The State ex rel. Ellis, Appellant,
Wainwright, Warden, Appellee.
Submitted May 7, 2019
from the Court of Appeals for Marion County, No. 9-18-42.
P. Ellis, pro se.
Yost, Attorney General, and Stephanie Watson, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
1} Appellant, James P. Ellis, appeals the Third
District Court of Appeals' dismissal of his petition for
a writ of habeas corpus. We affirm.
2} A jury in Hamilton County found Ellis guilty of
aggravated murder and aggravated burglary. On March 31, 1995,
he was sentenced to life imprisonment for aggravated murder
and to 10 to 25 years' imprisonment for aggravated
burglary. State v. Ellis, Hamilton C.P. No. B 943355
(Mar. 31, 1995), aff'd, 1st Dist. Hamilton No.
C-950307, 1996 WL 496930 (Sept. 4, 1996).
3} On November 15, 2018, Ellis filed a petition for
a writ of habeas corpus in the Third District Court of
Appeals against appellee, Lyneal Wainwright, Warden of the
Marion Correctional Institution. Ellis claimed to be entitled
to immediate release because he had served the entirety of
his aggravated-burglary sentence and the aggravated-murder
sentence was "contrary to law" and
"unenforceable." Ellis described himself as
indigent in his petition but did not file an affidavit of
indigency with his petition or request a waiver of the filing
4} On January 22, 2019, the court of appeals
dismissed the petition for two reasons: (1) Ellis had failed
to submit an inmate-account statement, as required by R.C.
2969.25(C), and (2) it was clear from the face of his
petition that he was not entitled to immediate release,
because his maximum sentence (life imprisonment) had not
5} Ellis appealed.
6} An inmate who files a petition for a writ of
habeas corpus and who seeks a waiver of the court's
filing fees must comply with R.C. 2969.25(C). Robinson v.
Miller, 148 Ohio St.3d 429, 2016-Ohio-7828, 71 N.E.3d
255, ¶ 7. R.C. 2969.25(C) provides that an inmate who
seeks a waiver of the court's filing fees when
instituting a suit against a government actor must provide an
affidavit of indigency that contains (1) a statement
certified by the institutional cashier setting forth the
balance in the inmate's account for each of the preceding
six months and (2) a statement that sets forth all other cash
and things of value owned by the inmate at the time of
filing. Failure to comply with the requirements of R.C.
2969.25(C) is grounds for dismissal of the petition.
State ex rel. Pamer v. Collier, 108 Ohio St.3d 492,
2006-Ohio-1507, 844 N.E.2d 842, ¶ 5.
7} Ellis complains that he should not be penalized
for failing to provide his account statement when he has no
ability to compel the cashier of the correctional institution
to prepare and provide the necessary certified statement. We
recently rejected a similar argument, on the ground that R.C.
2969.25(C) demands strict compliance, so an inmate's
explanation for noncompliance is not relevant. State ex
rel. Powe v. Lanzinger, __Ohio St.3d__, 2019-Ohio-954,
__ N.E.3d__, ¶ 7 (inmate argued that the account-balance
portion of his affidavit of indigency had been prepared by