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State v. Mills

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Summit

June 19, 2019

STATE OF OHIO Appellee
v.
PHIL D. MILLS Appellant

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CR-2016-04-1091-A

          PHIL D. MILLS, pro se, Appellant.

          SHERRI BEVAN WALSH, Prosecutinbg Attorney, and JACQUENETTE S. CORGAN, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          DONNA J. CARR JUDGE.

         {¶1} Defendant-Appellant Phil Mills appeals the judgment of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas dismissing his petition for post-conviction relief. This Court affirms.

         I.

         {¶2} In 2016, following a traffic stop, Mills was indicted on one count of having weapons while under disability, one count of carrying concealed weapons, and one count of improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle. Trial counsel filed a motion to suppress which was denied following a hearing.

         {¶3} Thereafter, Mills entered a written plea of guilty to having weapons while under disability and improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle. The third charge was dismissed. The trial court merged the two remaining counts and Mills was sentenced to a term of 18 months on the offense of having weapons while under disability. The plea and sentencing hearing also addressed a trafficking charge in another case. The judgment entry was journalized August 14, 2017.

         {¶4} Mills did not file a direct appeal. However, on July 26, 2018, Mills filed a petition for post-conviction relief and requested an evidentiary hearing. The case number heading of the petition listed the instant trial court case number, as well as the case number of the trafficking conviction. In his petition, Mills raised several grounds for relief, some of which only related to the trafficking case. Relevant to the arguments raised on appeal, Mills argued that his trial counsel was ineffective as counsel failed to conduct an adequate investigation, failed to advise Mills of a meritorious Fourth Amendment defense, and failed to file a motion to suppress evidence.

         {¶5} Mills' argument centered on the traffic citation which was issued at the traffic stop, which ultimately led to the charges and conviction in this case. Mills pointed out that the traffic citation stated that he made an improper right turn when the charging officer reported that Mills made an improper left turn. Mills also noted that the Akron Municipal Court records reflect that the violation was "DISMISSED NOT INDICTED[.]" Mills argued that this meant that he did not commit a traffic offense and therefore the officer could not have stopped him. Accompanying Mills' petition was his own affidavit, an affidavit of another individual, the plea and sentencing transcripts, the written pleas of guilty, the traffic citation, the dismissal of the traffic citation, and provisions of the Ohio Revised Code.

         {¶6} In response to the petition, the State filed a motion to dismiss the petition without a hearing. The trial court denied Mills' request for a hearing and dismissed the petition. In so doing, the trial court found that "the Court conducted a plea colloquy that advised the Petitioner of his rights, the nature of the charges, and the effect of a guilty plea. The Court inquired as to whether the Petitioner was satisfied with his attorney. The petitioner indicated that he understood his rights, the nature of the charges, the effect of a guilty plea, and that he was satisfied with his attorney." The trial court concluded that "the Petitioner failed to meet the burden of demonstrating a denial or infringement of his rights. * * * The evidence attached to the petition does not set forth sufficient operative facts to establish substantive grounds for relief. The Petitioner's various assertions of ineffective assistance of counsel are not supported by sufficient evidence that his attorney was ineffective." In addition, the trial court stated that "[t]he Court rules that the Petitioner's claims are barred by res judicata. The Petitioner's claims could have been raised on a direct appeal." (Emphasis omitted.)

         {¶7} Mills has appealed, pro se, raising four assignments of error for our review.

         II.

         ASSIGNMENT ...


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