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State v. Irish

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Third District, Mercer

July 8, 2019


          Appeal from Mercer County Common Pleas Court Trial Court No. 16-CRM-071

          Matthew K. Fox and Joshua A. Muhlenkamp for Appellant

          Reed D. Searcy for Appellee


          PRESTON, J.

         {¶1} Plaintiff-appellant, the State of Ohio, appeals the October 12, 2018 judgment of the Mercer County Court of Common Pleas dismissing the indictment against defendant-appellee, Shane P. Irish ("Irish"). For the reasons that follow, we reverse.

         {¶2} On June 16, 2016, the Mercer County Grand Jury indicted Irish on two counts: Count One of burglary in violation of R.C. 2911.12(A)(2), (D), a second-degree felony, and Count Two of theft in violation of R.C. 2913.02(A)(1), (B)(2), a fifth-degree felony. (Doc. No. 1). At the time, Irish was incarcerated for unrelated offenses, having commenced a 44-month prison sentence in July 2015. (Doc. No. 91). On June 15, 2017, Irish sent the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office a letter requesting final disposition of the outstanding indictment. (Id.). After being retrieved from the Belmont Correctional Institution, Irish was finally served with a copy of the indictment on June 26, 2017. (Id.). On July 7, 2017, Irish appeared for arraignment and pleaded not guilty to the counts of the indictment. (Doc. No. 20).

         {¶3} A change of plea hearing was held on August 18, 2017. (Doc. No. 34); (Aug. 18, 2017 Tr. at 3). Pursuant to plea negotiations, the State moved to amend Count One of the indictment from second-degree felony burglary to trespass in a habitation in violation of R.C. 2911.12(B), (E), a fourth-degree felony. (Aug. 18, 2017 Tr. at 3-4). The trial court granted the State's motion and amended Count One of the indictment. (Id. at 5). The trial court proceeded to conduct a Crim.R. 11 plea colloquy, and Irish executed a "Waiver of Constitutional Rights" form which provided, among other things, that Irish understood that he was waiving "[t]he right to a speedy public trial by jury * * *." (Doc. No. 31). Thereafter, Irish withdrew his not guilty pleas and entered no contest pleas to amended Count One and Count Two of the indictment. (Doc. No. 34); (Aug. 18, 2017 Tr. at 6). The trial court accepted Irish's no contest pleas, found him guilty, and ordered a presentence investigation. (Doc. No. 34); (Aug. 18, 2017 Tr. at 14-15). The trial court filed its judgment entry of conviction on August 24, 2017. (Doc. No. 34).

         {¶4} On August 30, 2017, the trial court sentenced Irish to three years of community control. (Doc. No. 41); (Aug. 30, 2017 Tr. at 7). The trial court tolled Irish's community control sanctions until he completed his 44-month prison sentence. (Doc. No. 41). The trial court filed its judgment entry of sentence on September 15, 2017. (Id.).

         {¶5} On September 25, 2017, Irish filed a notice of appeal from the trial court's September 15, 2017 judgment of sentence. (Doc. No. 48). On May 14, 2018, this court reversed Irish's conviction and sentence. (Doc. No. 72). We remanded the matter to the trial court with instructions for the trial court to consider whether Irish's statutory and constitutional speedy-trial rights had been violated. (Id.).

         {¶6} On remand, Irish filed a motion to dismiss the indictment on July 16, 2018 alleging that his statutory and constitutional speedy-trial rights were violated. (Doc. No. 89). On July 31, 2018, Irish filed a memorandum in support of his motion to dismiss. (Doc. No. 94). On August 14, 2018, the State filed a memorandum in opposition to Irish's motion to dismiss. (Doc. No. 95). On August 23, 2018, Irish filed his brief in reply to the State's memorandum in opposition to his motion to dismiss. (Doc. No. 96).

         {¶7} Following a September 12, 2018 hearing, the trial court granted Irish's motion to dismiss and dismissed the indictment on October 12, 2018. (Doc. No. 100). Specifically, the trial court concluded that Irish's statutory speedy-trial rights under R.C. 2945.71 were violated because he was not brought to trial within 270 days after indictment. (Id.). The trial court also concluded that Irish's constitutional speedy-trial rights were violated. (Id.).

