Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
APPELLANT Michael Williamson, pro se Richland Correctional
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor By: Diane Smilanick Assistant Prosecuting
Attorney Justice Center.
BEFORE: E.A. Gallagher, J., Keough, A.J., and Boyle, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
A. GALLAGHER, JUDGE.
Defendant-appellant Michael Williamson appeals the denial of
his application for DNA testing in the Cuyahoga County Court
of Common Pleas. For the following reasons, we reverse and
and Procedural Background
In 2001, Williamson was convicted of 12 counts of rape in
violation of R.C. 2907.02 and was sentenced to 12 consecutive
life terms. This court affirmed his convictions in State
v. Williamson, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 80982,
On November 23, 2016, Williamson filed an application for DNA
testing pursuant to R.C. 2953.71 through 2953.81. On December
9, 2016 the trial court denied Williamson's motion as
R.C. 2953.71 through 2953.81 govern postconviction DNA
testing for eligible inmates. R.C. 2953.73(A) provides that
an eligible inmate who wants to request DNA testing pursuant
to R.C. 2953.71 to 2953.81, must submit an application for
DNA testing to the common pleas court that sentenced the
inmate for the relevant offense. R.C. 2953.73(D) requires the
trial court to "enter a judgment and order that either
accepts or rejects the application and that includes within
the judgment and order the reasons for the acceptance or
rejection as applied to the criteria and procedures set forth
in [R.C] 2953.71 to 2953.81[.]" State v.
Curtis, 12th Dist. Brown No. CA2014-10-019,
2015-Ohio-2460, ¶ 17.
This court has held that when a trial court fails to engage
in an analysis of defense theories or provide the reasons on
which it relied in reaching its conclusion that the requested
DNA test would not be outcome determinative under R.C.
2953.71(L), its order is insufficient. State v.
Smith, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 87937, 2007-Ohio-2369,
¶ 8. Where the trial court's order is insufficient,
we are unable to assess the appropriateness of its denial of
the DNA applications. Id. at ¶ 9. In such
instances, the judgment of the trial court must be reversed
and the case remanded for the trial court to comply with R.C.
2953.71 through 2953.81. Id. . at ¶ 10-14.
The trial court's denial of Williamson's DNA testing
application as "untimely constitutes an insufficient
order. State v. Smith, 12th Dist. Fayette No.
CA2015-12-024, 2016-Ohio-5668, ¶ 32-33. The court in
[T]here are no timeliness requirements under R.C. 2953.72
through 2953.74 as to when an inmate must file an application
for DNA testing. In addition, timeliness is not among the
statutory criteria for acceptance or rejection of an
application for postconviction DNA testing, and we have not