Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANTS Mark Stanton Cuyahoga County Public
Defender By: Noelle A. Powell Cullen Sweeney Assistant Public
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor By: Diane Smilanick Assistant County
BEFORE: Keough, P.J., Blackmon, J., and Celebrezze, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
KATHLEEN ANN KEOUGH, P.J.
Defendant-appellant, W.C., appeals from the trial court's
decision denying his motion to seal his arrest record.
Finding merit to the appeal, we reverse the trial court's
decision and remand for further proceedings.
In 2015, W.C. was named in a ten-count indictment charging
him with rape, kidnapping, and gross sexual imposition;
sexual motivation specifications were attendant to the
kidnapping charges. A jury subsequently found W.C. not guilty
on all counts.
In February 2016, W.C. filed a motion pursuant to R.C.
2953.52 to seal court records following a not guilty verdict.
The state opposed the motion contending that W.C.'s
motion should be denied because of the nature of the offenses
and his prior criminal history.
In July 2016, the trial court conducted a hearing on
W.C.'s motion. W.C. requested that his arrest record be
sealed because he has been unable to secure employment
following his arrest on the charges, despite being honorably
discharged from the military. W.C. explained that employers
have denied him jobs, for which he is otherwise qualified and
in areas he has previously worked, solely due to the instant
case where he was acquitted of all charges. He further
explained that without meaningful employment, he is unable to
support himself and his family. The state again reiterated
that it objected to sealing W.C.'s arrest record in this
case because of the "nature of the charges" and his
"extensive record of arrest and convictions."
The trial court reviewed W.C.'s arrest and conviction
history, which consisted exclusively of nonviolent
misdemeanors. The most serious misdemeanor conviction
occurred in 2010 where he was convicted of having a drug of
abuse, a misdemeanor of the first degree. The court also
reviewed W.C.'s employment history prior to his arrest
and his subsequent attempts to find employment.
In December 2016, the trial court issued a journal entry
denying W.C.'s motion. The court stated:
After hearing arguments from the state and defense, hearing
from the defendant and in consideration of the briefs filed
in the instant matter and a review of the defendant's
past criminal history, the legitimate needs of the government
to maintain those records outweigh the defendant's
interest in sealing his record.
W.C. now appeals, raising two assignments of error. Finding
merit to his second assignment of error, it will be addressed
In his second assignment of error, W.C. contends that the
trial court failed to articulate and create a record for this
court to ...