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State v. Smith

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

July 26, 2018

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
WILLIE SMITH DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

          Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-95-325283-ZA

          FOR APPELLANT Willie Smith, pro se Inmate No. 312990 Richland Correctional Institution

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Katherine Mullin Assistant County Prosecutor

          BEFORE: McCormack, P.J., Celebrezze, J., and Jones, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          TIM McCORMACK, P.J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant Willie Smith ("Smith") appeals the trial court's denial of his common law motion to correct void judgment. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

         Procedural and Substantive History

         {¶2} This appeal stems from Smith's 1995 criminal convictions. Smith was indicted in one case with two counts of aggravated murder with felony and firearm specifications and one count of having a weapon while under disability. He was indicted in another case with one count of kidnapping, and the cases were consolidated for trial. A jury found Smith guilty of one count of aggravated murder and one count of kidnapping and not guilty of the remaining counts and specifications. The trial court sentenced Smith to 10 to 25 years for kidnapping and a term of life for aggravated murder, to run consecutively.

         {¶3} Smith appealed his conviction, raising 12 assignments of error, including inconsistent verdicts. This court affirmed Smith's convictions in 1997. State v. Smith, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga Nos. 69799, 70451, 71643, 1997 Ohio App. LEXIS 4892 (Nov. 6, 1997).

         {¶4} Smith also filed a motion for a new trial and a petition for postconviction relief. The trial court denied both the motion and petition, and this court affirmed the trial court's judgment. State v. Smith, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 78229, 2001 Ohio App. LEXIS 2076, 1 (May 10, 2001). Smith subsequently filed another motion for a new trial. This motion was also denied. Smith appealed again, and this court dismissed the appeal. Smith filed a second petition for postconviction relief in 2009, and this too was denied. On appeal, this court again affirmed the trial court's decision.

         {¶5} On June 21, 2017, Smith filed a common law motion to correct void judgment, arguing that the trial court imposed a void sentence in 1995. According to Smith,

the jury acquitted [him] of aggravated murder in [C]ount 3 when the jury made a unanimous factual finding beyond a reasonable doubt of "not guilty" on the felony-murder specifications attached to the aggravated murder and that [finding] negated one or more of the essential elements of the aggravated murder as charged in [C]ount 3.

         The trial court denied this motion, and Smith appealed, presenting two assignments of error for our review.

         Law ...


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