State v. Craig, WD-22-001

CourtUnited States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
Writing for the CourtDUHART, J.
Citation2022 Ohio 3355
PartiesState of Ohio Appellee v. Harold Jason Craig Appellant
Docket NumberWD-22-001
Decision Date23 September 2022

2022-Ohio-3355

State of Ohio Appellee
v.

Harold Jason Craig Appellant

No. WD-22-001

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Sixth District, Wood

September 23, 2022


Trial Court No. 2018CR0437

Paul A. Dobson, Wood County Prosecuting Attorney, and David T. Harold, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for appellee.

Harold Jason Craig, Pro se.

DECISION AND JUDGMENT

DUHART, J.

{¶ 1} Appellant pro se, Harold Craig, appeals from a judgment entered by the Wood County Court of Common Pleas, denying appellant's second petition for postconviction relief. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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Statement of the Case and Facts

{¶ 2} On September 20, 2018, appellant was indicted on one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, which alleged eleven different incidents of corrupt activity; one count of aggravated theft; and four counts of money laundering, one count of which was dismissed before trial. The charges arose from a large-scale theft scheme in which appellant embezzled more than $200,000 from the Perrysburg Heights Community Association ("PHCA"), between August 1, 2012 and December 31, 2015.

{¶ 3} Following a five-day trial, that began on January 27, 2020, a jury found appellant guilty of one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, one count of aggravated theft, and three counts of money laundering. Ultimately, after the court conducted a merger analysis of the offenses, appellant was sentenced to serve seven years in prison for engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, and 36 months in prison for one count of money laundering, with the sentences ordered to be served concurrently. In addition, as reflected in the trial court's April 3, 2020 nunc pro tunc judgment entry on sentencing, appellant was ordered to pay restitution to the PHCA in the amount of $258,000.

{¶ 4} On appeal, appellant raised six assignments of error, one of which alleged that appellant was deprived of his right to effective assistance of trial counsel. Although this court rejected the majority of appellant's claims, including his claims of ineffective assistance of counsel, it did find that appellant's money laundering convictions were improper and, therefore, vacated those convictions.

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{¶ 5} Appellant filed his first motion for postconviction relief on or about June 4, 2021. The trial court dismissed that motion on November 15, 2021.

{¶ 6} Appellant filed his second motion for postconviction relief on November 24, 2021. In that motion, appellant contested the amount of restitution awarded and sought a restitution hearing pursuant to R.C. 2929.18. In addition, he argued that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance of counsel for failing to request a restitution hearing. The trial court denied appellant's motion in an order filed on December 9, 2021. It is from this order that appellant currently appeals.

Assignment of Error

{¶ 7} Appellant asserts the following assignment of error on appeal:

I. Trial court's refusal to have a restitution [hearing] is in violation of Ohio law and its constant errors in sentencing and it final judgement is also contrary to law These plain errors result in a violation of Mr. Craig's rights to his objection to restitution

Analysis

{¶ 8} Appellant's second postconviction petition concerns the denial of his request for a restitution hearing, together with a related claim that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the restitution amount that was ordered.

{¶ 9} In considering this appeal, we must begin with the question of whether appellant's petition satisfied the jurisdictional requirement for review of a successive petition under R.C. 2953.23(A). As this question involves a purely legal issue, a de novo

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standard applies to our review. See State v. Apanovitch, 155 Ohio St.3d 358, 2018-Ohio-4744, 121 N.E.3d 351, ¶ 24 (concluding that a de novo standard of review applies to the question of whether a court of common pleas possesses subject-matter jurisdiction to entertain an untimely petition for postconviction relief).

{¶ 10} The circumstances under which a petitioner may seek postconviction relief are set forth under R.C. 2953.21(A)(1)(a). A person "who has been convicted of a criminal offense * * * and who claims that there was such a denial or infringement of the person's rights as to render the judgment void or voidable under the Ohio Constitution or the Constitution of the United States"...

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