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State v. Cody

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

July 11, 2019

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JOHN CODY, Defendant-Appellant.

          Civil Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CV-12-565050-A

          Dave Yost, Ohio Attorney General, and Brad L. Tammaro, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          John Cody, pro se.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          LARRY A. JONES, SR, JUDGE.

         {¶ 1} Pro se defendant-appellant, John Donald Cody ("Cody"), a.k.a. Bobby Thompson, appeals the trial court's decision to deny his postconviction petition. Finding no merit to the appeal, we affirm.

         {¶ 2} In 2013, Cody was convicted of one count each of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, complicity to commit theft, tampering with records, complicity to tamper with records, and identity fraud; seven counts of complicity to commit money laundering, and 11 counts of identity fraud after bilking Ohio donors of approximately $2 million in a sham charity scam. The trial court imposed a total sentence of 28 years in prison and ordered that Cody spend every Veterans Day in solitary confinement.

         {¶ 3} Cody filed a direct appeal. In State v. Thompson, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 100797, 2015-Ohio-2261, this court found that the state of Ohio did not have jurisdiction over the 11 counts of identity fraud contained in Counts 13 through 23 and vacated his convictions on those counts. This court also held that the trial court's decision to sentence Cody to solitary confinement each Veterans Day was contrary to law but overruled his assignment of error that challenged the admission of certain evidence. Id. at ¶ 29-30.

         {¶ 4} While his appeal was pending, Cody filed a postconviction petition. In his petition, Cody raised five claims: (1) ineffective assistance of counsel; (2) lack of jurisdiction related to money laundering and identity theft charges; (3) the state's failure to provide full discovery; (4) issues with regard to his detention prior to and during trial; and (5) prosecutorial misconduct before and during trial.

         {¶ 5} The state filed a memorandum contra, motion for summary judgment, and proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. The trial court granted the state's motion for summary judgment, denying Cody's postconviction petition. The court also adopted the state's findings of fact and conclusions of law.

         {¶ 6} Cody appealed the denial of his postconviction petition. State v. Cody, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 102213, 2015-Ohio-2764. Cody raised nine assignments of error, claiming: (1) trial counsel was ineffective because counsel refused to pursue certain witnesses that would have established that Cody was working for the CIA; and did not pursue a line of defense that Cody was medically incompetent to stand trial or assist in his defense due to beatings he received in jail; (2) the trial court abused its discretion by denying his petition based on his argument that Counts 3-9 and 13-23 of the indictment should have been dismissed; (3)exculpatory evidence was withheld from him; (4) the trial court should have held a hearing on his claim that his sentence was discriminatory, disproportionate, and excessive; (5) the trial court erred when it did not hold a hearing on his claims against the prosecutor; (6) the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of the state; (7) the trial court erred in granting summary judgment to the state without holding an evidentiary hearing to determine Cody's credibility; and (8) and (9) the trial court erred in adopting the state's findings of fact and conclusions of law.

         {¶ 7} This court upheld the denial of his postconviction petition, finding that (1) his petition was barred by res judicata (assignments of error 1, 2, and 3); (2) Cody did not show he was entitled to a hearing on his postconviction petition (assignments of error 4 and 5); (3) the trial court did not err in granting summary judgment without holding a hearing (assignments of error 6 and 7); and (4) the trial court did not err in adopting the state's proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law (assignments of error 8 and 9).

         {¶ 8} Cody subsequently appealed this court's decision to the Ohio Supreme Court, which declined his discretionary appeal. State v. Cody, 143 Ohio St.3d 1501, 2015-Ohio-4468, 39 N.E.3d 1271. He also filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court of the United States that was denied. Thompson v. Ohio, 136 S.Ct. 2023, 195 L.Ed.2d 228 (2016).

         {¶ 9} In 2017, Cody filed an App.R. 26 application to reopen his appeal with this court, claiming ineffective assistance of appellate counsel. This court denied his application. State v. Cody, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 100797, 2017-Ohio-1543. The Ohio Supreme Court and United States Supreme Court declined jurisdiction. State v. Cody, 150 Ohio St.3d 1411, 2017-Ohio-6964, 78 N.E.3d 910 and Cody v. Ohio, 138 S.Ct. 668, 199 L.Ed.2d 556 (2018).

         {¶ 10} Cody also filed a complaint in federal court against 15 defendants alleging multiple causes of action, including denial of access to courts, retaliation, denial of due process, denial of equal protection, unlawful search and seizure of property, subjection to cruel and unusual punishment, violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and numerous state law claims. See Cody v. Slusher, N.D.Ohio No. 1:17-CV-00132, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90716 (June 13, 2017). His federal case was recently dismissed without prejudice. See Cody v. Slusher, N.D.Ohio No. 1:17-CV-00132, (June 24, 2019).

         {¶ 11} As it pertains to the instant appeal, on May 11, 2018, Cody filed a "Motion to Correct Record." The trial court denied his motion on May 15, 2018. Cody did not timely appeal the court's denial; instead he later filed a motion for leave to file a delayed appeal. We denied his motion and dismissed his appeal as untimely. State v. Cody, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 107471. The Ohio Supreme Court declined jurisdiction. State v. Cody, 153 Ohio St.3d 1506, 2018-Ohio-4285, 109 N.E.3d 1261.

         {¶ 12} Cody subsequently filed a "Petition to Vacate Judgment of Conviction and Sentence made 12.16.2013," which was virtually identical to his May 11, 2018 "Motion to Correct Record." The trial court denied his petition, which became the basis for Cody's notice of appeal in 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 107664.

         {¶ 13} On June 13, 2018, Cody filed a "Motion for Leave to File (Delayed) Motion for New Trial." On July 5, 2018, Cody filed a "Petition to Vacate or Set Aside Judgment of Conviction or Sentence," which is identical ...


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