Mootispaw v. Eckstein

Decision Date21 August 1996
Docket NumberNo. 96-777,96-777
Citation667 N.E.2d 1197,76 Ohio St.3d 383
PartiesMOOTISPAW, Appellant, v. ECKSTEIN, Pros. Atty., Appellee.
CourtOhio Supreme Court

Appellant, Rusty E. Mootispaw, is an inmate currently imprisoned at Lebanon Correctional Institution. In 1981, the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas convicted Mootispaw of murder and sentenced him to fifteen years to life in prison. At that time, Mootispaw was represented by attorneys John C. Bryan and James L. Butler, and the state was represented by then-Fayette County Prosecuting Attorney, John H. Roszmann, and Assistant Prosecuting Attorney James A. Kiger.

In October 1994, Mootispaw allegedly received mail from Bryan which included a letter dated August 9, 1986 from Bryan to Kiger in which Bryan stated that Mootispaw was aware of Bryan and Kiger's "knowledge of his innocence of murder."

In August 1995, Mootispaw filed a complaint in the Court of Appeals for Fayette County for a writ of mandamus to compel appellee, Fayette County Prosecuting Attorney Steven Eckstein, to investigate the alleged fraud committed by Bryan and Kiger. Eckstein filed an answer as well as a motion for summary judgment. Attached to Eckstein's motion for summary judgment was his affidavit in which he stated that (1) he had received a letter from Mootispaw along with the alleged letter from Bryan to Kiger, (2) he had investigated the matter by conducting interviews with Roszmann, Bryan, Butler, and officers of the local bar association, and (3) upon completion of his investigation, he had concluded that Mootispaw's allegations were meritless.

Mootispaw filed a motion for summary judgment and reply to Eckstein's summary judgment motion. Mootispaw contended that Eckstein had conflicts of interest in proceeding with the investigation because (1) Butler, one of Mootispaw's trial counsel, is a law partner of the president of the local bar association that Eckstein met with to conduct investigative interviews, and (2) Eckstein represented the attorneys complained about by Mootispaw in Mootispaw's false imprisonment action. See Mootispaw v. Doe (Oct. 23, 1995), Fayette App. No. CA95-03-009, unreported, 1995 WL 617476, appeal not allowed (1996), 74 Ohio St.3d 1523, 660 N.E.2d 743.

In March 1996, the court of appeals granted Eckstein's motion for summary judgment and denied the writ. The court of appeals determined that based on Eckstein's affidavit, he had fulfilled his legal duty by investigating the matter and concluding that Mootispaw's allegations were without merit.

The cause is now before this court upon an appeal as of right.

Rusty E. Mootispaw, pro se.

Steven Eckstein, Fayette County Prosecuting Attorney, and James B. Grandey, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for appellee.


In his sole proposition of law, Mootispaw asserts that the court of appeals erred in granting Eckstein's motion for summary judgment and denying the writ because prosecutors are required to investigate fraud and collusion in criminal convictions. In order to be entitled to a writ of mandamus, Mootispaw had to establish (1) a clear legal right to the requested investigation, (2) a corresponding clear legal duty on the part of Eckstein to conduct the requested investigation, and (3) the lack of an adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. State ex rel. Manson v. Morris (1993), 66 Ohio St.3d 440, 441, 613 N.E.2d 232, 233-234. Before summary judgment may be granted, it must be determined that (1) no genuine issue as to any material fact remains to be litigated, (2) the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, and (3) it appears from the evidence that reasonable minds can come to but one conclusion, and viewing such evidence most strongly in favor of the nonmoving party, that conclusion is adverse to the party against whom the motion for summary judgment is made. Temple v. Wean United, Inc. (1977), 50 Ohio St.2d 317,...

To continue reading

Request your trial
631 cases
  • State v. McKnight
    • United States
    • Ohio Supreme Court
    • November 30, 2005
    ...the decision whether to prosecute is discretionary and not normally subject to judicial review." Mootispaw v. Eckstein (1996), 76 Ohio St.3d 383, 385, 667 N.E.2d 1197; State ex rel. Master v. Cleveland (1996), 75 Ohio St.3d 23, 27, 661 N.E.2d {¶ 48} The trial court abused its discretion by ......
  • Portage Cty. Bd. of Commrs. v. City of Akron
    • United States
    • Ohio Court of Appeals
    • March 31, 2004, that conclusion is adverse to the party against whom the motion for summary judgment is made. Mootispaw v. Eckstein (1996), 76 Ohio St.3d 383, 385, 667 N.E.2d 1197. {¶ 38} The Supreme Court stated in Dresher v. Burt (1996), 75 Ohio St.3d 280, 296, 662 N.E.2d 264, that "* * * the movi......
  • Mark-It Place Foods, Inc. v. New Plan Excel Realty Trust, Inc., 2004 Ohio 411 (Ohio App. 1/26/2004)
    • United States
    • Ohio Court of Appeals
    • January 26, 2004
    ...the mon-moving party. Zivich v. Mentor Soccer Club, Inc. (1998), 82 Ohio St.3d 367, 369-370, 696 N.E.2d 201; Mootispaw v. Eckstein (1996), 76 Ohio St.3d 383, 385, 667 N.E.2d 1197; Harless v. Willis Day Warehousing Co. (1978), 54 Ohio St.2d 64, 66, 375 N.E.2d 46. We further note that parties......
  • Doe v. Flair Corp.
    • United States
    • Ohio Court of Appeals
    • September 14, 1998
    ...nonmoving party, that conclusion is adverse to the party against whom the motion for summary judgment is made. Mootispaw v. Eckstein (1996), 76 Ohio St.3d 383, 667 N.E.2d 1197; Welco Industries, Inc. v. Applied Cos. (1993), 67 Ohio St.3d 344, 617 N.E.2d 1129; Osborne v. Lyles (1992), 63 Ohi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Faithful Execution in the Fifty States
    • United States
    • University of Georgia School of Law Georgia Law Review (FC Access) No. 57-2, 2023
    • Invalid date
    ...state is a party [except with respect to cases assigned specifically by listed statutes to another official]."); Mootispaw v. Eckstein, 667 N.E.2d 1197, 1199 (Ohio 1996) ("A prosecuting attorney will not be compelled to prosecute a complaint except when the failure to prosecute constitutes ......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT