Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State ex rel. Heston v. Judges of Court of Common Pleas of Richland County Ohio

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Richland

December 20, 2019

STATE EX REL., CHADREN HESTON Relator
v.
JUDGES OF THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF RICHLAND COUNTY OHIO Respondent

          Writ of Mandamus

          For Petitioner: Chadren Heston #A570-290 Marion Correctional Institution

          For Respondent: Joseph C. Snyder Assistant Prosecutor Richland County Prosecutor's Office

          JUDGES: Hon. William B. Hoffman, P.J. Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, J. Hon. Earle E. Wise, Jr., J.

          OPINION

          Delaney, J.

         {¶1} On October 25, 2019, Chadren Heston filed a petition for writ of mandamus to compel the "Judges of the Court of Common Pleas of Richland County, Ohio" to resentence him or vacate his sentence. Mr. Heston bases his request on the cases of State v. Bonnell, 140 Ohio St.3d 209, 2014-Ohio-3177, 16 N.E.3d 659 and State v. Comer, 99 Ohio St.3d 463, 2003-Ohio-4165, 793 N.E.2d 473.[1] Mr. Heston maintains the trial court must apply these cases to his case under the law of the case doctrine.

         {¶2} For a writ of mandamus to issue, the relator must have a clear legal right to the relief prayed for, the respondent must be under a clear legal duty to perform the requested act, and relator must have no plain and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of the law. (Citations omitted.) State ex rel. Berger v. McMonagle, 6 Ohio St.3d 28, 29, 451 N.E.2d 225 (1983). The Richland County Prosecutor moved to dismiss Mr. Heston's writ under Civ.R. 12(B)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

         {¶3} "A court can dismiss a mandamus action under Civ.R. 12(B)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted 'if, after all factual allegations of the complaint are presumed true and all reasonable inferences are made in the relator's favor, it appears beyond doubt that he can prove no set of facts entitling him to the requested writ of mandamus.'" State ex rel. Sands v. Culotta, 2019-Ohio-3784, ¶2, citing State ex rel. Russell v. Thornton, 111 Ohio St.3d 409, 2006-Ohio-5858, 856 N.E.2d 966, ¶ 9.

         {¶4} Upon review of the pleadings filed in this matter, the Court grants the motion to dismiss for the following reasons. First, Mr. Heston's writ raises an alleged sentencing error arguing the trial court must comply with the Ohio Supreme Court's decision in State v. Bonnell before imposing consecutive sentences. In Bonnell, the Court explained that, "[i]n order to impose consecutive terms of imprisonment, a trial court is required to make the findings mandated by R.C. 2929.14(C)(4) at the sentencing hearing and incorporate its findings into its sentencing entry, but it has no obligation to state reasons to support its findings." Bonnell, 2014-Ohio-3177 at ¶37, 16 N.E.3d 659.

         {¶5} Mr. Heston's writ of mandamus is not the proper mechanism to correct alleged sentencing errors. The law is well-established that sentencing errors may not be remedied through an extraordinary writ because the defendant usually has or had "an adequate remedy at law available by way of direct appeal." State ex rel. Ridenour v. O'Connell, 147 Ohio St.3d 351, 2016-Ohio-7368, 65 N.E.3d 742, ¶3. Mr. Heston's consecutive-sentence argument falls under this general rule. Mr. Heston could have appealed the resentencing Entry entered on August 11, 2010 by way of a direct appeal. However, there is no indication that he did so. Mandamus will not lie as a substitute for an appeal he failed to pursue.

         {¶6} As a second independent ground supporting the dismissal of Mr. Heston's writ of mandamus, we note Mr. Heston identified the Respondent in this original action as "Judges of the Court of Common Pleas of Richland County, Ohio[.]" By naming all of the judges of the Richland County Court of Common Pleas, Mr. Heston has not properly invoked the Court's jurisdiction by proper service on the trial court or judge. As the prosecutor points out in his motion to dismiss, there are five judges in the Richland County Common Pleas Court, which encompasses the juvenile, probate, domestic relations, and general divisions of the court. However, only the trial court judge assigned to Mr. Heston's criminal matter would have the legal authority to schedule a new sentencing hearing. "As a general proposition, an action in mandamus must be brought against the public official who has the legal obligation to perform the non-discretionary act in question." (Citation omitted.) State v. Scranton, 11th Dist. Portage No. 2005-P-0020, 2005-Ohio-2886, ¶5. Further, a writ of mandamus will issue only when the relator can establish the respondent has a clear legal duty to perform the requested act. State ex rel. Manson v. Morris, 66 Ohio St.3d 440, 441, 613 N.E.2d 232 (1993). Since the "Judges of the Court of Common Pleas of Richland County, Ohio" are not collectively capable of resentencing Mr. Heston, he cannot satisfy the "clear legal duty" requirement necessary for a writ of mandamus to issue. See Mallon v. State, 11th Dist. Trumbull No. 2008-T-0079, 2008-Ohio-5320, ¶7.

         {¶7} For these reasons, the prosecutor's motion to dismiss is granted. The clerk of courts is hereby directed to serve upon all parties not in default notice of this judgment and its date of entry upon the journal. See Civ.R. 58(B).

         MOTION GRANTED.

         CAUSE ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.