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State v. Papotto

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Summit

December 31, 2019

STATE OF OHIO Appellee
v.
ROBERT M. PAPOTTO Appellant

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE STOW MUNICIPAL COURT COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. 18 CRB 0426

          ROBERT M. PAPOTTO, pro se, Appellant.

          BRADRIC T. BRYAN, Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          JULIE A. SCHAFER, JUDGE.

         {¶1} Defendant-Appellant, Robert Papotto, appeals from his conviction in the Stow Municipal Court. This Court affirms.

         I.

         {¶2} One afternoon, the police responded to a report of a fistfight between two men at a casino in Northfield. Papotto was one of the men involved in the fight and the other was W.K. When officers spoke with the men, they each identified the other as the initial aggressor. The officers, therefore, reviewed the casino's security footage at the scene. Based on their review of the footage, the officers determined that Papotto was the aggressor.

         {¶3} Papotto was charged with one count of assault in violation of Northfield Village Codified Ordinance 636.02. He was appointed counsel and demanded a jury trial. On the day of trial, however, the State amended his charge to disorderly conduct in violation of R.C. 2917.11(A)(1). Because the amended charge was a minor misdemeanor, the trial court dismissed the jury and held a bench trial. At the conclusion of trial, the court found Papotto guilty and sentenced him to a fine. The court later granted his motion to stay the execution of his sentence for purposes of his appeal.

         {¶4} Papotto now appeals from his conviction and raises two assignments of error for our review.

         II.

         Assignment of Error I

         The trial court erred by being extremely prejudicial when she convicted Appellant of disorderly conduct. This conviction was unjust and decided by a judge who was hostile, aggressive and "in a hurry" in direct violation of his constitutional rights and the Ohio Codes of Judicial Conduct.

         {¶5} In his first assignment of error, Papotto argues that he was prejudiced as a result of "unwarranted and egregious conduct" on the part of the trial judge. He asserts that he was denied a fair trial because the trial judge acted in a hostile and biased manner. For the following reasons, we reject his argument.

         {¶6} The issue of whether a conviction must be vacated due to bias or prejudice on the part of a trial judge is one that lies exclusively within the jurisdiction of the Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court. See State v. Polke, 9th Dist. Medina No. 18CA0061-M, 2019-Ohio-904, ¶ 7; R.C. 2701.031. This Court lacks authority "to void a trial court's judgment on the basis of personal bias or prejudice on the part of the trial judge * * *." State v. Hunter, 151 Ohio App.3d 276, 2002-Ohio-7326, ¶ 18 (9th Dist.), citing Beer v. Griffith, 54 Ohio St.2d 440, 441-442 (1978). Nevertheless, we may determine whether conduct on the part of a trial judge denied a criminal defendant due process of law. See, e.g., State v. Powell, 9th Dist. Lorain No. 12CA010284, 2017-Ohio-4030, ΒΆ 8-13. "A judge is presumed to follow ...


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