Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Johnson v. State

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

June 8, 2017

SHAYLA JOHNSON, PLAINTIFF- APPELLEE
v.
STATE OF OHIO, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

         Civil Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CV-13-814379

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor BY: Brian R. Gutkoski Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Marcus R. Sidoti Mary Catherine O'Neill Corrigan Jordan & Sidoti, L.L.P.

          BEFORE: E.A. Gallagher, P.J., Stewart, J., and Jones, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          EILEEN A. GALLAGHER, PRESIDING JUDGE

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant, the state of Ohio, appeals from the judgment of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas finding plaintiff-appellee Shayla Johnson to be a wrongfully imprisoned individual under R.C. 2743.48(A). For the following reasons, we reverse and remand.

         Facts and Procedural Background

         {¶2} Johnson was convicted of drug trafficking, drug possession and possessing criminal tools stemming from a November 2, 2011 controlled buy/ bust operation conducted by the vice unit of the Cleveland Police Department. This court overturned Johnson's convictions in State v. Johnson, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 98966, 2013-Ohio-2692, finding that the state failed to present sufficient evidence to support the charges against her. Id. . at ¶ 14.

         {¶3} On September 25, 2013, Johnson filed a complaint against the state for wrongful imprisonment seeking to recover the approximately 11-month period she was incarcerated on the above charges. The case proceeded to a bench trial. At the onset of trial, the state stipulated that it was not contesting elements one, two or three of the five part definition of a "wrongfully imprisoned individual" under R.C. 2743.48(A). The record reflects that the state did contest both the fourth and fifth elements at trial.

         {¶4} The trial court found in favor of Johnson and issued a judgment entry explaining its decision. It found that the state had stipulated that Johnson satisfied the fourth element for wrongful imprisonment, R.C. 2743.48(A)(4), in addition to the first three elements. The trial court then made a number of factual findings pertaining to the fifth element, R.C. 2743.48(A)(5), and found in favor of Johnson on that element. It concluded that Johnson had met her burden in demonstrating that she was a wrongfully imprisoned person under the statute.

         Law and Analysis

         I. Erroneous Stipulation

         {¶5} In its first assignment of error, the state argues that the trial court failed to properly rule on the fourth element of wrongful imprisonment under R.C. 2743.48(A)(4). This error is plain from the record that reflects that the state stipulated only to the first three elements of the statute and contested both R.C. 2743.48(A)(4) and (A)(5) both on summary judgment and at trial. It is not the province of this court to usurp, in the first instance, the fact finding role of the trial court. State v. DeHass, 10 Ohio St.2d 230, 227 N.E.2d 212 (1967), paragraph one of the syllabus ("the weight to be given the evidence and the credibility of witnesses are primarily for the trier of facts"). Because it is clear from the record that the trial court relied upon the incorrect belief that the state had stipulated to the fourth element and did not engage in the necessary fact finding with respect to R.C. 2743.48(A)(4), we reverse and remand for proper consideration of that element.

         {¶6} In light of our conclusion that the trial court has yet to fulfill its factfinding duty with respect to all elements of R.C. 2743.48, we find that consideration of the state's second assignment of error, a manifest weight challenge to ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.