         {¶8} On November 7, 2018, the State filed a notice of appeal. (Doc. No. 107). It raises one assignment of error.

         Assignment of Error

         The trial court erred when it found that the speedy trial statute, ORC §2945.71, had been violated and granted the defendant's motion to dismiss, and in improperly conflating the statutory and constitutional speedy trial rights.

         {¶9} In its assignment of error, the State argues that the trial court erred by granting Irish's motion to dismiss. Specifically, the State argues that the trial court erred by concluding that R.C. 2945.71 controlled the time within which Irish should have been brought to trial. (Appellant's Brief at 13). It contends that because Irish was imprisoned in an Ohio correctional institution on unrelated charges when the indictment was issued, the period of time within which it was required to bring Irish to trial was governed exclusively by R.C. 2941.401. (Id. at 17-18). According to the State, Irish's statutory speedy-trial rights under R.C. 2941.401 were not violated because, as required by R.C. 2941.401, his case was initially resolved within 180 days after he filed a request for final disposition. The State further argues that the trial court erred by concluding that Irish's constitutional rights to a speedy trial were also violated. (Id. at 14-17).

         {¶10} "'A speedy trial claim involves a mixed question of law and fact for purposes of appellate review.'" State v. Gartrell, 3d Dist. Marion No. 9-14-02, 2014-Ohio-5203, ¶ 104, quoting State v. Hansen, 3d Dist. Seneca No. 13-12-42, 2013-Ohio-1735, ¶ 20, citing State v. Masters, 172 Ohio App.3d 666, 2007-Ohio-4229, ¶ 11 (3d Dist.). "'Accordingly, a reviewing court must give due deference to the trial court's findings of fact if they are supported by competent, credible evidence but will independently review whether the trial court correctly applied the law to the facts of the case.'" Id., quoting Hansen at ¶ 20, citing Masters at ¶ 11.

         {¶11} "'An accused is guaranteed the constitutional right to a speedy trial pursuant to the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution and Ohio Constitution, Article I, Section 10.'" State v. Dahms, 3d Dist. Seneca No. 13-16-16, 2017-Ohio-4221, ¶ 102, quoting State v. Ferguson, 10th Dist. Franklin No. 16AP-307, 2016-Ohio-8537, ¶ 12, citing State v. Taylor, 98 Ohio St.3d 27, 2002-Ohio-7017, ¶ 32. "In Ohio, the right to a speedy trial is implemented by statutes that impose a duty on the state to bring the defendant to trial within a specified time." State v. Melampy, 12th Dist. Brown No. CA2007-04-008, 2008-Ohio-5838, ¶ 9, citing Cleveland v. Sheldon, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 82319, 2003-Ohio-6331, ¶ 16. The interplay between two of these statutes, R.C. 2945.71 and 2941.401, is at the heart of this case.

         {¶12} Ohio's "general" speedy-trial statutes are contained in R.C. 2945.71 et seq. R.C. 2945.71 provides that "[a] person against whom a charge of felony is pending * * * [s]hall be brought to trial within two hundred seventy days after the person's arrest." R.C. 2945.71(C)(2). This 270-day period may be extended for one or more of the reasons listed in R.C. 2945.72(A)-(I). Absent any such extension, failure to bring a defendant to trial within the 270-day period subjects the case to dismissal upon motion of the defendant. R.C. 2945.73(B). "When an accused is discharged pursuant to [R.C. 2945.73(B)] * * *, such discharge is a bar to any further criminal proceedings against [the defendant] based on the same conduct." R.C. 2945.73(D). "The provisions of R.C. 2945.71 et seq. * * * are mandatory and must be strictly complied with by the trial court." State v. Smith, 140 Ohio App.3d 81, 86 (3d Dist.2000), citing State v. Cloud, 122 Ohio App.3d 626 (2d Dist.1997) and State v. Pudlock, 44 Ohio St.2d 104 (1975).

         {¶13} Conversely, R.C. 2941.401 is a "specific" speedy-trial statute applicable only to defendants who are imprisoned in correctional institutions in the State of Ohio and facing charges for crimes separate from those for which they are already imprisoned. Melampy at ¶ 9, citing Sheldon at ¶ 16 and State v. Clark, ...

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