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State v. Littlepage

Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton

July 27, 2018

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DANIEL LITTLEPAGE, Defendant-Appellant.

          Criminal Appeals From: Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas TRIAL NO. B-1304393

          Joseph T. Deters, Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney, and Sean M. Donovan, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Plaintiff-Appellee,

          Daniel Littlepage, pro se.

          OPINION

          Per Curiam.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant Daniel Littlepage appeals the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court's judgments overruling his "Motion to Correct Sentence" and "Motion for Grand Jury Testimony and Evidence [and] Disclosure of Proceedings." We dismiss the appeals for lack of jurisdiction.

         {¶2} Littlepage was convicted of aggravated murder in January 2014. He unsuccessfully challenged his conviction on direct appeal and in postconviction filings between 2014 and 2017. See State v. Littlepage, 1st Dist. Hamilton No. C-140760 (Dec. 4, 2015); State v. Littlepage, 1st Dist. Hamilton No. C-140574 (Aug. 26, 2015), appeals not accepted, 144 Ohio St.3d 1429, 2015-Ohio-5225, 42 N.E.3d 764, and 145 Ohio St.3d 1461, 2016-Ohio-2807, 49 N.E.3d 322; State v. Littlepage, 1st Dist. Hamilton No. C-160918, 2018-Ohio-1382.

         Motion to Correct Sentence

         {¶3} In the case numbered C-170157, Littlepage presents a single assignment of error challenging the common pleas court's judgment overruling his February 2017 "Motion to Correct Sentence." In that motion, he sought correction of his sentence on the ground that it was void because the trial court had failed to make statutorily mandated findings. We do not reach the merits of the assignment of error, because we have no jurisdiction to review the judgment overruling the motion.

         {¶4} No common pleas court jurisdiction. Littlepage did not specify in his motion a statute or rule under which the relief sought may be afforded. The common pleas court was thus left to "recast" the motion "into whatever category necessary to identify and establish the criteria by which the motion should be judged." State v. Schlee, 117 Ohio St.3d 153, 2008-Ohio-545, 882 N.E.2d 431, ¶ 12 and syllabus.

         {¶5} But the motion was not reviewable under the standards provided by R.C. 2953.21 et seq., governing the proceedings upon a petition for postconviction relief, because the motion alleged statutory, rather than constitutional, violations. See R.C. 2953.21(A)(1) (requiring a postconviction petitioner to demonstrate a constitutional violation in the proceedings resulting in his conviction); State v. Hodge, 128 Ohio St.3d 1, 2010-Ohio-6320, 941 N.E.2d 768, ¶ 26 (holding that sentencing findings are not constitutionally mandated). The motion was also not reviewable as a motion for a new trial under Crim.R. 33 or as a motion to withdraw his guilty plea under Crim.R. 32.1, because Littlepage was not convicted following a trial, but upon a plea of guilty, and his motion did not seek withdrawal of that plea. The motion was not reviewable under R.C. Chapter 2731 as a petition for a writ of mandamus, under R.C. Chapter 2721 as a declaratory judgment action, or under R.C. Chapter 2725 as a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, because the motion did not satisfy those statutes' procedural requirements. See R.C. 2731.04, 2721.12(A), and 2725.04. And Crim.R. 57(B) did not require the common pleas court to entertain the motion under Civ.R 60(B), because Littlepage's sentence had been reviewable under the procedures provided for a direct appeal. See State v. Smith, 1st Dist. Hamilton Nos. C-150445 and C-150446, 2016-Ohio-3521, ¶ 19.

         {¶6} We, therefore, conclude that the common pleas court had no jurisdiction to entertain Littlepage's "Motion to Correct Sentence."

         {¶7} No appeals court jurisdiction. Moreover, this court has no jurisdiction to review the common pleas court's judgment overruling the motion. Article IV, Section 3(B)(2), Ohio Constitution, confers upon an intermediate appellate court only "such jurisdiction as may be provided by law to review and affirm, modify, or reverse judgments or final orders of the courts of record inferior to the court of appeals within the district."

         {¶8} The common pleas court's judgment overruling Littlepage's motion to correct his sentence is not a judgment of conviction. Therefore, the judgment overruling the motion is plainly not reviewable under the jurisdiction conferred upon an appeals court by R.C. 2953.02 or 2953.08 to review a judgment of conviction entered in a criminal case.

         {¶9} An appeals court has jurisdiction under R.C. 2953.23(B) to review an order awarding or denying postconviction relief. But the entry overruling Littlepage's motion was not appealable under R.C. 2953.23(B), because, as we determined, the motion ...


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