United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division
J. Dlott District Judge
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS
MICHAEL R. MERZ, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
a habeas corpus case brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2254 by Petitioner Joseph Trezciak with the assistance of
counsel. The case was initially filed in the Northern
District of Ohio where Petitioner is in custody, but was
transferred here shortly after filing because Mr.
Trezciak's conviction occurred in the Brown County, Ohio,
Common Pleas Court, and Brown County is in the Southern
District of Ohio. Both the Northern and Southern Districts
thus have jurisdiction and the transfer was proper under 28
U.S.C. § 2241(d).
case is pending on the Petition (ECF No. 1), the State Court
Record (ECF No. 10), the Return of Writ (ECF No. 11), and the
Petitioner's Reply (ECF No. 13). The Magistrate Judge
reference in the case was recently transferred to the
undersigned to help balance with Magistrate Judge workload in
the Western Division.
August 7, 2013, the Brown County Grand Jury issued an
indictment charging Trzeciak with one count of murder (Ohio
Revised Code § 2903.02(A)) (Count 1), with a firearm
specification. The charge stemmed from the June 7, 2013,
shooting death of Trezciak's cousin James Mootispaw, at
the Hyde Park Apartments in Mt. Orab, Brown County, Ohio as
Mootispaw attempted to flee with $1, 200 of Trzeciak's
money. The case was tried to a jury which returned guilty
verdicts on the murder count and the firearm specification.
The Common Pleas Court then imposed a sentence of fifteen
years to life on the murder count plus a consecutive three
years on the firearm specification.
then appealed to the Twelfth District Court of Appeals,
raising the following assignments of error:
1. The trial court erred by giving improper and inaccurate
instructions to the jury.
2. The trial court erred by failing to exclude prejudicial
3. The verdict was against the weight of the evidence.
Twelfth District affirmed the conviction, rejecting these
assignments. State v. Trzeciak, 2015-Ohio-2219, 2015
Ohio App. LEXIS 2135 (12th Dist. Jun. 8, 2015),
further appellate jurisdiction declined, 2015-Ohio-5225, 2015
Ohio LEXIS 3378 (Dec. 16, 2015).
failed to obtain Ohio Supreme Court review of his conviction,
Mr. Trezciak through counsel filed his Petition for Writ of
Habeas Corpus raising the following grounds for relief:
GROUND ONE: Petitioner's conviction was
obtained in violation of the due process clause of the
constitution as a result of the court's erroneous jury
Supporting Facts: The trial court improperly
instructed the jury that the essential element of purposely
could be met regardless of the defendant's intentions.
GROUND TWO: The conviction was obtained in
violation of the right to due process and a fair trial by the
admission of irrelevant, inadmissible, and unduly prejudicial
Supporting Facts: The trial court admitted
demonstrative exhibits from the prosecutors' office which
included photographs of the defendant overlaid with the ...