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Palmer-Tesema v. Pinkney

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

May 9, 2018

YOHANN PALMER-TESEMA PETITIONER
v.
CLIFFORD PINKNEY, CUYAHOGA COUNTY SHERIFF RESPONDENT

          Writ of Habeas Corpus Motion No. 516589 Order No. 517335

          ATTORNEYS FOR PETITIONER Mark A. Stanton Cuyahoga County Public Defender By: John T. Martin Assistant Public Defender

          ATTORNEYS FOR RESPONDENT Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor By: Carl Mazzone Frank Romeo Zeleznikar Assistant County Prosecutors

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          ANITA LASTER MAYS, JUDGE.

         {¶1} Yohann Palmer-Tesema has commenced this habeas corpus action against Clifford Pinkney, the Cuyahoga County Sheriff ("Sheriff Pinkney"). Palmer-Tesema alleges that his $250, 000 pretrial bail is excessive and unreasonable and seeks a reduction in the amount of bail with additional conditions. Pinkney has filed a motion for summary judgment that is denied for the following reasons.

         FACTS

         {¶2} On February 22, 2018, Palmer-Tesema appeared in the Rocky River Municipal Court following his arrest for the offense of rape. The Rocky River Municipal Court set bail in the amount of $250, 000, cash or surety, and ordered that Palmer-Tesema be bound over to the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

         {¶3} On March 20, 2018, Palmer-Tesema was indicted, in State v. Palmer-Tesema, Cuyahoga C.P. No. CR-18-626287, for six counts of rape (R.C. 2907.02(A)(1)(c)) with sexually violent predator specifications (R.C. 2941.148(A)), and three counts of kidnaping (R.C. 2905.01(A)(4)) with sexual motivation specifications (R.C. 2941.147(A)) and sexually violent predator specifications (R.C. 2941.148(A)). The nine counts allege three separate victims.

         {¶4} On March 23, 2018, Palmer-Tesema was arraigned with bail continued in the amount of $250, 000 with further conditions of no contact with the victims and a continuance of a temporary protection order. On April 2, 2018, the trial court denied Palmer-Tesema's first request for bail reduction. On April 5, 2018, the trial court denied Palmer-Tesema's second request for bail reduction. On April 8, 2018, Palmer-Tesema filed his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. On April 11, 2018, Sheriff Pinkney filed a Civ.R. 56(C) motion for summary judgment. On April 18, 2018, Palmer-Tesema filed a brief in opposition to the motion for summary judgment. On April 25, 2018, the writ issued, and on May 3, 2018, this court conducted an evidentiary hearing and heard the arguments of counsel.

         {¶5} For the following reasons, we deny Sheriff Pinkney's motion for summary judgment and find that bail in the amount of $250, 000 is excessive.

         LEGAL ANALYSIS

         {¶6} The principles governing habeas corpus are well settled under the United States Constitution and the Ohio Constitution: "excessive bail shall not be required." If a charged offense is bailable, the right to reasonable bail may not be infringed or denied. Lewis v. Telb, 26 Ohio App.3d 11, 497 N.E.2d 1376 (6th Dist.1985); In re Gentry, 7 Ohio App.3d 143, 454 N.E.2d 987 (6th Dist.1982). The purpose of bail is to secure the attendance of the defendant at trial. Bland v. Holden, 21 Ohio St.2d 238, 257 N.E.2d 397 (1970). A person charged with the commission of a bailable offense cannot be required to furnish bail in an excessive or unreasonable amount. In re Lonardo, 86 Ohio App. 289, 89 N.E.2d 502 (8th Dist.1949).

         {¶7} In determining what is reasonable bail, a trial court must apply the factors contained within Crim.R. 46 and consider all relevant information, including but not limited to, the nature and circumstances of the charged offense; the weight of the evidence; confirmation of the defendant's identity; the defendant's history of flight or failure to appear at court proceedings; ties to the community, including his family, financial resources and employment; character and mental condition; record of conviction; and whether the defendant is on probation, community control sanction, parole, or postrelease control. The trial court, after weighing these factors, sets the amount of bail. Hardy v. McFaul, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 84495, 2004-Ohio-2694; State v. Marte, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 69587, 1996 Ohio App. LEXIS 2193 (May 23, 1996).

         {¶8} An action in habeas corpus, that involves a claim of excessive bail, requires a hybrid analysis ...


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