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Hillman v. Larrison

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

January 18, 2018

Robert L. Hillman, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
David Larrison, Defendant-Appellee.

         APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas (C.P.C. No. 15CV-2664)

          Robert L. Hillman, pro se.

          Richard C. Pfeiffer, Jr., City Attorney, and Timothy J. Mangan, for appellee.

          DECISION

          HORTON, J.

         {¶ 1} Plaintiff-appellant, Robert L. Hillman, appeals the decision of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas finding that his accusation by affidavit filed under R.C. 2935.09 was not meritorious, referring the matter to the prosecuting attorney, and closing the case. For the reasons set forth below, we reverse.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         {¶ 2} Hillman initiated this proceeding on March 27, 2015, by filing an accusation by affidavit under R.C. 2935.09. He alleged that defendant-appellee, David Larrison, a city of Columbus police officer, had committed perjury under R.C. 2921.11 by making false statements when testifying during Hillman's criminal trial. The trial court dismissed the case on July 15, 2015, and Hillman appealed.

         {¶ 3} This court reversed and remanded on the grounds that the trial court had "summarily dismissed" the matter without applying R.C. 2935.10, which " 'affords the reviewing official only two options: 1) issue a warrant or 2) refer the matter to the prosecutor for investigation if there is a belief that the affidavit lacks a meritorious claim, i.e. probable cause, or was not made in good faith.' " Hillman v. Larrison, 10th Dist. No. 15AP-730, 2016-Ohio-666 ("Hillman I"), ¶ 14, quoting State ex rel. Brown v. Jeffries, 4th Dist. No. 11CA3275, 2012-Ohio-1522, ¶ 9. Accordingly, we reversed and remanded with instructions to the trial court to follow the procedures set forth in the statute.

         {¶ 4} On remand, the trial court dismissed the case, but did so on the grounds that the affidavit was invalid because it lacked a notary stamp or seal. (Apr. 25, 2016 Decision, Entry & Order.) Hillman appealed the trial court's decision.

         {¶ 5} Once again, we reversed. Because our previous decision had "considered Hillman's affidavit to be facially valid, " we held that the law of the case doctrine prevented the trial court from revisiting this previously settled issue and dismissing the case without complying with the mandate to apply the procedure set forth under R.C. 2935.10. Hillman v. Larrison, 10th Dist. No. 16AP-374, 2016-Ohio-7971 ("Hillman II"), ¶ 6-7.

         {¶ 6} On remand, the trial court examined Hillman's affidavit and concluded that it was not meritorious. Accordingly, the trial court referred the matter to the county prosecutor "for investigation, " overruled a number of pending motions filed by Hillman, and ordered the case closed. Id. at ¶ 3.

         {¶ 7} Hillman has appealed, and asserts the following assignments of error:

[I.] APPELLANT SUBMITS THAT THE TRIAL COURT DENIED HIM DUE PROCESS AND EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAW UNDER THE 1ST, 5TH, AND 14TH AMENDMENTS TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION WHEN IT DELIBERATELY IGNORED THE APPELLANT'S EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF HIS CLAIMS, AS SAID EVIDENCE THAT THE COURT CLAIMED APPELLANT (DID NOT SUBMIT) WAS IN FACT A MATTER OF RECORDS, MAKING THE COURTS DECISION NOT ONLY AGAINST THE MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE BUT, A DENIAL OF MEANINGFUL ACCESS TO THE COURTS, OR APPELLATE REVIEW.
[II.] APPELLANTS SUBMITS THAT THE TRIAL COURT DENIED HIM DUE PROCESS AND EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAW UNDER THE 1ST, 5TH AND 14TH AMENDMENTS TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTIONS WHERE ...

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