Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Clayton

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Warren

May 7, 2018

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
GREGORY CLAYTON, Defendant-Appellant.

          CRIMINAL APPEAL FROM WARREN COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS Case No. 14CR29857

          David P. Fornshell, Warren County Prosecuting Attorney, Kirsten A. Brandt, 520 Justice Drive, Lebanon, Ohio 45036, for plaintiff-appellee

          Gregory Clayton, #A731925, Madison Correctional Institution, 1851 State Route 56, London, Ohio 43140, defendant-appellant, pro se

          OPINION

          M. POWELL, JUDGE.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Gregory Clayton, appeals a decision of the Warren County Court of Common Pleas dismissing his petition for postconviction relief without holding an evidentiary hearing.

         {¶ 2} Appellant was indicted in 2014 for trafficking in marijuana, possession of marijuana, and permitting drug abuse. The indictment stemmed from the discovery of approximately 400 pounds of marijuana following the search of a Chrysler Pacifica driven by appellant. The search warrant authorizing the search of the vehicle was signed by Warren County Common Pleas Judge Robert Peeler. Appellant and his co-defendant, Jason Raphael, moved to suppress the evidence found from the search of the vehicle and their persons along with the statements both made to the police. Following an evidentiary hearing, the trial court suppressed the evidence seized as a result of the search of the Pacifica and evidence obtained from appellant. On August 10, 2015, we reversed the trial court's decision and remanded the matter to the trial court for further proceedings. State v. Raphael, 12th Dist. Warren Nos. CA2014-11-138 and CA2014-11-139, 2015-Ohio-3179.[1]

         {¶ 3} On remand, appellant and Raphael were tried jointly in a bench trial. Detective Dan Schweitzer, the detective who drafted the affidavit for the search warrant, testified on behalf of the state. On January 13, 2017, the trial court found appellant guilty of marijuana possession and permitting drug abuse, but not guilty of trafficking in marijuana, and sentenced him to a mandatory eight years in prison. Appellant appealed his conviction.

         {¶ 4} On August 23, 2017, while his appeal was pending in this court, appellant filed a petition for postconviction relief ("PCR") under R.C. 2953.21 and requested an evidentiary hearing. Appellant alleged that Judge Peeler's signature on the search warrant was forged and that Detective Schweitzer "or a colleague" had forged it. The petition was accompanied by four documents attached as exhibits, namely, a commitment order from an unrelated case purporting to bear the actual signature of Judge Peeler, the search warrant for the Pacifica and the search warrant return, and the August 14, 2017 unsigned, non-notarized statement of a deputy clerk asserting that "there are no search warrants. Judge Peeler did NOT sign any documents in feb 2014 on this case." The state moved to dismiss appellant's PCR petition.

         {¶ 5} On September 18, 2017, appellant filed an amended PCR petition. The state moved for summary judgment. Attached to the state's motion was an affidavit from Warren County Clerk of Courts Jean Kilgore explaining her August 14, 2017 statement and stating that while the search warrant return for the Pacifica was signed by Warren County Common Pleas Judge Donald Oda, the search warrant itself was signed by Judge Peeler. Subsequently, appellant moved for summary judgment. Appellant attached a signed and notarized "affidavit of verity" to his motion, swearing that the allegations he had made were "both true and correct to the best of [his] knowledge and personal belief."

         {¶ 6} On November 3, 2017, the trial court dismissed appellant's PCR petition without a hearing. The trial court found that because appellant did not raise the issue of the forged signature in his motion to suppress, he had waived his right to raise the issue in his PCR petition. Moreover, the trial court found that even if the issue was not waived, appellant "ha[d] not set forth sufficient operative facts in his petition, the supporting affidavits, the documentary evidence, the files, and the record filed herein to establish substantive grounds for relief." The trial court further found that Judge Peeler's signature on the search warrant was "an authentic signature, signed by him in the presence of Det. Schweitzer, " and that irrespective of the issuance of the search warrant, the law enforcement officers had probable cause to search the Pacifica as set forth in this court's opinion reversing the grant of appellant's motion to suppress. See Raphael, 2015-Ohio-3179. On November 13, 2017, we upheld appellant's conviction. State v. Clayton, 12th Dist. Warren No. CA2017-01-009, 2017-Ohio-8538.

         {¶ 7} Appellant now appeals the dismissal of his PCR petition, raising two assignments of error. The assignments of error will be addressed together.

         {¶ 8} Assignment of Error No. 1:

         {¶ 9} THE TRIAL COURT ERRED TO THE PREJUDICE OF APPELLANT'S ABSOLUTE RIGHT TO PROCEDURAL DUE PROCESS IN GRANTING THE STATE A SUMMARY JUDGMENT.

         {¶ 10} ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.