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State v. Bruce

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Portage

May 21, 2018

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
RONALD J. BRUCE, Defendant-Appellant.

          Criminal Appeal from the Portage County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2010 CR 00696. Judgment: Affirmed.

          Victor V. Vigluicci, Portage County Prosecutor, and Kristina Reilly, Assistant Prosecutor For Plaintiff-Appellee.

          Brian A. Smith, For Defendant-Appellant.

          OPINION

          CYNTHIA WESTCOTT RICE, J.

         {¶1} Appellant, Ronald J. Bruce, appeals his conviction, following his no contest plea, of two counts of nonsupport of dependents. At issue is whether the trial court erred in denying his motion to dismiss, which alleged the violation of his speedy-trial rights and the statute of limitations. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

         {¶2} On October 26, 2010, appellant was indicted for three counts of nonsupport of dependents, each count being a felony of the fifth degree. The Clerk of Courts issued a certified copy of the indictment and warrant to the Portage County Sheriff on that same date. The warrant information sheet, also filed that same date, provided appellant's last known address in Columbus, Ohio.

         {¶3} The statement of facts that follows is based on the undisputed facts presented at the hearing on appellant's motion to dismiss. On May 23, 2011, appellant was arrested in Franklin County on the outstanding warrant issued in this case. The Franklin County Court of Common Pleas released appellant on a personal recognizance bond, and ordered him to turn himself in at the Portage County Jail within five days to clear up the outstanding warrant. Despite this order, appellant never appeared in Portage County to resolve the warrant. Appellant, through his attorney, admitted during the motion hearing that he did not turn himself in as ordered by the court and that he had no excuse for not doing so.

         {¶4} Six years later, on January 13, 2017, appellant was arrested again in Franklin County on the warrant. The Franklin County court again released him on his personal recognizance and ordered him to report to the Portage County Jail within five days to clear up the warrant. This time, appellant reported to the Portage County Jail, and resolved the warrant, which led to his arraignment on January 27, 2017, in the trial court.

         {¶5} Thereafter, appellant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing the state violated his statutory and constitutional rights to a speedy trial and the statute of limitations.

         {¶6} Following a hearing, the trial court denied the motion. Subsequently, appellant pled no contest to two counts of nonsupport of dependents as charged in the indictment and the court, on the state's motion, dismissed the remaining count. The court found him guilty and sentenced him to four years of community control.

         {¶7} Appellant appeals his conviction, asserting the following for his sole assignment of error:

         {¶8} "The trial court erred in overruling Appellant's Motion to Dismiss."

         {¶9} Appellant raises three issues under his assigned error. He argues that his speedy trial rights were violated under R.C. 2945.71; that his constitutional right to a speedy trial was violated; and that his right to be brought to trial within the six-year statute of limitations was violated.

         {¶10} "We review a trial court's decision on a motion to dismiss pursuant to a de novo standard of review.'" State v. Schwentker, 11th Dist. Ashtabula No. 2015-A-0012, 2015-Ohio-5526, ¶25, quoting State v. Rode, 11th Dist. Portage No. 2010-P-0015, 2011-Ohio-2455, ¶14. Further, "[s]peedy-trial issues present mixed questions of law and fact." State v. Kist, 173 Ohio App.3d 158, 2007-Ohio-4773, ¶18. (11th Dist.) "We accept the facts as found by the trial court on some competent, credible evidence, but freely review the application of the law to the facts." Id.

         {¶11} Appellant argues on appeal that the reason for the delay in commencing and trying this action was the state's failure to track him down between May 2011 and January 2017. He said he was not hiding and the state had to do something more than just issue the warrant. In opposition, the state argues the time between which appellant was ordered to turn himself in to the Portage County Jail on May 23, 2011, and his second arrest on the warrant in January 2017, was attributable to appellant because that delay would have been avoided and there would have been no speedy-trial or statute-of-limitations claim if appellant had simply followed the court's order to turn himself in to the Portage County Jail within five days of his May 23, 2011 arrest.

         {ΒΆ12} I. Statutory ...


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