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Snowden v. Bracy

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

July 19, 2019

William Snowden, Jr., Petitioner,
v.
Charmaine Bracy, Respondent.

          ORDER

          JAMES G. CARR SR. U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This is a timely habeas corpus case in which, after referral, the Hon. William H. Baughman, Jr., United States Magistrate Judge, has filed his Report & Recommendation. (Doc. 20). Petitioner has filed objections (Doc. 21), the respondent has filed a response thereto (Doc. 22), and the petitioner has filed a reply. (Doc. 24). The petitioner has also filed a motion to apply the “legal innocence” (sic: actual innocence) standard. (Doc. 23).

         Finding, on de novo review of the Report & Recommendation and after due consideration, no merit to petitioner's objection or his motion, I adopt the Report & Recommendation as the order of this court, deny the motion as moot, and dismiss the petition with prejudice.

         In addition, I decline to grant a Certificate of Appealability, as jurists of reason could not reasonably disagree with either the result or rationale of the decision to dismiss the petition for habeas corpus relief.

         Background

         In the early morning hours of July 20, 2013, a police officer arrested the petitioner after the officer saw the petitioner crossing the center line. In due course the petitioner plead no contest to two of the four ensuing charges of operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI). As a repeat offender with multiple OVI convictions over twenty years, the petitioner received two consecutive one-year sentences.

         In the instant proceeding petitioner claims that the sentence he received does not exist under state law and the sentencing court lacked jurisdiction, so that his sentence was void ab initio. As is pertinent here, his direct appeal challenged his sentence as a violation of equal protection. That appeal included none of the additional claims he brings in this habeas corpus case. Nor did his subsequent appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court, which the intermediate appellate court facilitated by certifying a conflict as to its rejection of petitioner's constitutional challenge to his sentence. The Ohio Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court's rejection of petitioner's challenge.

         Petitioner first raised his present habeas claims in a state habeas corpus petition in the Ohio Supreme Court. That Court summarily dismissed that petition.

         Petitioner asserts four grounds for relief:

1. My 5th and 14th Amendment constitutional rights were violated. I was imprisoned on a void on its face judgment. The sentence imposed upon me does not exist in the Ohio Revised Code for 4th degree felony OVI. The court sentenced me to two, one year mandatory prison terms to be served consecutive [sic]. This sentence is illegal and void.
2. The court violated my 5th and 14th Amendment rights to due process and equal protection [when] the court convicted without jurisdiction. The state erroneously charged [sic] the indictment, to charge and convict a repeat felony OVI offender. This error removed jurisdiction from the court because it was without the legal authority to act. If the court would have followed the letter of the law at sentencing my conviction would have been impossible.
3. My 5th and 14th Amendment constitutional rights were violated when the court failed to make findings for [a] prison term. Before the court can impose a prison term for a non-violent 4th or 5th degree felony in the state of Ohio, the court must make a mandatory finding contained in 2929.13(B)(1)(a) or (B)(1)(b). If the court cannot make a finding, community controll [sic] sanctions are mandatory.
4. My 6th Amendment rights were violated when I was convicted without the effective assistance of counsel. The Court, the Prosecutor and my own attorney did not know the penalties that I faced as a Defendant. I was threatened with a ten year mandatory prison term if I went to trial. I was given an illegal two year mandatory prison term. My attorney never objected. He waived my pre-sentence ...

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