ORIGINAL ACTION IN PROHIBITION
REGINALD ROBERSON, Pro se, Relator.
P. WILL, Prosecuting Attorney, for Respondent.
Relator, Reginald Roberson, has filed a petition for a writ
of prohibition to seek a stay of a judgment, issued by Judge
Mark Betleski, that Mr. Roberson asserts is void. For the
following reasons, we dismiss the petition sua sponte. Sua
sponte dismissal of a petition, without notice, is
appropriate only if the petition is frivolous or the claimant
obviously cannot prevail on the facts alleged in the
petition. See, e.g., State ex rel. Duran v. Kelsey,
106 Ohio St.3d 58, 2005-Ohio-3674, ¶ 7.
Mr. Roberson's petition was confusingly captioned as both
a notice of appeal and as a request for writ of prohibition.
Pursuant to this Court's Magistrate's Order, Mr.
Roberson clarified that he sought a writ of prohibition to
prevent further collection of court costs pursuant to Judge
Betleski's sentencing order.
Generally, for this Court to issue a writ of
prohibition, Mr. Roberson must establish
that: (1) Judge Betleski is about to exercise judicial power,
(2) the exercise of that power is unauthorized by law, and
(3) the denial of the writ will result in injury for which no
other adequate remedy exists. State ex rel. Jones v.
Garfield Hts. Mun. Court, 77 Ohio St.3d 447, 448 (1997).
Mr. Roberson's petition does not allege that Judge
Betleski is about to exercise judicial power, that the
exercise of that power is unauthorized by law, or that the
denial of the writ will result in injury for which no other
adequate remedy exists. Mr. Roberson has alleged that Judge
Betleski's order requiring him to pay fines and the cost
of appointed counsel is void because Judge Betleski failed to
comply with R.C. 2947.14(B). This section describes the
hearing that must be held when, pursuant to R.C. 2947.14(A),
a trial court decides to impose a sentence for a
defendant's failure to pay fines.
Mr. Roberson contends that this provision requires a hearing
to be held at sentencing to determine the defendant's
ability to pay. While that section does require a hearing, it
does not apply to the original sentencing hearing leading to
a judgment of conviction. Instead, this section applies when
a trial court sentences a defendant to incarceration for
failing to pay fines. R.C. 2947.14 "requires a hearing
prior to incarceration for nonpayment, [but] we do not
believe that the hearing must be conducted before imposing
the fine." State v. Johnson, 107 Ohio App.3d
723, 728-29 (8th Dist.1995). "[T]he hearing requirement
of R.C. 2947.14(A) does not arise until the court decides to
incarcerate an offender for failure to pay a fine."
State v. Wilton, 6th Dist. Wood No. WD-99-040, 2000
WL 331575, *3 (Mar. 31, 2000).
"[T]he purpose of a writ of prohibition is to restrain
inferior courts and tribunals from exceeding their
jurisdiction." State ex rel. Jones v. Suster,
84 Ohio St.3d 70, 73 (1998). A writ of prohibition
"tests and determines solely and only the subject matter
jurisdiction" of the lower court. State ex rel.
Eaton Corp. v. Lancaster, 40 Ohio St.3d 404, 409 (1988).
If the trial court acts when it patently and unambiguously
lacks jurisdiction, prohibition will lie to correct the
results of previous unauthorized actions. See, e.g.,
State ex rel. Richland Cty. Children Services v. Richland
Cty. Court of Common Pleas, 152 Ohio St.3d 421,
2017-Ohio-9160. Mr. Roberson has not alleged that Judge
Betleski has exceeded his jurisdiction. Instead, Mr. Roberson
has argued that Judge Betleski failed to follow a statute - a
statute that was inapplicable - at his sentencing hearing.
Mr. Roberson's petition has failed to assert any facts to
support a claim for a writ of prohibition.
Because Mr. Roberson cannot prevail on the facts he alleged,
the petition is dismissed. Costs of this action are taxed to
Relator. The clerk of courts is hereby directed to serve upon
all parties not in default notice of this judgment and its
date of entry upon the journal. See Civ.R. 58(B).