Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Lake
STATE OF OHIO ex rel. JOSEPH A. SANDS, Relator,
COURT OF COMMON PLEAS JUDGE, Respondent.
Action for Writ of Mandamus.
A. Sands, pro se, PID: A664-601, Marion Correctional
Institution, P.O. ox 57, 940 Marion-Williamsport Rd., Marion,
OH 43302 (Relator).
Charles E. Coulson, Lake County Prosecutor, and Micheal L
DeLeone, Assistant Prosecutor, Lake County Administration
Building, (For Respondent).
Relator, Joseph A. Sands, petitions this court for a writ of
mandamus, directed to the Hon. Vincent A. Culotta, the judge
of the Lake County Court of Common Pleas who presided over
the trial resulting in relator's present incarceration.
Judge Culotta has moved to dismiss the petition, or for
summary judgment. For the reasons following, we dismiss the
In State v. Sands, 11th Dist. Lake No. 2015-L-134,
2016-Ohio-7150, ¶2-4, appeal not accepted, State v.
Sands, 149 Ohio St.3d 1419, 2017-Ohio-4038, we wrote:
"In November 2006, Mr. Sands was found guilty, following
jury trial, of one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt
activity, a felony of the first degree; three counts of
conspiracy to commit aggravated murder, felonies of the first
degree; and two counts of conspiracy to commit aggravated
arson, felonies of the first degree. See State v.
Sands, 11th Dist. Lake No. 2007-L-003, 2008-Ohio-6981,
¶23 (Sands I'"). For
sentencing purposes, the trial court merged the conspiracy
counts, and sentenced Mr. Sands to ten years imprisonment on
the count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, and
ten years for conspiracy, the counts to be served
consecutively, for a total term of imprisonment of 20 years.
Id. The convictions arose from Mr. Sands' plot
to murder Painesville Municipal Court Judge Michael
Cicconetti, North Perry Police Chief Denise Mercsak, North
Perry Mayor Tom Williams, and North Perry Prosecutor Joseph
Gurley. Id. at ¶6.
"Mr. Sands appealed, and this court affirmed. Sands
I at ¶195. The Supreme Court of Ohio denied a
motion for delayed appeal. State v. Sands, 127 Ohio
St.3d 1443, 2010-Ohio-5762.
"Mr. Sands was also tried and convicted on federal
charges stemming from his plot. He was sentenced on those
charges to ten years of imprisonment."
Since his conviction, Mr. Sands has filed numerous actions in
both state and federal court, generally without success.
"This court has jurisdiction to hear an original
mandamus action pursuant to Article IV, Section 3(B)(1) of
the Ohio Constitution and R.C. 2731.02. In order to be
entitled to a writ of mandamus a relator must establish (1) a
clear legal right to the requested relief, (2) a clear legal
duty on the part of the respondent to provide such relief,
and (3) the lack of an adequate remedy in the ordinary course
of law. State ex rel. Zimmerman v. Tompkins (1996),
75 Ohio St.3d 447, 448, * * * The burden is on the relator to
establish the elements to obtain the writ. State ex rel.
Dehler v. Sutula (1995), 74 Ohio St.3d 33, 34, * *
*." (Parallel citations omitted.) State ex rel.
Cochran v. Boardman Twp. Bd. of Trustees, 196 Ohio
App.3d 185, 2011-Ohio-4255, ¶6 (7th Dist.)
Relator bears the burden of showing a clear legal right to
the relief requested in mandamus. Cochran, supra, at
¶6. We have read relator's petition carefully, and
repeatedly. He does not request any relief. From the nature
of the issues presented, we surmise he believes he was
unfairly convicted, and wishes release from prison,
immediately. But we are not required to surmise what relief
relator desires. He must tell us, so we can determine if such
relief is available. For this reason alone, we dismiss the
Further, mandamus will not lie in a criminal case if the
relief desired could have been obtained on direct appeal.
State ex rel. Maxwell v. Kainrad, 11th Dist. Portage
No. 2004-P-0042, 2004-Ohio-5458, ¶10. Relator presents
the following issues in his petition:
He asserts his conspiracy convictions merged for sentencing
purposes; that his sentence for conspiracy has expired; and
that he is being held on an illegal ...