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State v. Metz

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

August 22, 2019

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ANTHONY METZ, Defendant-Appellant.

          Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-17-618532-C

         JUDGMENT: AFFIRMED

          Michael C. O'Malley, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney, and Kevin R. Filiatraut, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for appellee.

          Mark A Stanton, Cuyahoga County Public Defender, and Cullen Sweeney, Assistant Public Defender, for appellant.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          MARY EILEEN KILBANE, ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Anthony Metz ("Metz"), appeals the trial court's denial of his motion to release his cell phone. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

         {¶ 2} In July 2017, Metz and three codefendants were charged as a result of an incident that occurred on April 6, 2017. Metz was charged with one count each of rape and kidnapping.[1] Metz's three codefendants were each charged with rape and kidnapping. Two of the codefendants were each charged with assault and one codefendant was charged with pandering obscenity.

         {¶ 3} In March 2018, the matter proceeded to a joint bench trial. At the conclusion of trial, the court found Metz and his codefendants guilty of all the charges. The trial court sentenced Metz to 10 years for rape, to be served consecutive to 5 years for kidnapping, for a total prison term of 15 years. Metz appealed his convictions and sentence.[2]

         {¶ 4} In October 2018, Metz filed a motion for the return of his cell phone, which was seized by the Cleveland Police Department during the investigation of the underlying allegations. In the motion, Metz argued that the state had no legitimate interest in retaining his cell phone because neither the cell phone nor any evidence extracted was introduced at the trial. Metz also argued that the state had already extracted all data from the cell phone.

         {¶ 5} The state opposed the motion, noting that Metz was found guilty of participating in the sexual assault of a victim and the sexual assault was recorded through the use of a cell phone. The state acknowledged that Metz's cell phone was not introduced as evidence, but argued his convictions remain pending on appeal and the cell phone was potential evidence should a new trial be required. In addition, the state argued that Metz had not articulated a compelling reason for the return of the cell phone at the present time and, given his 15-year prison sentence, will suffer no prejudice.

         {¶ 6} In November 2018, the trial court denied Metz's motion for release of his cell phone. Metz subsequently filed a motion for reconsideration arguing the retention of the cell phone violates the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Before the trial court could rule on the motion to reconsider and prior to the state filing a responsive motion, Metz filed a notice of appeal raising the following single assignment of error.

Assignment of Error
The trial court erred in denying [Metz's] motion for the return of his Apple iPhone.

         {¶ 7} In the sole assignment of error, Metz argues the trial court erred in denying his motion for the return of his cell phone. Under his assignment of error, Metz contends the trial court erred in denying his motion because the state failed to introduce the cell phone as evidence in the trial. ...


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