Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Man Convicted in Crash Deaths Fails to File Timely Appeal, 11th District Rules

A man who is serving a 16-year prison term for the aggravated vehicular homicide deaths of three people in Trumbull County did not file his appeal within the time allowed by law, according to a ruling by the Eleventh District Court of Appeals.

In the decision written by Judge Timothy P. Cannon, Donald P. Williams Jr., acting as his own attorney, missed the deadline for filing an appeal of his 2012 conviction by more than seven months.

On June 27, 2012, the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas sentenced Williams to serve 16 years in prison and suspended his driver’s license for the rest of his life. According to Ohio law, a defendant has 30 days from the time of the sentence being formally entered in the court record to appeal the sentence. In his appeal filed on March 27, 2013, Williams claimed he did not file in time because of advice he received from his trial attorney that there was nothing to be appealed.

In dismissing the appeal, Judge Cannon noted that Williams “was not diligent” in protecting his rights: “His assertion that he was unaware of his right to appeal is in direct contravention to the guilty plea he signed, which indicates he was advised of his right to appeal ‘the imposition of a maximum sentence or other procedural issues regarding this plea … other limited appellate rights that have been explained to me by the Court, and that I must file an appeal within thirty (30) days of my sentence.’”

Judge Cannon also wrote that Williams failed to follow proper procedure when he filed the appeal. “At the outset, we note appellant has failed to comply with App.R. 3(D), which states that ‘the notice of appeal … shall designate the judgment, order or part thereof appealed from.’ Appellant did not attach a judgment entry to his notice of appeal or otherwise provide a copy to this court.”

Judge Cynthia Westcott Rice concurred in the August 12 opinion, while Judge Colleen Mary O’Toole dissented without opinion.

State v. Williams, 2013-Ohio-3481
Civil Appeal From: Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas
Judgment: Appeal dismissed
Date of Judgment Entry on Appeal: Aug. 12, 2013

Please note: Opinion summaries are prepared by the Office of Public Information for the general public and news media. Opinion summaries are not prepared for every opinion, but only for noteworthy cases. Opinion summaries are not to be considered as official headnotes or syllabi of court opinions. The full text of this and other court opinions are available online.

Adobe PDF PDF files may be viewed, printed, and searched using the free Acrobat® Reader
Acrobat Reader is a trademark of Adobe Systems Incorporated.