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State v. Maciel-Valadez

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Lorain

October 23, 2017

STATE OF OHIO Appellee
v.
JESUS M. MACIEL-VALADEZ Appellant

         APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF LORAIN, OHIO CASE Nos. 09CR079313 10CR079750 10CR079984

          JESUS MACIEL-VALADEZ, pro se, Appellant.

          DENNIS P. WILL, Prosecuting Attorney, and NATASHA RUIZ GUERRIERI, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          JULIE A. SCHAFER, JUDGE.

         {¶1} Defendant-Appellant, Jesus Maciel-Valadez, appeals from the judgment of the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas. This Court reverses.

         I.

         {¶2} Maciel-Valadez was indicted on drug charges in three separate criminal cases: Case No. 09CR079313, Case No. 10CR079750, and Case No. 10CR079984. He ultimately pleaded guilty in all three cases, and the trial court issued each of his three sentencing entries on the same day. In each case, the court imposed a prison term and ordered him to pay the costs of his prosecution and all court-appointed counsel costs. The court also imposed mandatory fines in two of the cases, but suspended them due to Maciel-Valadez' indigent status.

         {¶3} More than five years later, Maciel-Valadez filed in all three of his cases identical motions to terminate the collection of court costs and fines. He noted that he had recently received notices from the account clerk supervisor at the prison regarding each case. The notices informed him that the prison would be withdrawing money from his personal account to begin satisfying his outstanding payment obligations. Maciel-Valadez argued that, because the court had waived all of his court costs and fines when sentencing him, the prison lacked authority to withdraw money from his account. Thus, he asked the court to issue an order directing the account clerk supervisor and the Clerk of Courts to terminate the collection of his costs and fines.

         {¶4} The State filed identical briefs in opposition to the motions to terminate. On November 24, 2015, the court issued identical judgment entries in each case, granting the motions to terminate. The court wrote that it was granting the motions because, "[p]ursuant to the sentencing entry * * *, [Maciel-Valadez] was not ordered to pay court costs or fines." The State did not appeal from the court's entries.

         {¶5} On March 9, 2016, Maciel-Valadez filed in each of his three cases identical motions to return money the prison had collected from his personal account in November and December 2015. He argued that, because the court had granted his motions to terminate, the prison had no authority to withdraw those funds. Rather than respond directly to his motions, the State filed identical motions for relief from judgment in all three cases and asked the court to vacate its November 24, 2015 judgment entries. Maciel-Valadez then filed briefs in opposition to the State's motions.

         {¶6} On March 31, 2016, the court granted the State's motions for relief from judgment and vacated its November 24th entries. The court reinstated Maciel-Valadez' payment obligation and denied his motions to return the money the prison had collected. Maciel-Valadez then appealed from the court's March 31, 2016 judgments.

         {¶7} Maciel-Valadez initially attempted to appeal from all three of the trial court's March 31st judgment entries under a single appellate case number. This Court dismissed the appeal as to two of the entries, however, explaining that the three cases had never been consolidated and, thus, separate appeals had to be taken from each entry. See State v. Maciel-Valadez, 9th Dist. Lorain No. 16CA011051 (Jan. 30, 2017). Maciel-Valadez then filed two additional appeals, and this Court consolidated the three appeals for purposes of its review.

         {¶8} Maciel-Valadez' appeals are now before us and raise two ...


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