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State v. Harrison

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Montgomery

May 4, 2018

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
TODD D. HARRISON Defendant-Appellant

          Criminal Appeal from Common Pleas Court, T.C. NO.: 2003-CR-4725

          MATHIAS H. HECK, JR., by ALICE PETERS, Atty. Reg. No. 93945, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office, Appellate Division, Montgomery County Courts Building, 301 West Third Street, Dayton, Ohio 45422 Attorney for Plaintiff-Appellee

          TODD D. HARRISON, 718 Heck Avenue, Dayton, Ohio 45417 Defendant-Appellant, Pro Se


          DONOVAN, J.

         {¶ 1} This matter is before the Court on the May 18, 2017 pro se Notice of Appeal of Todd Harrison. Harrison appeals from the May 4, 2017 "Entry Denying Sealing of Records after Not Guilty Finding, Dismissal of Proceedings, or No Bill (O.R.C. 2953.552(A)(B))." We hereby affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         {¶ 2} On February 12, 2004, Harrison was indicted in the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court on one count of having weapons while under disability, in violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(2), and one count of felonious assault, in violation of R.C. 2923.13(A)(2), in Case No. 2003 CR 4725. The indictment provides that the offenses occurred on or about December 25, 2003. Harrison pled not guilty on February 17, 2004. Following a jury trial, Harrison was found not guilty of both offenses on July 16, 2004.

         {¶ 3} On April 7, 2017, Harrison filed a pro se "Application for Sealing of Record, after Not Guilty Finding, Dismiss[al] of Proceedings or No True Bill." His application was limited to his acquittal for felonious assault. Prior to a hearing on his application, on May 2, 2017, Harrison filed a lengthy pro se "Motion in Opposition and to Objected to the Courts [sic] Judgment Entry Denying the Sealing of a 2003 Felonious Assault Mr. Harrison was Exonerated by a Jury and in Accordance to Ohio Law the Sealing of Record after Not Guilty Pursuant to O.R.C. 2953.52(B)(2) Denial by the Court is Flawed and Decided in Error of Law and Theory." Attached to the Motion in part is correspondence to Harrison, dated April 5, 2017, on "Lyons Gate Apartments" letterhead, denying Harrison's application for a lease due to a "criminal record match." Also on May 2, 2017, Harrison filed a pro se "Reconsideration on Application to Sealing the Arrest Record & the Charge of Felonious Assault, after being Acquitted by a Jury Rendering a Not Guilty Verdict, " with a supporting memorandum.

         {¶ 4} At the May 3, 2017 hearing on Harrison's application, the court indicated that it considered what it characterized as "premature" filings of May 2, 2017. The court then confirmed that the State did not file written objections to Harrison's application to seal the record, and the prosecutor responded, "[w]e only received notice of this this [sic] morning or close to this afternoon and did not have time to file written objections. We would, for the record, object due to the defendant's criminal history." Harrison responded that any objections by the State should be "in writing." The court allowed the oral objection, noting, "[t]here was a mistake made by my case management that did not get this on the docket in a timely fashion. Notice went out but it wasn't on the docket for the prosecution to see."

         {¶ 5} The court indicated that "there does appear to be a government need to maintain the record of not guilty." The court concluded as follows:

I have found that you incurred two counts of felonious assault, which were ignored by the grand jury, back in October of 2014. You also have a criminal history which contains the following convictions - - aggravated trafficking in '89, 89CR3137; felonious assault, a felony of the first degree in Hamilton County; a failure to comply with signal or order of a police officer, felony of the third degree; illegal possession of firearms in a liquor permit premises, a felony of the fifth degree; tampering with evidence, a felony of the fifth degree.
And due to your consistent criminal history, this record of not guilty, I believe, should be maintained for potential future involvement with law enforcement.

         {¶ 6} Harrison asserted that he has been denied public housing. When asked by the court if he was previously convicted as the court just indicated, Harrison responded, "I have no recollection at this time." He asserted that he met the "criteria" pursuant to R.C. 2953.52. Harrison asserted that "my housing situation outweighs the manifest weight for the government to even maintain that record and it still, to this day, has been held against me and that's a discriminatory act under the doctrine of the Discriminatorial (sic) Act." Harrison argued, "I've been maintaining and staying out of trouble for well over 13 years without any incident, " and "because I was mistakenly misidentified, I was clear of those charges." The court again inquired "whether or not those charges that I read to you were convictions. Were you convicted of those offenses or has it been some sort of mistake?" Harrison responded, "I mean - - I - - it could be sort of a mistake. I don't recollect because I take medication, Your Honor, and I have a disability." The court concluded that Harrison was convicted of the offenses the court recited on the record.

         {¶ 7} The court's written decision provides as follows:

The Court has determined whether the applicant was found not guilty, or the complaint, indictment, or information in the case was dismissed; or a no bill was returned in the case; whether criminal proceedings are pending against the applicant at the present time; and whether the interest of the applicant in having the records pertaining to the case sealed are not outweighed by the government's need to maintain these records, and whether, in the case of a no bill, the application was filed in a timely manner.
The Court has determined that the applicant does not meet the criteria according to O.R.C. 2953.52(B)(2). THEREFORE, the Court finds that the application is ...

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