Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common
Pleas Case No. CR-17-618532-C
Michael C. O'Malley, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting
Attorney, and Kevin R. Filiatraut, Assistant Prosecuting
Attorney, for appellee.
Stanton, Cuyahoga County Public Defender, and Cullen Sweeney,
Assistant Public Defender, for appellant.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
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. 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
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.