FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
LORAIN, OHIO CASE No. 15CV186043
W. WILFORD, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.
MICHAEL DEWINE, Attorney General, and B. ALEXANDER KENNEDY,
Assistant Attorney General, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
J. CARR, Judge.
Appellant, Steven Chojnacki, appeals the judgment of the
Lorain County Court of Common Pleas. This Court reverses and
In 1994, Chojnacki was convicted of seven counts of rape. In
regard to the first count where Chojnacki was convicted of
rape of a minor under the age of 13 with a finding that the
offense was committed with force, the trial court imposed a
sentence of life imprisonment. The trial court imposed a
sentence of not less than 10 but not more than 25 years
imprisonment on each of the remaining six counts. The trial
court ordered that all of the sentences be served
consecutively to each other. Chojnacki received 83 days of
On February 25, 2014, the Ohio Parole Board released its
decision denying parole to Chojnacki and continuing further
consideration of the matter until 2024. Chojnacki filed a
request for reconsideration that was promptly denied.
Subsequently, on March 30, 2015, Chojnacki filed a lawsuit
challenging the determination of his parole eligibility date.
The named defendants in the lawsuit were the Ohio Department
of Rehabilitation and Corrections ("ODRC"), as well
as Gary Mohr, in his capacity as Director of the ODRC,
Cynthia Mausser, in her capacity as Chief of the Ohio Adult
Parole Authority, and Andre Imbrogno, in his capacity as
Chairman of the Ohio Parole Board. Chojnacki requested a
number of declarations relating to his parole eligibility
status in addition to other relief. The defendants filed a
With leave of court, Chojnacki filed an amended complaint for
declaratory judgment and further relief on August 17, 2015.
Chojnacki asked the trial court to make the following
declarations in the amended complaint:
Declare that under prevailing Ohio law (R.C. 2929.41(E)(2)
& R.C. 2967.13(F)), the aggregate indefinite prison term
imposed upon [Chojnacki] by the Medina County Common Pleas
Court in case no. CR-299909 upon which [Chojnacki] entered
ODRC custody was and is: 15 years-to-life.
Declare that [Chojnacki's] earliest eligibility for
parole under prevailing Ohio law was in December, 2003.
Declare pursuant to State ex. rel. Keith v. Ohio
Adult Parole Auth[.], 141 Ohio St.3d 375,
2014-Ohio-4270, that the parole hearing decision resulting
from the February 11, 2014 parole hearing was based upon a
"substantive error" and "erroneous
information" concerning [Chojnacki's] minimum term
of imprisonment and as a consequence [Chojnacki's]
earliest parole eligibility[.]
Chojnacki further asked the trial court to order the
defendants to schedule a date for a new parole hearing and to
order the ODRC to conform all of its computations of
inmates' terms of imprisonment to the limitations imposed
by former R.C. 2929.41(E) on the aggregation of multiple
consecutive terms of imprisonment. Chojnacki also requested
that the trial court assess court costs to the defendants and
award him any other relief to which he is entitled under the
law. The defendants filed an answer to the amended complaint
and asserted that there was no miscalculation in determining
when Chojnacki was first eligible for parole. The defendants
further asserted that the Ohio Parole Board had properly
scheduled Chojnacki's first parole eligibility hearing
for November 2013 and that the hearing had been rescheduled
to February 2014 at Chojnacki's request.
The parties proceeded with discovery. On April 25, 2016, the
defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. Chojnacki
filed a memorandum in opposition to the motion for summary
judgment as well as a cross-motion for summary judgment
against the defendants. The parties attached numerous
exhibits to their respective summary judgment filings. Based
on its determination that the defendants were correct in
their calculation of Chojnacki's parole eligibility date,
the trial court concluded that there was no justiciable
controversy before the court. In light of this determination,
the trial court granted the defendants' motion for
summary judgment and denied Chojnacki's motion for
On appeal, Chojnacki raises ...