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State ex rel. Neguse v. Crawford

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

December 3, 2019

The State ex rel. Mekria Neguse, Relator,
v.
Judge Dale A. Crawford, Respondent.

         IN PROHIBITION ON RESPONDENT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

          Mekria Neguse, pro se.

          Ron O'Brien, Prosecuting Attorney, and Benjamin D. Humphrey, for respondent.

          DECISION

          NELSON, J.

         {¶ 1} "Mekria Neguse," whose name seems to appear on various other court documents as "Mekuria Neguse" and "Mekuira Neguse," filed with this court a "Complaint for Writ of Prohibition" relating to a trial court Nunc Pro Tunc Entry from February 3, 1995 that had denied Mr. Neguse's petition for postconviction relief. That entry, as attached by Mr. Neguse to his complaint here, recited that "[a]fter hearing testimony of witnesses and arguments from the plaintiff and defendant, the Court finds the defendant's claim of ineffective assistance of counsel is without merit."

         {¶ 2} Pursuant to Local Rule 13(M)(1) of the Tenth District Court of Appeals and Civil Rule 53, the matter was referred to a magistrate of this court. In the fullness of time, respondent Judge Stephen McIntosh of the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, as the successor to named respondent Judge Dale Crawford, filed a motion to dismiss the complaint as not compliant with the requirements of R.C. 2969.25 and as barred by res judicata. On January 29, 2019, the magistrate issued a decision recommending that "this court should grant respondent's motion and dismiss relator's complaint." App'x at ¶ 25. Having recited Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, the magistrate observed that Mr. Neguse "continues to challenge the court's disposition of his June 29, 1994 motion [for postconviction relief]. The magistrate finds this question has been raised and answered by both the trial court and this court, and relator is not entitled to a writ of prohibition challenging the trial court's determination." Id. at ¶ 24.

         {¶ 3} With Mr. Neguse not having timely filed any objections to the magistrate's decision, the matter was submitted to this panel on October 8, 2019. Under Civil Rule 53(D)(4)(c), "[i]f no timely objections are filed, the court may adopt a magistrate's decision, unless it determines that there is an error of law or other defect evident on the face of the magistrate's decision."

         {¶ 4} We have reviewed the decision in the context of the record of this case and find no such error of law or other evident defect. Nonetheless, a brief recap may be appropriate.

         {¶ 5} This matter does not appear to relate directly to the murder for which Mr. Neguse was convicted in 1990. See App'x at ¶ 12; see also State v. Neguse, 71 Ohio App.3d 596 (10th Dist.1991). Rather, it relates to his 1989 conviction by plea for drug abuse and assault. See App'x at ¶ 19; State ex rel. Neguse v. Franklin Cty. Court of Common Pleas ("SER Neguse"), 10th Dist. No. 17AP-755, 2019-Ohio-564, ¶ 3.

         {¶ 6} Earlier this year, this court dismissed Mr. Neguse's request for a writ of mandamus seeking "written Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, and Post-Conviction Transcript of Proceeding of Evidentiary Hearing relative to the dismissal of his Petition for Relief after Judgment filed in Respondent's Court rendered on June 29, 1994." SER Neguse, 2019-Ohio-564, at ¶ 5. That decision quoted from another Neguse matter, reciting that "[a] hearing on the postconviction motion was held June 29, 1984, and the trial court overruled [relator's] motion. [Relator] appealed the denial of his postconviction motion, and on April 12, 1995, this court sua sponte dismissed the appeal [as untimely]. * * * On September 7, 1999, [relator] filed a motion for delayed appeal regarding the trial court's denial of his 1993 postconviction motion. This court denied the motion in December 1999. On January 5, 2000, [relator] again filed a notice of appeal of the trial court's denial of his postconviction relief. This court sua sponte dismissed the appeal" as untimely. Id. at ¶ 11, quoting State v. Neguse, 10th Dist. No. 17AP-449, 2018-Ohio-1163, ¶ 10, 12.

         {¶ 7} We observed that "for nearly 30 years" and in a variety of fashions, Mr. Neguse has challenged his 1989 drug abuse and assault convictions on the ground that the trial court there lacked jurisdiction because he had been a juvenile; that "relator had the opportunity to file an appeal of this court's decision" denying a motion on those grounds as contrary to the evidence, and that he had not done so; and that "this question has been raised and answered by both the trial court and this court and relator is not entitled to a writ of mandamus ordering the trial court to provide him with additional findings of fact and conclusions of law." SER Neguse, 2019-Ohio-564, at ¶ 23 (adding that Mr. Neguse had not shown that he was entitled to a second copy of the trial court hearing transcript at state expense). Mr. Neguse did not appeal from this earlier 2019 decision, either.

         {¶ 8} In this latest action, Mr. Neguse again seeks a writ, now characterized as a "Writ of Prohibition," to compel the trial court "to make findings of fact and conclusions of law * * *." Complaint at Prayer for Relief. (He does attach an "Affidavit of Prior Civil Actions" that refers to his 2017 mandamus attempt but neglects to provide information relating, for example, to appeal efforts in 17AP-449, 17AP-450, and 17AP-755, or a Supreme Court appeal designated as case number 2018-0714, omissions that would constitute grounds for dismissal pursuant to R.C. 2969.25(A)(2). Compare State ex rel. McCree v. Ohio Adult Parole Auth., 10th Dist. No. 03AP-802, 2004-Ohio-4860, (citations omitted)). A writ of prohibition is designed to stop an unauthorized exercise of judicial or quasi-judicial power that is about to occur. See, e.g., State ex rel. Polo v. Cuyahoga Cty. Bd. of Elections, 74 Ohio St.3d 143, 144-45 (1995); State ex rel. Roush v. Montgomery, 10th Dist. No. 17AP-791, 2018-Ohio-2098, ¶ 4, citing State ex rel. Jones v. Suster, 84 Ohio St.3d 70, 73 (1998). It is not designed to provide another avenue for pursuing a writ of mandamus that has already been turned away. Mr. Neguse has not made out the elements required for a writ of prohibition. The magistrate's decision is correct in noting here, too, that Mr. Neguse's challenge "has been raised and answered by both the trial court and this court," and that he "is not entitled to a writ of prohibition challenging the trial court's determination." App'x at ¶ 24.

         {¶ 9} With no timely objection to the magistrate's decision having been filed, and because no error of law or other defect is evident on its face, we adopt the findings of fact and conclusions of law of that decision. Respondent's motion to dismiss is ...


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