Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Warren
CHRISTOPHER M. RUSSELL, Plaintiff-Appellant,
WARDEN, LEBANON CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION, Defendant-Appellee.
APPEAL FROM WARREN COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS Case No. 17
Christopher M. Russell, plaintiff-appellant, pro se.
Michael DeWine, Ohio Attorney General, Jared S. Yee, for
1} Plaintiff-appellant, Christopher Russell, appeals
the decision of the Warren County Court of Common Pleas
dismissing his complaint for failure to state a claim under
Civ. R. 12(B)(6). For the reasons detailed below, we affirm.
2} In 2011, Russell was convicted, after a jury
trial, of rape, gross sexual imposition, pandering obscenity
involving a minor, and sexual battery, and sentenced to
consecutive prison terms totaling 75 years. Russell's
conviction was affirmed on appeal. State v. Russell,
2d Dist. Clark No. 2011-CA-10, 2012-Ohio-4316. Russell did
not appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court.
3} Since that time, Russell has appealed various
matters in federal and state courts. Russell v.
Turner, 6th Cir. No. 16-3415, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 23620
(Oct. 28, 2016); Russell v. Warden N. Cent. Corr.
Inst, 6th Cir. No. 17-3251, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 18058
(July 31, 2017); State v. Russell, 2d Dist. Clark
No. 2016-CA-48, 2017-Ohio-7198.
4} On August 7, 2017, Russell filed a complaint
styled as a "Motion for Declaratory Judgment" with
the Warren County Court of Common Pleas. Russell named the
Warden of the Lebanon Correctional Institution (LCI) as the
defendant and alleged that LCI's library policy caused
him harm "by operating in a matter inconsistent with the
required lawful and meaningful access to courts codified in
State policy and Constitutional principles."
5} Russell's complaint alleged that LCI's
library policy, which he describes as a "closed service
with passes issued mainly once-per-month for one shift (3 to
4 hours)," bars his access to the courts and harms his
efforts to overturn his conviction. As a result, Russell
seeks declaratory judgment regarding the constitutionality of
the library's operation.
6} LCI moved for dismissal under Civ.R. 12(B)(6).
The trial court granted LCI's motion to dismiss after
concluding that Russell failed to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted. Russell now appeals, raising four
assignments of error for review.
7} Assignment of Error No. 1:
8} THE TRIAL COURT CONSTRUED THE ACTION UNDER 42
U.S.C. SECTION 1983 INSTEAD OF O.R.C. SECTION 2721.
9} Assignment of Error No. 2:
10} TRIAL COURT IMPROPERLY DISMISSED THE ISSUE UNDER