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Date: 10-17-2019

Case Style:


Case Number: 19CA27

Judge: Earle E. Wise, Jr.


Plaintiff's Attorney: KRISTINE W. BEARD

Defendant's Attorney:


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On April 27, 2017, appellant was found guilty of one count of murder with a
firearm specification in violation of R.C. 2903.02 and 2941.145 and one count of having
weapons under disability in violation of R.C. 2923.13. By judgment entry filed May 5,
2017, the trial court sentenced appellant to an aggregate term of twenty-one years to life
in prison. His conviction was affirmed on appeal with a limited remand for resentencing.
State v. Whitman, 5th Dist. Stark No. 2017CA00079, 2017-Ohio-2924.1
{¶ 3} On July 24, 2018, appellant filed a motion for postconviction relief, claiming
ineffective assistance of counsel. By judgment entry filed August 21, 2018, the trial court
denied the motion, finding appellant was "just requesting a second bite of the apple," and
it did not find any trial counsel deficiency. The trial court's decision was affirmed on
appeal. State v. Whitman, 5th Dist. Stark No. 2018CA00134, 2019-Ohio-377.
{¶ 4} On August 13, 2018, the trial court resentenced appellant per this court's
remand. See Judgment Entry filed September 28, 2018.
{¶ 5} On April 15, 2019, appellant filed a petition to vacate and set aside judgment
of conviction and sentence, claiming in part recent changes to R.C. 2901.05 regarding
the defense of self-defense should be applied retroactively in his case. By judgment entry
1The opinion contains a very lengthy and thorough account of the facts. We hereby incorporate the facts by reference.
Stark County, Case No. 2019CA00094 3
filed June 6, 2019, the trial court denied the petition, finding the petition was untimely, did
not comply with the requirements for an untimely filing, and was barred by the doctrine of
res judicata.
{¶ 6} Appellant filed an appeal and this matter is now before this court for
consideration. Appellant has failed to set forth an assignment of error, however we glean
the following from his brief:2
{¶ 8} In his sole assignment of error, appellant claims the trial court erred in
denying his petition to vacate and set aside judgment of conviction and sentence. We
{¶ 9} As determined by the trial court, appellant's April 15, 2019 petition was
clearly untimely pursuant to R.C. 2953.21(A)(2). Based upon appellant's past filings, the
subject petition was a successive petition for postconviction relief. R.C. 2953.23 governs
second or successive petitions for postconviction relief and states the following:

(A) Whether a hearing is or is not held on a petition filed pursuant to
section 2953.21 of the Revised Code, a court may not entertain a petition
filed after the expiration of the period prescribed in division (A) of that
2The assignments of error listed in appellant's reply brief are not properly before this court. App.R. 16.
Stark County, Case No. 2019CA00094 4
section or a second petition or successive petitions for similar relief on
behalf of a petitioner unless division (A)(1) or (2) of this section applies:
(1) Both of the following apply:
(a) Either the petitioner shows that the petitioner was unavoidably
prevented from discovery of the facts upon which the petitioner must rely to
present the claim for relief, or, subsequent to the period prescribed in
division (A)(2) of section 2953.21 of the Revised Code or to the filing of an
earlier petition, the United States Supreme Court recognized a new federal
or state right that applies retroactively to persons in the petitioner's situation,
and the petition asserts a claim based on that right.
(b) The petitioner shows by clear and convincing evidence that, but
for constitutional error at trial, no reasonable factfinder would have found
the petitioner guilty of the offense of which the petitioner was convicted or,
if the claim challenges a sentence of death that, but for constitutional error
at the sentencing hearing, no reasonable factfinder would have found the
petitioner eligible for the death sentence.3

{¶ 10} In reviewing appellant's April 15, 2019 filing, we find appellant did not satisfy
the requirements of R.C. 2953.23.
{¶ 11} Changes to R.C. 2901.05, effective March 28, 2019, do not apply
retroactively to appellant's case. See R.C. 1.48 ("A statute is presumed to be prospective
in its operation unless expressly made retrospective"); State v. Krug, 11th Dist. Lake No.
3Subsection (A)(2) does not apply in this case.
Stark County, Case No. 2019CA00094 5
2018-L-056, 2019-Ohio-926, ¶ 24 (simply because the General Assembly amended R.C.
2901.05 to shift the burden of proof going forward with evidence of an affirmative defense
of self-defense, "it does not equate to finding the former statute unconstitutional"). The
statute as amended does not provide for retroactive application.
{¶ 12} Any other arguments raised by appellant in his petition are barred under the
doctrine of res judicata. As stated by the Supreme Court of Ohio in State v. Perry, 10
Ohio St.2d 175 (1967), paragraphs eight and nine of the syllabus, the doctrine of res
judicata is applicable to petitions for postconviction relief. The Perry court explained the
doctrine at 180-181 as follows:

Under the doctrine of res judicata, a final judgment of conviction bars
a convicted defendant who was represented by counsel from raising and
litigating in any proceeding except an appeal from that judgment, any
defense or any claimed lack of due process that was raised or could have
been raised by the defendant at trial, which resulted in that judgment of
conviction, or on an appeal from that judgment.

{¶ 13} The issues raised by appellant in his petition could have been raised on
direct appeal and/or were raised in his previous appeals.

Outcome: Upon review, we find the trial court did not err in denying appellant's petition
for postconviction relief.

The sole assignment of error is denied.

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