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Hillman v. Larrison

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

June 25, 2019

Robert L. Hillman, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
David Larrison, Defendant-Appellee.

          APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, No. 15CV-2664

         On brief:

          Robert L. Hillman, pro se.

         On brief:

          Zach Klein, City Attorney, and Timothy J. Mangan, for appellee.

          DECISION

          KLATT, P.J.

         {¶ 1} Plaintiff-appellant, Robert L. Hillman, appeals the judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas finding that his accusation by affidavit filed pursuant to R.C. 2935.09 was not meritorious, referring the matter to the prosecuting attorney, and closing the case. Because we find the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it found that the accusation by affidavit was not meritorious, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         {¶ 2} Hillman initiated this proceeding on March 27, 2015, by filing an accusation by affidavit under R.C. 2935.09. He alleged that defendant-appellee, David Larrison, a city of Columbus police officer, committed perjury in violation of R.C. 2921.11 by making false statements when testifying during Hillman's criminal trial. The trial court dismissed the case on July 15, 2015, and Hillman appealed.

         {¶ 3} This court reversed and remanded the case on the ground that the trial court had "summarily dismissed" the matter without applying R.C. 2935.10, which affords the reviewing official only two options: "(1) issue a warrant for the arrest of the person charged in the affidavit, if the judge, clerk, or magistrate has no reason to believe that it was not filed in good faith or the claim is not meritorious, or (2) refer the matter to the prosecuting attorney for investigation prior to the issuance of a warrant, if the judge, clerk, or magistrate has reason to believe that it was not filed in good faith or the claim is not meritorious." Hillman v. Larrison, 10th Dist. No. 15AP-730, 2016-Ohio-666, ¶ 10 ("Hillman I"). Accordingly, we remanded with instructions to the trial court to follow the procedures set forth in the statute.

         {¶ 4} On remand, the trial court dismissed the case, but did so on the ground that Hillman's accusation by affidavit was invalid because it lacked a notary stamp or seal. Hillman appealed the trial court's decision.

         {¶ 5} We again reversed. Because our previous decision considered Hillman's affidavit to be facially valid, we held that the law of the case doctrine prevented the court from dismissing the case without complying with the mandate to apply the procedure set forth in R.C. 2935.10. Hillman v. Larrison, 10th Dist. No. 16AP-374, 2016-Ohio-7971 ("Hillman II ").

         {¶ 6} On remand, the trial court examined Hillman's affidavit and concluded that it was not meritorious. Accordingly, the trial court referred the matter to the county prosecutor for investigation, overruled a number of pending motions filed by Hillman, and ordered the case closed. Hillman again appealed the trial court's decision.

         {¶ 7} We again reversed and remanded the case to the trial court finding that it did not properly examine all the evidence Hillman presented in support of his accusation by affidavit. Hillman v. Larrison, 10th Dist. No. 17AP-160, 2018-Ohio-184 ("Hillman III "). We again directed the trial court "to consider whether Hillman has made a meritorious allegation of perjury, based on his affidavit and ...


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