United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division, Cincinnati
J. Dlott District Judge.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS
MICHAEL R. MERZ UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
a habeas corpus case under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 brought pro
se by Petitioner William Blair to obtain relief from his
convictions in the Butler County Common Pleas Court
(Petition, ECF No. 3). On Order of Magistrate Judge Karen
Litkovitz (ECF No. 2), the Respondent has filed the State
Court Record (ECF No. 7) and a Return of Writ (ECF No. 8).
Petitioner then filed a Reply (ECF No. 9), rendering the case
ripe for decision.
Magistrate Judge reference of the case was recently
transferred to the undersigned to help balance the Magistrate
Judge workload in the Western Division.
24, 2013, the Butler County grand jury indicted Mr. Blair on
one count of having weapons while under disability in
violation of Ohio Revised Code § 2923.13(A)(2); two
counts of assault in violation of Ohio Revised Code §
2903.13(A), one a fourth-degree felony pursuant to Ohio
Revised Code § 2903.13(C)(5), the other a fifth degree
felony pursuant to Ohio Revised Code § 2903.13(C)(4)(a);
one count of obstructing official business in violation of
Ohio Revised Code § 2921.31(A); one count of aggravated
menacing in violation of Ohio Revised Code § 2903.21(A);
and one count of resisting arrest in violation of Ohio
Revised Code § 2921.33(A). The charges arose from events
occurring on January 29, 2013, at the Middletown, Ohio,
apartment of Sara Rossi, Blair's girlfriend and the
mother of his infant son, and thereafter at the Middletown
having waived a jury, his case was tried to the bench for two
days. He was found guilty on all charges and sentenced to
thirty-six months for having a weapon under disability,
eighteen months for assault on Detective Hoover, and twelve
months for assault on Officer Gibson, all to be served
promptly appealed with new counsel to the Twelfth District
Court of Appeals, asserting that the trial court committed
error in sentencing him separately for allied offenses, that
his conviction for having a weapon while under disability was
both unsupported by sufficient evidence and against the
manifest weight of the evidence, and that the trial court
violated his statutory and constitutional rights by imposing
consecutive sentences without making the findings required by
Ohio Revised Code § 2929.14(C)(4). The Twelfth District
affirmed the convictions and sentence. State v.
Blair, No. CA2014-01-023, 2015-Ohio-818, 2015 Ohio App.
LEXIS 792 (12th Dist. Mar. 9, 2015), further
appellate review declined, 143 Ohio St.3d 1479 (2015).
Blair filed his Petition in this Court September 20, 2016,
pleading the following grounds for relief:
Ground One: The court committed error in
separately sentencing allied offenses of similar import
instead of merging them.
Ground Two: Appellant's conviction for
having weapons under disability was not supported by
sufficient evidence as required by due process in violation
of U.S. Constitution Amendment XIV and Crim. R. 30.
Specifically, the trial court allowed the state to introduced
[sic] a judgment adjudicating the petitioner as juvenile
delinquent in violation of Ohio Crim. R. 11 and Ohio Evid. R.
410 wherein both specifically prohibits [sic] the use of a no
contest plea in any subsequent criminal or civil proceedings.
Ground Three: Appellant's conviction for
having weapon under disability was against the manifest
weight of the evidence. Without the use of said no contest
plea, there would be no sufficient weight of evidence to
support said conviction of weapons while under a disability.
Ground Four: The trial court imposed
consecutive sentences without making the required findings
under R.C. 2929.14(C)(4) and this violated Mr. Blair's
statutory and constitutional rights to a sentence consistent
with applicable law.
(Petition, ECF No. 3, PageID ...