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State v. Muzic

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Summit

November 15, 2017

STATE OF OHIO Appellee
v.
JOHN M. MUZIC Appellant

         APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CR 13 02 0360

          SENECA KONTURAS, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          PATRICIA J. SMITH, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          SHERRI BEVAN WALSH, Prosecuting Attorney, and RICHARD S. KASAY, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          JENNIFER HENSAL, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         {¶1} Defendant-Appellant, John Muzic, appeals from the judgment of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, denying his petition for post-conviction relief. This Court affirms.

         I.

         {¶2} This Court previously outlined the facts of this case on direct appeal. See State v. Muzic, 9th Dist. Summit No. 27117, 2015-Ohio-1521. While babysitting for her aunt and uncle, C.V. met Mr. Muzic and ultimately went home with him to meet his dogs. Mr. Muzic provided C.V., who was sixteen at the time, with alcohol and encouraged her to drink. As their conversation turned to sex, C.V. became uncomfortable and expressed her desire to leave. Mr. Muzic, however, insisted she finish her drink and soon began placing his fingers down her pants and underwear. When C.V. attempted to leave, he forcibly dragged her to his bedroom. He then kissed her, digitally penetrated her, and made her perform oral sex, all while exerting pressure on her throat. The assault ended after Mr. Muzic had vaginal intercourse with her and became remorseful. Subsequently, C.V. returned to her aunt and uncle's house where she called her brother and reported the incident to the police. Though his version of the events changed several times, Mr. Muzic ultimately claimed that he and C.V. engaged in consensual sexual activity.

         {¶3} As a result of the foregoing incident, a jury found Mr. Muzic guilty of kidnapping, rape, and gross sexual imposition. The court sentenced him to a total of 15 years in prison and classified him as a tier III sexual offender. On direct appeal, this Court affirmed Mr. Muzic's convictions. See id.

         {¶4} While Mr. Muzic's direct appeal was pending, he filed a petition for postconviction relief. His petition was based on the fact that, post-trial, his attorneys had discovered a variety of social media posts that C.V. had authored. Mr. Muzic argued that, had his attorneys known about the posts before trial, they could have used them to attack C.V.'s credibility. The State opposed Mr. Muzic's petition, and the trial court held a hearing. Following the hearing, the court also accepted additional briefs from both sides. The court ultimately denied Mr. Muzic's petition on its merits.

         {¶5} Mr. Muzic now appeals from the court's denial of his petition and raises a single assignment of error for our review.

         II.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

         THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT DENIED MR. MUZIC'S PETITION FOR POST-CONVICTION RELIEF, FINDING THAT MR. MUZIC'S TRIAL COUNSEL REPRESENTATION DID NOT REACH THE LEVEL OF INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL, AND THAT MR. MUZIC WAS NOT PREJUDICED OR DENIED EFFECTIVE ...


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