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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Ninth District Opinions Released on July 15, 2013

The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Appellate District released five opinions on July 15, 2013. My summaries of these decisions appear below. 

State v. Zupancic, 2013-Ohio-3072 was an appeal of Ms. Zupancic's conviction for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. She listed one assignment of error. She argued that her counsel in the Wayne County Municipal Court case was ineffective. The appellate court affirmed her conviction. 

Ms. Zupancic argued that her counsel was ineffective because he didn't file a motion to suppress, didn't adequately prepare to argue about mitigation at her sentencing hearing, and didn't effectively advise her during plea negotiations. The Court of Appeals noted in its opinion that to sustain Ms. Zupancic's assignment of error would require it to engage in speculation and to rely on evidence outside of the record. The Court also noted that usually the matters raised by Ms. Zupancic's appeal are addressed in a petition for post-conviction relief. Such relief, however, does not lie for municipal court proceedings. 

Fannie Mae v. Trahey, 2013-Ohio-3071 was an appeal from a decision of the Lorain County Common Pleas Court granting a foreclosure and judgement on a promissory note on a motion for summary judgement. Mr. Trahey opposed the motion arguing that there was a question of material fact regarding whether Fannie Mae had standing to bring the action for foreclosure. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the case back to the trial court. 

There were two assignments of error on appeal. One was that under the reasoning of Fed. Home Loan Mtge. Corp. v. Schwartzwald, 134 Ohio St.3d 13, 2012-Ohio-5017 Fannie Mae had to show that it had standing at the time that it filed the foreclosure action. The appellate court found that there was a material action of fact regarding this matter. The second assignment of error was rendered moot by the action on the first assignment and therefore wasn't addressed by the Court of Appeals. 

King v. King, 2013-Ohio-3070 was a decision affirming the Medina County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division denying a motion by Mr. King to remove a guardian ad litem. Applying an abuse of discretion standard on review the appellate court found that Mr. King had not shown that the guardian ad litem should be removed. 

State v. Hatfield, 2013-Ohio-3069 was an appeal by the from a decision of the Lorain County Common Pleas Court dismissing the charge against Ms. Hatfield. The appeal was based on two grounds. 

The first was that only a county prosecuting attorney office may establish a pre-trial diversionary program and second the way the Lorain County Common Pleas Court had structured its diversionary program violated the constitutional principle of separation of powers. 

The Court of Appeals affirmed noting that there have been other appeals filed raising similar assignments of error but the record on appeal does not contain the details of the Lorain County program. The Court of Appeals noted that without such information it could not rule on the assignments of error made by the State and therefore had to affirm the trial court's dismissal of the charge. 

State v. Edwards, 2013-Ohio-3068 was an appeal from a decision of the Lorain County Common Pleas Court finding Mr. Edwards guilty of gross sexual imposition. Mr. Edwards listed several assignments of error. They included that the verdict was against the manifest weight of the evidence, that the evidence was insufficient to show that he committed the offense, that the jury instructions were erroneous, and that the jury verdict forms didn't show the level of the offense or the presence of aggravating circumstances. The Court of Appeals overruled all the assignments of error and affirmed the conviction. 

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