Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Montgomery
Criminal Appeal from Municipal Court Trial Court Case No. TRD
CHRISTOPHER B. EPLEY, Atty. Reg. No. 0070981, Attorney for
RUSSELL, Defendant-Appellant, Pro Se
1} Jim M. Russell appeals pro se from the municipal
court's judgment finding that he violated a municipal
traffic ordinance. We affirm.
Facts and Procedural History
2} On April 12, 2018, Russell was driving in the
City of Vandalia and was involved in a traffic accident. A
Vandalia police officer responded and found minor damage to
the vehicle, which did not meet the threshold for a formal
traffic accident report. Russell admitted to the officer that
he did not have an Ohio driver's license, and the officer
charged Russell with a violation of Vandalia Ordinance
436.01, operating a motor vehicle without an operator's
license, an unclassified misdemeanor.
3} Russell was arraigned on April 23 before a
Vandalia Municipal Court magistrate and pleaded not guilty.
He filed a motion to dismiss the charge for lack of
jurisdiction, which the magistrate overruled. A trial was
held before the magistrate the following month. Before the
trial started, Russell orally renewed his motion to dismiss
for lack of jurisdiction, which the magistrate again
overruled. The only witness was the police officer who
charged Russell. Russell did not testify and did not
cross-examine the officer. The magistrate found Russell
guilty and fined him $1, 000 with $950 suspended, plus court
4} Russell filed objections to the magistrate's
decision. He then filed a motion to dismiss for lack of
jurisdiction with the municipal court judge. On September 5,
the court overruled both the objections and the motion to
dismiss, adopted the magistrate's decision, and entered a
final judgment. A couple of weeks later, Russell filed a
motion to "arrest" the court's judgment and
dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction. The court
overruled the motion.
5} Russell appeals.
6} Russell assigns three errors to the September 5
judgment. In the first two, he contends that the municipal
court lacked jurisdiction. In the third assignment of error,
Russell contends that his arraignment was invalid.
The jurisdiction of the municipal court
7} The first and second assignments of error