Fairfield v. Lopez

[Cite as Fairfield v. Lopez, 2018-Ohio-914.] IN THE COURT OF APPEALS TWELFTH APPELLATE DISTRICT OF OHIO BUTLER COUNTY CITY OF FAIRFIELD, : Plaintiff-Appellee, : CASE NO. CA2017-08-121 : OPINION - vs - 3/12/2018 : ALFONSO JUAREZ LOPEZ, et al., : Defendants-Appellants. : CRIMINAL APPEAL FROM FAIRFIELD MUNICIPAL COURT Case No. 2016TRC2778 Clemmons & Wolterman Law Firm, LLC, Stephen J. Wolterman, Patrick R. Oelrich, 530 Wessel Drive, Suite 2A, Fairfield, Ohio 45014, for plaintiff-appellee Rodriguez & Porter, Ltd., Paul W. Shonk, Greg Porter, 5103 Plainfield Road, Fairfield, Ohio 45014, for defendant-appellant RINGLAND, J. {¶ 1} Appellant, Leticia Palmer, appeals from the decision of the Fairfield Municipal Court denying her motion for remission of bond forfeiture, and in the alternative, motion for relief from judgment. For the reasons discussed below, we affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand the matter for further proceedings. {¶ 2} On November 13, 2016, Alfonso Juarez Lopez was arrested and charged with Butler CA2017-08-121 single misdemeanor counts of operating a vehicle while impaired, stopping after an accident, driver's license required, and assured clear distance. Lopez was arraigned on November 16, 2016 and the municipal court set bond at $3,500. Upon the request of Lopez, the municipal court continued the case until November 30, 2016 and set a pretrial hearing for the same date. On November 16, 2016, Palmer signed as surety for Lopez on the $3,500 recognizance bond and the municipal court issued a release from jail for Lopez. The pretrial hearing was continued to December 7, 2016 upon Lopez's request. {¶ 3} On December 7, 2016, Lopez failed to appear for the pretrial hearing and the municipal court issued a bench warrant. The municipal court sent Palmer a letter informing her Lopez failed to appear for the pretrial hearing. The letter stated Palmer had 45 days from the date of the missed court appearance to either produce the body of Lopez or make a check payable to the Fairfield Municipal Court in the amount of $3,500. The letter further informed Palmer that the court set a hearing for the matter on February 16, 2017. Neither Palmer nor Lopez appeared at the hearing and the municipal court ordered the bond forfeited. {¶ 4} On June 14, 2017, Palmer filed a motion for remission of forfeiture pursuant to R.C. 2937.39, or in the alternative, a motion for relief from judgment pursuant to Civ.R. 60(B). Palmer asserted in her motion that immediately after posting bond, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") filed an immigration detainer for Lopez and he was placed in ICE's legal custody before leaving Butler County Jail. On November 23, 2016, ICE "gave notice of its intent to reinstate * * * Lopez's previous deportation to Mexico." Lopez was deported to Mexico without being released from ICE's custody on an unknown date. {¶ 5} The municipal court held a hearing on Palmer's motion on July 13, 2017. The hearing contained the following discussion between Palmer's counsel and the municipal court: -2- Butler CA2017-08-121 THE ...

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