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State v. Galluzzo

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Champaign

July 26, 2019

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
MICHAEL ANTHONY GALLUZZO Defendant-Appellant

          Criminal Appeal from Municipal Court Case Nos. 2018-CRB-399, 2018-TRD-1000

          ROGER A. STEFFAN, Assistant Municipal Court Prosecuting Attorney, Attorney for Plaintiff-Appellee

          MICHAEL ANTHONY GALLUZZO, Defendant-Appellant, Pro Se

          OPINION

          WELBAUM, P.J.

          {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Michael Anthony Galluzzo, appeals pro se from his conviction in the Champaign County Municipal Court after a jury found him guilty of failing to comply with the order or signal of a police officer, resisting arrest, and driving under suspension. In support of his appeal, Galluzzo contends that the trial court erred in denying his demurrer to the trial court's territorial jurisdiction without holding a hearing as required by R.C. 2941.62. Galluzzo also contends that the trial court erred in failing to require the State to place proof of territorial jurisdiction on the record. Galluzzo further contends that the trial court erred in failing to address his claim that the trial court lacked personal jurisdiction over him. For the reasons outlined below, the judgment of the trial court will be affirmed.

         Facts and Course of Proceedings

         {¶ 2} On May 11, 2018, Galluzzo was charged by complaint in the Champaign County Municipal Court with one count of failing to comply with the order or signal of a police officer in violation of R.C. 2921.331(A), a misdemeanor of the first degree; one count of obstructing official business in violation of R.C. 2921.31(A), a misdemeanor of the second degree; one count of resisting arrest in violation of R.C. 2921.33(A), also a misdemeanor of the second degree; and one count of disorderly conduct in violation of R.C. 2917.11(A)(5), a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. In a separate traffic case, Galluzzo was also charged with driving under suspension in violation of Saint Paris Codified Ordinance 71.28(A), a first degree misdemeanor.

         {¶ 3} The aforementioned charges arose from a traffic stop in Saint Paris, Champaign County, Ohio. The traffic stop was initiated after a police officer, who was familiar with Galluzzo and knew that Galluzzo had a suspended driver's license, observed Galluzzo driving a vehicle on East Main Street in Saint Paris. In the bill of particulars, it was alleged that Galluzzo ignored the officer's commands to return to his vehicle after being pulled over. It was also alleged that Galluzzo ignored repeated commands to get on the ground and place his hands behind his back. Instead of complying with the officer's orders, Galluzzo attempted to get back inside his vehicle and interfered with his arrest, which ultimately took five officers to effectuate.

         {¶ 4} After being arrested and charged for this conduct, Galluzzo refused to enter a plea to the charges. As a result, the trial court entered a not guilty plea on Galluzzo's behalf and scheduled the matter for a jury trial. Prior to trial, Galluzzo filed multiple pro se pleadings wherein he challenged the trial court's territorial jurisdiction by demurrer. Galluzzo also generally challenged the jurisdiction of the trial court "territorial or otherwise." At a pretrial hearing, the trial court found that Galluzzo's jurisdictional challenge lacked merit and ordered the trial to go forward as scheduled.

         {¶ 5} Following the presentation of the State's evidence at trial, the trial court granted Galluzzo a Crim.R. 29 acquittal on the charges for obstructing official business and disorderly conduct. However, after deliberations, the jury found Galluzzo guilty of failing to comply with the order or signal of a police officer, resisting arrest, and driving under suspension. The trial court thereafter sentenced Galluzzo to a total of 180 days in jail with 150 days suspended and five days of jail-time credit. Galluzzo was also ordered to pay a $400 fine for failure to comply, a $150 fine for resisting arrest, and a $100 fine for driving under suspension, plus court costs.

         {¶ 6} Galluzzo now appeals from his conviction, raising a single assignment of error for review.

         Assignment of Error

         {¶ 7} Under his sole assignment of error, Galluzzo raises several arguments pertaining to the trial court's jurisdiction. Galluzzo first contends that the trial court erred in denying his demurrer to the trial court's territorial jurisdiction without holding a hearing. In support of this claim, Galluzzo relies on R.C. 2941.57, which permits demurrers to indictments, and R.C. 2941.62, which requires an immediate hearing thereon.

         {¶ 8} This court has previously rejected similar claims made by Galluzzo on grounds that demurrers have been abolished in traffic and misdemeanor cases. See, e.g., Village of St. Paris v. Galluzzo, 2d Dist. Champaign No. 2014-CA-4, 2014-Ohio-3260, ¶ 9-10 ("Galluzzo I"); Dayton v. Galluzzo, 2d Dist. Montgomery No. 25913, 2014-Ohio-4854, ¶ 5-6 ("Galluzzo II"); Saint Paris v. Galluzzo, 2d Dist. Champaign No. 2014-CA-29, 2015-Ohio-3385, ¶ 35-36 ("Galluzzo III"). Because the instant case involves misdemeanor offenses, we find that the trial ...


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