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Coleman v. Richard

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Western Division

January 11, 2018

Marcus Coleman, Petitioner
v.
Rhonda R. Richard, Respondent

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Jeffrey J. Helmick United States District Judge

         I. Introduction

         Before me are: (1) Magistrate Judge Thomas M. Parker's Report and Recommendation (Doc. No. 67); (2) Petitioner Marcus Coleman's objections to the R & R with supplements (Doc. Nos. 73, 76, 77); and (3) Respondent Rhonda R. Richard's responses to Petitioner's objections and supplements. (Doc. Nos. 75, 79). Additionally, Magistrate Judge Parker filed two orders concurrently with the R & R (Doc. Nos. 68, 69), to which Petitioner objects. (Doc. Nos. 70, 72). Respondent responded to these objections as well. (Doc. Nos. 71, 74).

         Finally, while the R & R was pending before me, Petitioner filed: (1) a motion for recusal of the Magistrate Judge (Doc. No. 78), opposed by Respondent (Doc. No. 80); and (2) a motion for judicial notice (Doc. No. 81), to which Respondent responded (Doc. No. 82) and Petitioner replied. (Doc. No. 83). I will address all, in turn.

         II. Background

         After reviewing the state court record, I find Magistrate Judge Parker has accurately and comprehensively set forth the factual background and procedural history of this case, and I adopt those sections in full.[1] (Doc. No. 67 at 1-9).

         Briefly, on October 13, 2012, Petitioner Marcus Coleman was traveling southbound on I-75 when he passed a car without using his turn signal. (Doc. No. 26-1 at 117). Because of the turn signal violation, Sergeant Kurt Beidelschies stopped Coleman. Id. When asked for identification, Coleman produced a Tennessee ID card bearing his picture but someone else's name. Id. at 118. Coleman also provided the rental agreement for the vehicle, bearing a third name. Id. After discovering the Tennessee ID was invalid, Sergeant Beidelschies issued Coleman a citation for driving without a license. Id. at 118-19. Sergeant Beidelschies also called for a wrecker to impound the car and conducted an inventory search of the vehicle. Id. at 119. During the search, ten small bags containing approximately 988 pills believed to be ecstasy were found in the center console. Id. at 119-20. Coleman was then arrested for possession of a Schedule I controlled substance. Id. at 119. He was charged with one count of aggravated possession of drugs in violation of O.R.C. § 2925.11(A) in the Hancock County Court of Common Pleas. Id. at 6, 52.

         Coleman refused appointment of counsel during the trial court proceedings, instead acting pro se with appointed standby counsel. Id. at 21. He filed several motions during the trial court proceedings including a motion to suppress and two motions to dismiss. Id. at 25-48, 78-90. After holding a suppression hearing and considering Coleman's post-hearing memoranda, the trial court denied Coleman's motion to suppress. Id. at 115-29. In holding, the court found there was probable cause for the stop in accordance with the Fourth Amendment and that Coleman had not satisfied his burden of proving a Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause violation. Id. at 120-26, 128. The trial court also denied Coleman's motion to reconsider the denial of the motion to suppress. Id. at 137-40. The trial court denied the first motion to dismiss, but Coleman pled no contest before any ruling on his second motion to dismiss. Id. at 141-47.

         Coleman, with the assistance of appointed counsel, timely appealed to the Ohio Court of Appeals. Id. at 151-54. In the appeal, he asserted the following:

Assignment of Error I:
The trial court erred on overruling Marcus D. Coleman's motion to suppress, in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and Sections 2 and 14, Article I of the Ohio Constitution.
Issue Presented for Review I:
Were the trial court's findings of fact supported by competent, credible evidence?
Issue Presented for Review II:
Did Mr. Coleman demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that Sgt.
Beidelschies stopped him based on Mr. Coleman's race?

(Doc. No. 26-2 at 5-25). On April 7, 2014, the Ohio Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's judgment. Id. at 86-95. Coleman then timely appealed, pro se, to the Supreme Court of Ohio, who declined jurisdiction. Id. at 97-111, 127.

         After direct review, Coleman timely filed a Rule 26(B) Application to Reopen, arguing his appellate counsel was ineffective by asserting the following assignments of error were not raised on direct appeal:

1. The trial court erred in not addressing, determining or ruling on Marcus Coleman's motion to dismiss filed on February 4, 2013, violating Mr. Coleman's Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and its Due Process Clause thereof.
2. The trial court erred in convicting Marcus Coleman of aggravated possession of N-Benzylpiperazine, a substance not identified on the State of Ohio's drug schedule. The failure of the State to not identify N-Benzylpiperazine as an illegal substance is unconstitutionally vague and a violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.

Id. at 128-36. The Ohio Court of Appeals denied the application, finding Coleman was not denied effective assistance of appellate counsel. Id. at 141-42. The Supreme Court of Ohio declined jurisdiction over the ...


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