {¶4} One of the specialists testified about the security cameras in the store, explaining that they were in a "fixed" position. The specialist testified that, because of the "fixed" position of the cameras, the camera located near the grocery aisle where Woods switched the UPC sticker did not capture Woods doing so. During cross-examination of that specialist, defense counsel attempted to play the portion of the surveillance video from when Woods was in the electronics department, but due to technological difficulties, was unable to do so.[1] The city and defense agreed to mark the video as "heard and submitted" and it was admitted into evidence as a joint exhibit. In rendering its decision, the court referenced the video and stated that it had "carefully review[ed] all of the evidence that was submitted."

         {¶5} In his direct appeal, Woods challenged the conviction based on the following grounds: (1) ineffective assistance of his counsel; (2) manifest weight of the evidence; (3) sufficiency of the evidence; and (3) lack of due process and a fair trial. After his conviction was affirmed, Woods filed an App.R. 26 application to reopen his direct appeal, which was denied. Brooklyn v. Woods, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 103120, 2016-Ohio-7603. Woods also filed a petition for postconviction relief in the trial court, which was denied, and is the subject of this appeal, with the following assignments of error presented for our review:

I. The trial court erred by denying the petition for post-conviction relief when the prosecuting attorney failed to respond by answer or motion.
II. The trial court erred in its denial of post-conviction relief by giving insufficient findings of fact and conclusions of law.
III. The trial court erred in its denial of post-conviction relief by failing to grant an evidentiary hearing.
IV. The petitioner's constitutional right to due process [was] violated by having his petition heard by the ...

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