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State v. Hill

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Summit

December 26, 2019

STATE OF OHIO Appellee
v.
JOSHUA D. HILL Appellant

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CR-2018-08-2660-A

          ALAN MEDVICK, ATTORNEY AT LAW, FOR APPELLANT.

          SHERRI BEVAN WALSH, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY, AND HEAVEN DIMARTINO GUEST, ASSISTANT PROSECUTING ATTORNEY, FOR APPELLEE.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          DONNA J. CARR JUDGE.

         {¶1} Defendant-Appellant Joshua Hill appeals from the judgment of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas. This Court affirms.

         I.

         {¶2} Hill was arrested on August 2, 2018 and remained in jail until he entered a plea of no contest on January 29, 2019. An indictment was filed August 22, 2018, charging Hill with one count of aggravated robbery, along with an accompanying firearm specification, one count of felonious assault, along with an accompanying firearm specification, and two counts of having weapons while under disability. All of the charges were felonies. The record reflects that multiple pretrials were continued at the request of Hill encompassing the period from September 10, 2018 through November 14, 2018. In addition, Hill made two separate discovery requests; one in early September which Hill's counsel received by the end of September, and one at the end of October. It is unclear from the record when the State responded to the October request for discovery, but it is clear that as of November 14, 2018, Hill's counsel had yet to receive the additional discovery that was requested.

         {¶3} On December 27, 2018, despite being represented by counsel, Hill filed a pro se motion to dismiss based upon an alleged violation of his right to a speedy trial. At a pretrial on January 14, 2019, Hill's counsel moved to strike Hill's pro se motion. Hill's counsel asserted that she would be filing her own motion to dismiss. On January 18, 2019, Hill's counsel filed a motion to dismiss based upon speedy trial and a renewed motion to strike Hill's pro se filing. Hill's counsel argued that Hill's pro se motion could not be considered by the trial court as he filed it while he was represented by counsel. Hill's counsel also maintained that Hill's pro se motion could not toll the speedy trial clock and requested that the trial court strike it from the record.

         {¶4} The trial court held a hearing on the pending motions on January 22, 2019. At the hearing, the parties agreed that, at the time Hill filed his pro se motion to dismiss, the speedy-trial time had not expired. Thus, Hill's counsel argued that it was appropriate for her to seek to strike Hill's pro se motion as, not only was it improper, it was also without merit. Thereafter, the debate centered on whether the filing of Hill's pro se motion was a tolling event for purposes of calculating speedy trial. Both sides appeared to agree that, if it was a tolling event, Hill's speedy trial rights would not be violated. On January 28, 2019, the trial court issued an entry stating: "On January 28, 2019, this matter comes before the Court on both the Defendant's pro se Motion to Dismiss and Defense Counsel's Motion to Dismiss Based On Speedy Trial Rights. Said motions were heard in a hearing held on January 22, 2019 and taken under advisement. Upon due consideration, the Court finds said Motions not well-taken and are hereby denied." (Emphasis omitted.)

         {¶5} Hill then entered a plea of no contest to amended charges and was sentenced thereafter. Hill has appealed, raising a single assignment of error for our review.

         II.

ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR I
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN REFUSING TO DISMISS THIS MATTER BASED UPON THE FAILURE TO BRING THE CASE TO TRIAL WITHIN THE TIME PERIOD PRESCRIBED BY R.C. []2945.71.

         {¶6} Hill argues in his sole assignment of error that the trial court erred in failing to grant his counsel's motion to dismiss. In so doing, Hill contends that his pro se motion to dismiss did not constitute a tolling event. Further, he asserts that, because it was not a tolling event, when Hill's counsel filed her own motion to dismiss, ...


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