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In re R.L.J.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

May 25, 2017

IN RE: R.L.J.

         Civil Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Juvenile Division Case No. DL 87100350

         AFFIRMED.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Stephen P. Hanudel Stephen P. Hanudel, Attorney at Law.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Frank Romeo Zeleznikar Assistant Prosecuting Attorney The Justice Center.

          BEFORE: Jones, J., S. Gallagher, P.J., and Blackmon, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          LARRY A. JONES, SR., JUDGE.

         {¶1} In 1987, defendant-appellant, R.L.J. and his brother, C.J., were charged in the stabbing death of Christina Kozak. R.L.J. and C.J. were minors at the time of Kozak's death and were charged in juvenile court with aggravated murder and aggravated robbery. A bindover hearing was held on March 11, 1987, and the court issued an order that day transferring the cases to the common pleas court for the brothers to stand trial as adults.

         {¶2} In September 1987, R.L.J. pleaded guilty to aggravated murder with a felony murder specification in Case No. CR-87-216477-B. In October 1987, he pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery with a three-year firearm specification in Case No. CR-87-221669-B. He was sentenced to life in prison with parole eligibility after 20 years. R.L.J. was granted leave to file a delayed appeal from his convictions in CR-87-216477-B and CR-87-221669-B and his convictions were affirmed in State v. Johnson, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga Nos. 55295, 55811, and 55812, 1989 Ohio App. LEXIS 1525 (Apr. 20, 1989), application to reopen denied, State v. Johnson, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga Nos. 55295, 55811, and 55812, 2000 Ohio App. LEXIS 3617 (Aug. 8, 2000). Johnson also pursued an appeal from the trial court's denial of his motion for a new trial in CR-87-216477-B, which this court affirmed in State v. Johnson, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 80247, 2002-Ohio-2712.

         {¶3} In 2003, R.L.J. filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in federal court, which was dismissed. Then, in 2016, R.L.J. filed a series of writs and motions. He filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Eleventh District Court of Appeals, which was dismissed. Johnson v. Sloan, 11th Dist. Ashtabula No. 2016-A-0009, 2016-Ohio-5375. He sought a writ of prohibition in this court alleging that the general division of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas patently and unambiguously lacked jurisdiction to convict and sentence him on the aggravated robbery charge in CR-87-221669-B. This court denied his writ and granted respondent's motion to dismiss. State ex rel. Johnson v. Cuyahoga Cty. Court of Common Pleas, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 104891, 2017-Ohio-394, ¶ 19. R.L.J. also filed the motion that is the basis for this appeal, asking the juvenile court to issue a nunc pro tunc order with regard to the bindover judgment entry filed March 11, 1987. The court held a hearing on the matter and denied the motion.

         {¶4} R.L.J. now appeals, raising one assignment of error for our review:

         I. The Juvenile Court erred by denying Appellant a Nunc Pro Tunc Entry to reflect the truth of Appellant's bindover proceedings in 1987.

         {¶5} In his motion, that, as mentioned, was filed in juvenile court, R.L.J. asked the court to amend its March 11, 1987 bindover entry, by way of a nunc pro tunc order, to reflect that a physical examination of him never occurred and that his mental examination was not completed by a qualified person.

         {¶6} Trial courts are granted authority to correct errors in judgment entries so that the record speaks the truth through the use of nunc pro tunc entries. State ex rel. Fogle v. Steiner, 74 Ohio St.3d 158, 163-164, 656 N.E.2d 1288 (1995); Crim.R. 36. Crim.R. 36 provides that "[c]lerical mistakes in judgments, orders, or other parts of the record, and errors in the record arising from oversight or omission, may be corrected by the court at any time." Thus, a nunc pro tunc entry merely serves as an accurate reflection of what the trial court actually decided; it cannot be used to reflect what the court might or should have decided, or intended to decide. State v. Carter, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 101810, 2015-Ohio-1834, ¶ 40, citing State v. Lester, 130 Ohio St.3d 303, 2011-Ohio-5204, 958 N.E.2d 142, ¶ 18.

         {¶7} The record reflects that during the March 11, 1987 bindover hearing, R.L.J.'s probation officer advised the court that after psychological and psychiatric tests were performed in the detention home, the examinations did not find that R.L.J. had any physical or mental ...


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