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State v. Lawless

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Wayne

July 30, 2018

STATE OF OHIO Appellee
v.
RICHARD LAWLESS Appellant

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF WAYNE, OHIO CASE No. 2015 CRC-I 000206

          APPEARANCES: DAVID L. DOUGHTEN, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          DANIEL R. LUTZ, Prosecuting Attorney, and NATHAN R. SHAKER, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          JENNIFER HENSAL JUDGE

         {¶1} Richard Lawless appeals from the judgment of the Wayne County Court of Common Pleas, denying his petition for post-conviction relief. This Court affirms.

         I.

         {¶2} This Court previously set forth the factual background of this case in Mr. Lawless's direct appeal as follows:

The two victims in this case, S.D. and R.K., are recovering heroin addicts. At the time of the events giving rise to Mr. Lawless's convictions, S.D. and R.K. were both active users of heroin and Mr. Lawless was their supplier. Around that same time, Gary Hubbard, Jr., Director of the Medina County Drug Task Force, was the head of an organized crime investigation that was investigating Mr. Lawless's drug dealing activities in Ashland, Medina, and Wayne Counties. Pursuant to that investigation, search warrants were executed at multiple properties. Mr. Lawless suspected that S.D. and R.K. had "snitched" on him.
Mr. Lawless's co-defendant, Michael Kouns, and S.D. lived at one of the properties that was searched. A couple of days after the searches, Mr. Kouns asked S.D. to go with him to a vacant unit in the building to talk "about everything that was going on." Mr. Lawless was waiting in that unit and threatened S.D with a gun. Mr. Kouns then used S.D.'s phone to text R.K., asking him to come over. When R.K. arrived, Mr. Lawless punched him and had Mr. Kouns bind him with duct tape. Mr. Lawless threatened R.K. with the gun and struck him multiple times with a bat.
After Mr. Lawless ended his interrogation of S.D. and R.K., he threatened that he would kill them if they reported the incident to police. Initially, neither S.D. nor R.K. went to the police. But, about ten days after the incident, they did report it to law enforcement.
Mr. Lawless was indicted for two counts of kidnapping, one count of felonious assault, and two counts of abduction. Mr. Lawless pleaded not guilty and the matter proceeded to a jury trial. The jury found him guilty on all counts. The trial court merged the abduction counts into the kidnapping counts and sentenced Mr. Lawless to total of seventeen years in prison.

State v. Lawless, 9th Dist. Wayne No. 16AP0025, 2018-Ohio-444, ¶ 2-5. This Court affirmed Mr. Lawless's convictions on direct appeal. Id. at ¶ 41.

         {¶3} While his direct appeal remained pending, Mr. Lawless filed a petition for postconviction relief with the trial court, raising numerous issues. The trial court denied Mr. Lawless's petition without holding an evidentiary hearing, and this ...


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