Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Fairchild

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Mahoning

December 12, 2017

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT
v.
BRIAN S. FAIRCHILD DEFENDANT-APPELLEE

         Criminal Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of Mahoning County, Ohio Case No. 15 CR 325

          For Plaintiff-Appellant: Atty. Paul J. Gains Mahoning County Prosecutor Atty. Ralph M. Rivera Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

          For Defendant-Appellee: Atty. Atty. Edward A. Czopur DeGenova & Yarwood, Ltd.

          JUDGES: Hon. Cheryl L. Waite Hon. Mary DeGenaro Hon. Carol Ann Robb

          OPINION

          WAITE, J.

         {¶1} The state appeals a May 17, 2017 Mahoning County Common Pleas Court decision to grant Appellee Brian S. Fairchild's motion to exclude evidence of a prior conviction. Appellant was charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence, and the state sought to enhance his charges due to an earlier conviction. The state argues that Appellee failed to present a prima facie case demonstrating that he was unrepresented in the prior matter and that he did not validly waive counsel. Assuming arguendo that Appellee did present a prima facie case, the state argues that it successfully rebutted Appellee's claims and established that Appellee was appointed counsel to represent him in the prior conviction. For the reasons that follow, the state's argument has merit and the judgment of the trial court is reversed. The matter is remanded for further proceedings.

         Factual and Procedural History

         {¶2} On May 7, 2015, Appellee was indicted on four counts of OVI, a felony of the fourth degree in violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(a), (G)(1)(d) and on OVI, a felony of the fourth degree in violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(h), (G)(1)(d). The degree of the charges was enhanced because Appellee had been convicted of OVI in 1996.

         {¶3} On November 20, 2015, Appellee filed a motion to exclude his prior conviction. In his motion, he claimed that he was unrepresented in the prior case and did not validly waive counsel. The trial court held an evidentiary hearing and granted Appellee's motion. On appeal, we reversed the trial court's decision. See State v. Fairchild, 7th Dist. No. 16 MA 0047, 2016-Ohio-8218. ("Fairchild I".) We held that a defendant seeking to exclude a prior conviction holds the initial burden of demonstrating that he was unrepresented and did not validly waive his right to counsel. Id. at ¶ 12. Only when the defendant successfully meets this burden does the burden shift to the state to prove either that the defendant was represented or had validly waived counsel. Id.

         {¶4} On remand, Appellee filed a second motion to exclude his prior conviction based on the same argument. The trial court held a second evidentiary hearing where Appellee testified that he was not represented in the prior case and did not validly waive counsel. Appellee also presented the testimony of Attorney Anthony Meranto. Attorney Meranto represented Appellee prior to his appeal in Fairchild I and was the prosecutor in the OVI matter Appellant seeks to exclude. Attorney Meranto testified that he had no recollection of the prior case, but that in general he had never heard the trial court judge who presided over Appellee's first conviction ever inform a defendant of their right to counsel. The court granted Appellee's motion to exclude his prior conviction. This timely appeal followed.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

THE TRIAL COURT SHOULD HAVE DENIED DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO EXCLUDE, BECAUSE THE BURDEN NEVER SHIFTED TO THE STATE TO PROVE DEFENDANT'S PRIOR OVI CONVICTION WAS CONSTITUTIONALLY SOUND AFTER DEFENDANT FAILED TO PRESENT A PRIMA FACIE SHOWING THAT HE WAS UNCOUNSELED AND DID NOT VALIDLY WAIVE HIS RIGHT TO COUNSEL.

         {¶5} Pursuant to R.C. 4511.19(G)(1)(d):

[A]n offender who, within ten years of the offense, previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to three or four violations of division (A) or (B) of this section or other equivalent offenses or an offender who, within twenty years of the offense, previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to five ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.