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City of Cleveland v. Jones

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

August 24, 2017

CITY OF CLEVELAND PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
TROUSSAINT JONES DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

         Criminal Appeal from the Cleveland Municipal Court Case No. 2013 TRC 034882

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Mark Stanton Cuyahoga County Public Defender BY: David Martin King John T. Martin Cullen Sweeney Assistant Public Defenders.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Barbara A. Langhenry Director of Law BY: Bridget E. Hopp Assistant City Prosecutor City of Cleveland.

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

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          MARY J. BOYLE, JUDGE.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant, Troussaint Jones, appeals from a judgment of the Cleveland Municipal Court denying his motion to dismiss charges pending against him on the grounds that any further proceeding would violate the double jeopardy protections guaranteed to him by the United States and Ohio Constitutions. He raises one assignment of error for our review:

The trial court erred and violated Troussaint Jones's state and federal constitutional protections against double jeopardy when it denied Jones's motion to dismiss and permitted the city to subject Troussaint Jones to a second prosecution for the same offenses to which he pled no contest three years earlier.

         {¶2} For the reasons that follow, we agree with Jones that any further criminal prosecution in this matter offends the principles of double jeopardy. Accordingly, we reverse the trial court's judgment and remand with instructions.

         I. Procedural History and Factual Background

         {¶3} On the afternoon of June 15, 2013, Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Jason Turner pulled Jones over after observing him swerve across marked lanes. Noticing signs of impairment in Jones, Trooper Turner attempted to conduct field sobriety tests but was unable to proceed due to Jones's combativeness. The trooper cited Jones with violating four state laws: R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(a) (driving while intoxicated) and (A)(2) (driving while intoxicated with a prior OVI within the past 20 years and refusal to submit to chemical tests), 4510.037(J) (driving with a 12-point suspended license), and 4511.33 (driving over "marked lanes").

         {¶4} The case proceeded through a series of pretrials that eventually ended in Jones's defense attorney entering a plea of no contest for Jones to the charges. The court, sua sponte and over the city prosecutor's objection, amended the OVI violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(a) to a violation of Cleveland Codified Ordinances ("CCO") 433.011, which prohibits a person from being in physical control of a vehicle while impaired. Further, the court found Jones not guilty of OVI in violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(2), but found him guilty of driving under a suspended license ("DUS") and driving over marked lanes ("marked lanes").

         {¶5} The court sentenced Jones to pay a fine and spend 60 days in jail with 55 days suspended. The court further ordered Jones to attend programs and meetings related to drug and alcohol abuse, and placed him on one year of active probation. Jones completed his sentence as ordered.

         {¶6} The city sought and obtained leave from this court to appeal the trial court's decision. On appeal, the city raised one assignment of error: that the trial court abused its discretion by reducing a charge of OVI to physical control over the prosecutor's objection. In a plurality opinion, this court agreed. With two concurrences and one dissent, the court's controlling opinion reversed Jones's physical control conviction and remanded the cause to the trial court. See Cleveland v. Jones, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 100598, 2014-Ohio-4201.

         {¶7} Immediately after we released our decision, Jones filed motions for reconsideration and for en banc review, primarily arguing that any remand would violate double jeopardy and that the panel's decision was in conflict with other decisions of this court. We denied both motions in succession. Much like the opinion in the direct appeal, the motion for reconsideration showed a split in ...


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