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State v. Doughman

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fourth District, Adams

June 6, 2017

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
BRADLEY D. DOUGHMAN, Defendant-Appellant.

          Timothy Young, Ohio Public Defender, and Eric M. Hedrick, Ohio Assistant Public Defender, Columbus, Ohio, for appellant.

          David Kelley, Adams County Prosecuting Attorney, West Union, Ohio, for appellee.

          DECISION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY

          William H. Harsha, Judge.

         {¶1} About five months after a bench trial, the court entered a judgment convicting Bradley D. Doughman of domestic violence. Doughman claims that the nearly five-month delay from the trial until the court found him guilty was unreasonable and resulted in a denial of his constitutional rights to due process of law and the administration of justice without denial or delay. As a result he contends the trial court lost jurisdiction to sentence him. He relies initially upon R.C. 2838.11(F), which states that a bench finding shall be announced in open court not more than 48 hours after submission of the case, and Sheffield v. Nieves, 52 Ohio App.2d 187, 188, 368 N.E.2d 1262 (9th Dist.1976), in support of his claim.

         {¶2} We reject Doughman's claim for several reasons. First, R.C. 2938.11(F) is directory, not mandatory. Second, Nieves is not binding upon our court and contains little analysis to make it persuasive. And as we have held, the test to determine both a due process and constitutional speedy-trial claim in a post-trial context is the same as the test for pretrial delay. Third, the nearly five-month delay and the lack of reasons to justify the delay do weigh in Doughman's favor. However, he did not assert his right to a timely court ruling, and although he speculates about the court's faded memory, he has not established any prejudice from the delay. Under these circumstances, he has failed to demonstrate a violation of his constitutional speedy-trial or due-process rights.

         {¶3} Doughman also contends that he is entitled to reversal of his conviction and discharge based on Crim.R. 32(A), which requires that sentence shall be imposed without delay. But he concedes that provision and the cases he cites construing it are inapplicable here because the rule addresses a delay between a conviction and the sentence, which he does not directly contest here.

         {¶4} Therefore, we overrule Doughman's assignment of error and affirm his conviction.

         I. FACTS

         {¶5} In July 2015, a deputy sheriff filed a complaint in the Adams County Court alleging that Bradley D. Doughman had committed domestic violence in violation of R.C. 2919.25(A) by choking and punching his wife in the nose. After Doughman's arrest he was released from jail on his own recognizance.

         {¶6} On October 19, 2015, the court held a bench trial on the criminal charge. At the conclusion of the trial the court stated that it would "make a decision and advise the parties." One hundred and forty three days later, on March 10, 2016, the trial court issued a journal entry finding Doughman guilty of domestic violence and ordered a presentence investigation.

         {¶7} Subsequently, the trial court sentenced Doughman to a suspended jail term, one year of community control, a fine, and court costs.

         II. ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

         {¶8} Doughman assigns the following error for our review:

THE DELAY OF NEARLY FIVE MONTHS BETWEEN MR. DOUGHMAN'S BENCH TRIAL AND THE COURT FINDING HIM GUILTY WAS UNREASONABLE AND RESULTED IN A DENIAL OF HIS RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS OF LAW UNDER THE CONSTITUTIONS OF THE UNITED STATES AND OHIO, A DIVESTMENT OF THE COURTS JURISDICTION, AND A VIOLATION OF THE OHIO CONSTITUTION'S ARTICLE I, SECTION 16 ...

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