Court Grants Reconsideration in State v. Van Williams; Changes Only Remand Instruction.

With so many cases released at the end of 2012 (namely, all submitted cases, to make way for the new complement of justices) more than the usual number of reconsideration requests was probably inevitable.  The Court granted one in State v. Williams, 2102-Ohio-5695, but changed only the remand instruction in the case.

In its opinion in Williams, the Court held that the use of other acts evidence was proper in this multi-count sex offense case involving a minor. In reaching this conclusion, the Supreme Court reversed the en banc decision of the Eighth District Court of Appeals, and re-instated the judgment of the trial court. Read the complete analysis of the merit decision here.

Williams moved for reconsideration. He did not challenge the Court’s substantive decision on the use of other acts evidence; rather, his arguments were procedural. He argued that when the Court of Appeals had reversed and remanded his case for a new trial because of the improper (to the appeals court) use of other acts evidence, it declared four of his other assignments of error moot as a result of the reversal. Williams argued that because of the Supreme Court reversal of the Court of Appeals’ decision on the assignment of error that the Court of Appeals had addressed on the merits, his remaining assignments of error were no longer moot. Thus, Williams moved the Supreme Court to send the case back to the Court of Appeals to consider the rest of his assignments of error instead of reinstating the judgment of the trial court.  Williams argued that this was necessary to comport with his constitutional right to a direct appeal, as well as a full review of any assignments of error not rendered moot pursuant to App.R. 12(A)(1)(c).

The state did not object to the remand for this purpose.

The Supreme Court granted the motion for reconsideration on December 31, 2012, and remanded the case to the Eighth District Court of Appeals for consideration of Williams’ remaining assignments of error.

These are the assignments of error yet to be decided:

  • Appellant was denied his federal and state due process rights to notice because he was  tried for offenses not contained in the indictment and the indictment did not    charge him with sufficient specificity.
  • The verdict was against the manifest weight of the evidence.
  • The court abused its discretion and committed cumulative errors that violated appellant’s constitutional rights to a fair trial and due process.
  • Appellant was denied his constitutional right as guaranteed by the United States and Ohio Constitutions to effective assistance of counsel when his attorney failed timely to object to hearsay testimony and failed to move for a mistrial.
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