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Date: 11-19-2020

Case Style:

STATE OF OHIO v. DEVON J. COHEN

Case Number: 28660

Judge: Michael L. Tucker

Court: IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF OHIO SECOND APPELLATE DISTRICT MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Plaintiff's Attorney: STEPHANIE L. COOK and ANDREW D. SEXTON, Dayton City Prosecutor’s Office

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Description:

Dayton, OH - Criminal defense lawyer represented defendant Devon J. Cohen with appealing from a misdemeanor assault conviction.




{¶ 2} A criminal complaint was filed against Cohen charging that he assaulted
Randall Sizemore in violation of R.C. 2903.13(A). On the day of the scheduled bench
trial, Cohen orally requested a jury trial. The trial court denied this request, and the
bench trial proceeded as scheduled. The trial court found Cohen guilty of the charged
assault.
{¶ 3} The trial court sentenced Cohen to a 180-day jail term with 41 days
suspended, and he was given credit for 14 days already served. The trial court did not
impose a fine or court costs. This appeal followed. Cohen has served the remaining
126-day jail sentence; he did not request a stay of the jail sentence.
Analysis
{¶ 4} “The role of courts is to decide adversarial legal cases and to issue
judgments that can be carried into effect.” Cyran v. Cyran, 152 Ohio St.3d 484, 2018-
Ohio-24, 97 N.E.3d 487, ¶ 9, citing Fortner v. Thomas, 22 Ohio St.2d 13, 14, 257 N.E.2d
371 (1970). “Under the mootness doctrine, American courts will not decide cases in
which there is no longer an actual legal controversy between the parties.” Id., citing In
re A.G., 139 Ohio St.3d 572, 2014-Ohio-2597, 13 N.E.3d 1146, ¶ 37. “Thus, when
parties ‘lack a legally cognizable interest in the outcome,’ a case becomes moot.” Id.,
quoting Powell v. McCormack, 395 U.S. 486, 496, 89 S.Ct. 1944, 23 L.Ed.2d 491 (1969).
{¶ 5} When a defendant convicted of a misdemeanor offense voluntarily satisfies
the imposed judgment, an appeal of the conviction is moot unless the judgment was
-3-
served involuntarily or the “defendant * * * offer[s] evidence from which an inference can
be drawn that * * * he will suffer some collateral legal disability or loss of civil rights
stemming from [the] conviction.” State v. Golston, 71 Ohio St.3d 224, 226, 643 N.E.2d
109 (1994). See also City of Dayton v. Elifritz, 2d Dist. Montgomery No. 19604, 2004-
Ohio-455, ¶ 4. A sentence is not served voluntarily if a stay is requested but denied.
City of Cleveland Hts. v. Lewis, 129 Ohio St.3d 389, 2011-Ohio-2673, 953 N.E.2d 278,
¶ 23.
{¶ 6} “[A] collateral legal disability implies a separate and distinct consequence
from the original criminal prosecution, that is, there must be some other effect, adverse
to the defendant beyond expected punishment for his current offense.” State v. McCarty,
2d Dist. Montgomery No. 20581, 2005-Ohio-4031, ¶ 4, citing City of North Royalton v.
Baker, 65 Ohio App.3d 644, 584 N.E.2d 1308 (8th Dist.1989). A collateral disability
exists when an offender “may be subject to further penalties or disabilities under state or
federal law even after a judgment has been satisfied.” In re S.J.K., 114 Ohio St.3d 23,
2007-Ohio-2621, 867 N.E.2d 408, ¶ 10. A collateral disability “need not have an
immediate impact or impairment but may be something that occurs in the future.” Id. at
¶ 14.
{¶ 7} As noted, Cohen did not request a stay of the now-completed jail sentence;
thus, he served the sentence voluntarily. Moreover, Cohen does not suggest, and we
cannot discern, any collateral disability resulting from the assault conviction. Since
Cohen voluntarily satisfied the trial court’s judgment and the judgment has not triggered
a collateral disability, the appeal is moot and must be dismissed.

Outcome: For the stated reasons, Cohen’s appeal is dismissed as moot.

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