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In re Minor Settlement for Fischer

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Morgan

November 18, 2019

IN THE MATTER OF: MINOR SETTLEMENT FOR TRAVIS FISCHER

          Civil Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas, Probate Division, Case No. 09PMS0059

         JUDGMENT: Affirmed

          For Appellee CINDY M. O'NEIL ASSISTANT PROSECUTOR

          For Appellant TRAVIS FISCHER, PRO SE LEBANON CORR. INSTITUTION

          JUDGES: Hon. John W. Wise, P. J., Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, J., Hon. Craig R. Baldwin, J.

          OPINION

          WISE, P. J.

         {¶1} Appellant Travis Fischer appeals the decision of the Morgan County Court of Common Pleas, Probate Division, which denied his motion to vacate a 2010 judgment entry directing certain settlement funds to be applied to outstanding court costs and other fees in three other cases. Appellee is the State of Ohio. The relevant procedural facts leading to this appeal are as follows.

         {¶2} In April 2008, appellant, a minor at the time, was injured as a passenger in an automobile accident. Appellant's attorney for his subsequent personal injury claim filed an application to settle a minor's claim (R.C. 2111.05 and 2111.18) in the Morgan County Probate Court on June 12, 2009. According to said application and other probate court documents, Progressive Insurance Corporation made a settlement offer of $12, 500.00. On June 29, 2009, the probate court issued an "entry approving settlement," ordering inter alia the net amount of $4, 102.86 to be deposited in the name of appellant.

         {¶3} In July 2009, the Morgan County Grand Jury indicted appellant (common pleas case number 09CR0032) on three counts of aggravated murder, one count of rape, one count of aggravated robbery, and several other counts. On November 4, 2009, appellant entered pleas of guilty to aggravated murder, rape, aggravated burglary, grand theft (motor vehicle), and arson. On the same day, he was sentenced inter alia to thirty years to life in prison.

         {¶4} On March 16, 2010, the Morgan County Probate Court (case number 09PMS0059) issued a judgment entry further addressing the aforementioned settlement funds. The court first found that the First National Bank of McConnelsville was holding the sum of $4, 115.11 in a savings account in appellant's name, which were due to be released to him upon the age of majority.[1] The court then found that appellant owed outstanding court costs and/or indigent attorney fees in three other cases, including 09CR0032, supra. It further ordered as follows:

Therefore, the court hereby orders and directs that the First National Bank of McConnelsville, Ohio release Savings Account No. xxxxxx in the amount of $4, 115.11 plus accrued interest, and that said account shall be disbursed in two separate checks, one being payable to the Morgan County Juvenile Court in the amount of $1, 012.71 in payment of costs and attorney fees in Case No. 09JB0028 and 09JA0080, and the second, in the amount of the remaining balance to the Clerk of Courts of the Common Pleas Court of Morgan County as a payment on costs due and owing in Case No. 09CR0032. The Clerk of Courts of the Common Pleas Court is directed to apply said sum first to court costs, secondly, to court fines, and the remaining balance to be applied to incarceration fees.

         {¶5} "Journal Entry," March 16, 2010, at 1.

         {¶6} On March 25, 2019, more than nine years later, appellant filed a pro se motion to vacate the aforesaid judgment entry ordering disbursement of funds.

         {¶7} The probate court issued a judgment entry on May 8, 2019, finding the "matter [had] been previously decided" and ...


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