Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Mahoning
RONALD G. JOHNSON, Petitioner,
CHRISTOPHER LAROSE, WARDEN, Respondent.
G. Johnson (PRO SE) for Petitioner
Christopher LaRose, Warden, and Atty. Dave Yost, Ohio
Attorney General, Atty. Stephanie L. Watson, Principal
Assistant Attorney General, for Respondent.
BEFORE: Gene Donofrio, Cheryl L. Waite, Carol Ann Robb,
OPINION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY
Ronald G. Johnson, proceeding on his own behalf, has filed a
complaint for a writ of habeas corpus claiming he has served
"duplicate terms" entitling him to immediate
release from prison. He is incarcerated at the Northeast Ohio
Correctional Center (NEOCC), operated by Core Civic, located
at 2240 Hubbard Road in Youngstown, Mahoning County, Ohio.
Petitioner's complaint names NEOCC's warden,
Christopher LaRose, as Respondent Respondent has filed a
motion to dismiss Petitioner's complaint for a writ of
habeas corpus and a motion asking this Court to declare
Petitioner a vexatious litigator.
While on parole for a conviction in Montgomery County
(voluntary manslaughter with a firearm specification),
Johnson was arrested and later convicted of a litany of
offenses spanning across numerous counties - Fayette
(receiving stolen property, failure to comply, and
obstructing official business), Adams (burglary), Madison
(illegal conveyance of drugs) and Highland (aggravated
robbery, burglary, and theft).
Petitioner seeks an order granting his immediate release,
arguing that the Bureau of Sentence Computation (BOSC)
improperly calculated his sentence and "imposed
duplicate terms." He further contends that in so
miscalculating, BOSC violated his right to be free from
double jeopardy and his right to equal protection and due
process. Petitioner reasons that had the improper calculation
not occurred, he would have been entitled to be released from
prison no later than June 14, 2018. To his handwritten
petition, petitioner attached the following: a handwritten
memorandum of support; a handwritten list of prior civil
actions; a printed copy of an email from ODRC dated December
15, 2015; a printout of what appears to be an online
statement, possibly from ODRC but not conclusively so,
containing his personal information as well as his offenses
and term of incarceration; and several handwritten pages of
how petitioner understands his sentencing.
In his January 15, 2019 combined motion to dismiss and motion
to declare Petitioner a vexatious litigator, Respondent
argues the writ should be denied and Petitioner's case
dismissed because 1) Petitioner's petition fails to
comport with R.C. 2969.24(A)(2) and (B); 2) Petitioner failed
to attach commitment papers required by R.C. 2725.04; 3)
Petitioner is attempting to re-litigate issues already
decided with this action; 4) Petitioner failed to comply with
R.C. 2969.25; and finally, 5) Petitioner's maximum
sentence has not expired. Further, in the aforementioned
combined motion, Respondent requests that Petitioner be
declared a vexatious litigator pursuant to R.C. 2323.52.
Habeas corpus is only available in extraordinary
circumstances where there is no adequate alternative legal
remedy. Kemp v. Ishee, 7th Dist. Mahoning No.
03-MA-182, 2004-Ohio-390, ¶ 4, citing State ex rel.
Jackson v. McFaul, 72 Ohio St.3d 185, 186, 652 N.E.2d
746 (1995). Habeas corpus is not available when the issue
could have been raised on direct appeal. Ishee, 7th
Dist. Mahoning No. 03-MA-182 at ¶ 4, citing Luna v.
Russell, 70 Ohio St.3d 561, 639 N.E.2d 1168 (1994).
Further, "where a Petitioner possessed the adequate
legal remedies of appeal and post-conviction to challenge his
sentencing, a petition for habeas corpus may properly be
dismissed." Womack v. Warden of Belmont Correctional
Inst, 7th Dist. Belmont No. 04 BE 58, 2005-Ohio-1344,
¶ 5, citing State ex rel. Massie v. Rogers, 77
Ohio St.3d 449, 450, 674 N.E.2d 1383 (1997). In turn, a
petitioner "may not use habeas corpus to obtain
successive appellate reviews of the same issue."
Wells v. Hudson, 113 Ohio St.3d 308, 2007-Ohio-1955,
865 N.E.2d 46, ¶ 7, citing State ex rel. Rash v.
Jackson, 102 Ohio St.3d 145, 2004-Ohio-2053, 807 N.E.2d
Additionally, in an action seeking to secure release from
wrongful incarceration, "the burden of proof is on the
petitioner to establish his right to release," and
"unsupported and uncorroborated statements of the
petitioner, standing alone, are not sufficient to overcome
the presumption of regularity of the court's
judgment." Yarbrough v. Maxwell, 174 Ohio St.
287, 288, 189 N.E.2d 136 (1963). The petitioner must show
that his detention is unlawful, and is therefore entitled to
immediate release. Halleck v. Koloski, 4 Ohio St. 2d
76, 212 N.E.2d 601 (1965). Further, as an inmate, a
petitioner is required to comport with the procedural rules
in R.C. 2969.25 and R.C. 2725.04 regarding habeas filings.
And failure to satisfy these statutory requirements is
generally fatal to the petition.
One of the requirements is that the petitioner must file all
the commitment papers pertinent to the arguments being raised
in the petition. R.C. 2725.04(D). The commitment papers are
necessary for a complete understanding of the petition.
Bloss v. Rogers, 65 Ohio St.3d 145, 146, 602 N.E.2d
602 (1992). Petitioner has not filed any commitment papers
regarding his sentences or terms of imprisonment. Failure to
attach copies of the commitment papers as part of the
original filing of the petition for habeas corpus requires
dismissal of the petition. Id.
Similarly, the petition has not been verified as required by
R.C. 2725.04 ("Application for the writ of habeas corpus
shall be by petition, signed and verified * * *."). In
this context, "verification" means a "formal
declaration made in the presence of an authorized officer,
such as a notary public, by which one swears to the truth of
the statements in the document." Chari v. Vore,
91 Ohio St.3d 323, 327, 744 N.E.2d 763 (2001). Failure to
verify the petition warrants immediate dismissal.
Id. Petitioner has included an "Affidavit of
Support" akin to an affidavit of verity, but it is not
notarized, and as such is devoid of any legal import and
fails to satisfy R.C. 2725.04's verification requirement.
In addition, Petitioner has failed to provide a compliant
description of prior civil actions. According to R.C.
2969.25, Petitioner was required to file with his petition a
list of all ...