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State v. Barnette

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Mahoning

December 15, 2017

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
LORENZA BARNETTE DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

         Criminal Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of Mahoning County, Ohio Case No. 2009 CR 1122

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

          For Defendant-Appellant: Lorenza Barnette, Pro se

          Hon. Cheryl L. Waite Hon. Gene Donofrio Hon. Carol Ann Robb

          OPINION

          WAITE, JUDGE.

         {¶1} Appellant Lorenza Barnette appeals a January 31, 2017 decision of the Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to deny his "Petition to Vacate Void Judgment the Court lacks Jurisdiction pursuant to R.C. 29.53.23." Appellant claims that the trial court lacked jurisdiction over him because he was arrested without a warrant or probable cause. He also argues that his indictment did not comply with Crim.R. 6(F). For the reasons provided, Appellant's petition is untimely and the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

         Factual and Procedural History

         {¶2} This appeal stems from a murder that occurred in August of 2009. On August 11, 2009, someone spotted a burning car near the Mahoning River and called the fire department. The fire department arrived and found two bodies inside the car. The victims' arms, legs, and mouths had been bound by duct tape. Additionally, each victim had a plastic bag covering their head which was secured by duct tape. Investigators tracked the materials used to bind the victims to a local Dollar General and, after reviewing security footage, determined that Appellant purchased those items.

         {¶3} On October 1, 2009, Appellant was indicted on: two counts of aggravated murder in violation of R.C. 2903.01(A), (F) with death specifications, two counts of aggravated murder in violation of R.C. 2903.01(B), (F) with two death specifications, two counts of kidnapping, felonies of the first degree in violation of R.C. 2905.01(A)(2), (C), two counts of aggravated robbery, felonies of the first degree in violation of R.C. 2911.01(A), (B), (C), and one count of arson, a felony of the fourth degree in violation of R.C. 2909.03(A)(1), (B)(2).

         {¶4} A jury convicted Appellant on all counts except for the two aggravated robberies. After conclusion of the mitigation phase of sentencing, the jury recommended that Appellant be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. On October 26, 2011, the trial court did sentence Appellant to life in prison without the possibility of parole on the two R.C. 2903.01(A), (F) aggravated murder counts. These merged with the two R.C. 2903.01(B), (F) aggravated murder counts. The court also sentenced Appellant to ten years of incarceration on each of the two kidnapping counts and eighteen months for arson. All sentences were ordered to run consecutively.

         {¶5} Appellant filed a timely direct appeal and we affirmed his convictions and sentence in State v. Barnette, 7th Dist. No. 11 MA 196, 2014-Ohio-5673. Appellant then filed a motion to reopen, which we denied in State v. Barnette, 7th Dist. No. 11 MA 196, 2015-Ohio-1280. On August 13, 2015, Appellant filed a "Motion for Leave to File a Delayed Motion for New Trial Pursuant to Criminal Rule 33." The trial court denied Appellant's motion and we affirmed the trial court's decision in State v. Barnette, 7th Dist. No. 15 MA 0160, 2016-Ohio-3248.

         {¶6} On August 23, 2016, Appellant filed a "Motion for Leave to File a Delayed Motion Court Lacks Jurisdiction" and a "Motion for Leave to File a Delayed Motion to Squash After-the-Fact Arrest Warrant." On August 29, 2016, Appellant filed a second "Motion to Squash After-the-Fact Arrest." The trial court denied all three motions. On October 17, 2016, Appellant filed a "Writ of Error Quo Warranto, " which was denied by the trial court. On December 15, 2016, Appellant filed a "Petition to Vacate A Void Judgment and Conviction Due to the Court Did Not Have Jurisdiction of the Person of the Petitioner and Errors in the Indictment Process Default Subject Matter Jurisdiction Pursuant to R.C. 2953.21 (A)(1)(a) (A)(4) (D) (G)." The trial court denied the motion. No appeals were taken from any of these decisions. On January 24, 2017, Appellant filed a "Petition to Vacate Void Judgment the Court Lacks Jurisdiction Pursuant to R.C. 2953.23." The trial court denied this motion and an appeal followed.

         Postconviction Petition

         {¶7} In order to successfully assert a postconviction petition, "the petitioner must demonstrate a denial or infringement of his rights in the proceedings resulting in his conviction sufficient to render the conviction void or voidable under the Ohio or United States Constitutions." State v. Agee, 7th Dist. No. 14 MA 0094, 2016-Ohio-7183, ¶ 9, citing R.C. 2953.21(A)(1). The petitioner is not automatically entitled to a hearing. State v. Cole,2 Ohio St.3d 112, 113, 443 N.E.2d 169 (1982). Pursuant to R.C. 2953.21(C), the petitioner bears the burden of demonstrating "substantive grounds for relief" through the record or any supporting affidavits. However, because a ...


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