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Date: 06-09-2021

Case Style:

State of Ohio v. Amit Goyal

Case Number: L-20-1207

Judge: Thomas J. Osowik


Plaintiff's Attorney: Julia Bates, Lucas County Prosecuting Attorney, and
Alyssa Breyman, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Defendant's Attorney:

Toledo, Ohio Criminal Defense Lawyer Directory


Toledo, Ohio - Criminal defense attorney represented Amit Goyal with a motion to withdraw a negotiated plea.

Appellant, Amit Goyal, sets forth the following two assignments of error:
1: It is a manifest injustice for an attorney to misrepresent to a defendant that a
conviction is expungable [].
2: Whether relying on ineffective counsel’s advice is a valid reason for a delay in
filing a motion to withdraw a plea.
{¶ 3} The following undisputed facts are relevant to this appeal. On December
18, 2013, appellant was indicted on one count of burglary, in violation of R.C. 2911.12, a
felony of the second degree, and one count of menacing by stalking, in violation of R.C.
2903.211, a felony of the fourth degree.
{¶ 4} On May 30, 2014, pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement, appellant pled
no contest to the lesser offense of menacing by stalking. In exchange, the burglary
offense was dismissed. The matter was set for a sentencing hearing.
{¶ 5} On July 9, 2014, appellant was sentenced to a three-year term of
community control. No prison time was imposed and no direct appeal was taken. On
June 12, 2017, appellant’s community control was terminated.
{¶ 6} On June 20, 2020, appellant filed a Crim.R. 32.1 motion to withdraw the
May 30, 2014 negotiated guilty plea.
{¶ 7} In support of the motion, appellant asserted that his 2014 plea was
compromised based upon informal text communications in which trial counsel conveyed 3.
to appellant that he could seek an expungement in the future by filing a motion with the
trial court.
{¶ 8} Specifically, appellant asserts that trial counsel conveyed that the
conviction would be, “eligible for expungement.” (Emphasis added). The conviction
was not eligible for expungement.
{¶ 9} On July 27, 2020, appellee filed a brief in opposition to appellant’s Crim.R.
32.1 motion to withdraw. On August 26, 2020, counsel for appellant furnished
screenshots of text messages between trial counsel and appellant regarding requesting an
expungement of the conviction from the trial court in the future.
{¶ 10} Appellant states on appeal that he was advised, “by his former counsel that
[he] could file for expungement three (3) years after the termination of his probation.”
(Emphasis added).
{¶ 11} The record reflects that at no point during any trial court proceedings was
the issue of expungement raised or referenced by any party. Appellant was
understandably disappointed upon learning in 2020 that his conviction was not eligible
for expungement consideration.
{¶ 12} Appellant does not maintain, nor does the record reflect, that any
assurances were made to appellant from any source regarding the certainty of a future
grant of expungement of the subject conviction.
{¶ 13} On November 16, 2020, the trial court denied appellant’s motion to
withdraw. The trial court determined in relevant part: 4.
[The] court inquired at plea whether defendant had been promised
anything to induce him into entering the plea, and he responded, with
counsel by his side, that he had not been so promised. At sentencing * * *
nobody mentioned anything about sealing records. As a result, the court
does not find that any manifest injustice is present in denying defendant’s
motion. (Emphasis added).
{¶ 14} This appeal ensued.
{¶ 15} In the first assignment of error, appellant asserts that the trial court abused
its discretion in denying appellant’s motion to withdraw given the texts between appellant
and trial counsel regarding filing a future request with the trial court seeking
expungement. We do not concur.
{¶ 16} Establishing an abuse of discretion requires more than showing an error in
law or judgment. Rather, it must be shown that the disputed trial court action was
unreasonable, arbitrary or unconscionable. Blakemore v. Blakemore, 5 Ohio St.3d 217,
450 N.E.2d 1140 (1983).
{¶ 17} Crim.R. 32.1 establishes that, “A motion to withdraw a plea of guilty or no
contest may be made only before sentence is imposed; but to correct manifest injustice
the court after sentence may set aside the judgment or conviction and permit the
defendant to withdraw his or her plea.” (Emphasis added).
{¶ 18} As conveyed in a case encompassing analagous post-sentence Crim.R. 32.1
motion manifest injustice considerations, “[M]anifest injustice relates to some 5.
fundamental flaw in the proceedings which results in a miscarriage of justice or is
inconsistent with the demands of due process * * * [M]anifest injustice has been defined
as a clear or openly unjust act. Under this standard, a post[-]sentence withdrawal motion
is allowable only in extraordinary cases.” State v. Brown, 167 Ohio App.3d 239, 2006-
Ohio-3266, 854 N.E.2d 583, ¶ 5 (Dist). (Emphasis added).
{¶ 19} In conjunction with the above, it is well-established that a final judgment of
conviction precludes the defendant from raising any defense or claimed lack of due
process that was raised, or could have been raised, at trial. State v. Ishmail, 67 Ohio
St.2d 16, 423 N.E.2d 1068 (1981).
{¶ 20} This court has consistently held that a motion to withdraw a guilty plea
pursuant to Crim.R. 32.1 is a post-conviction proceeding, which is encompassed by the
doctrine of res judicata. State v. Hill, 6th Dist. Lucas No. L-14-1088, 2014-Ohio-4865, ¶
{¶ 21} Further, while post-sentence Crim.R. 32.1 motions are not strictly governed
by statutory time limits in their filing, they are nevertheless subject to res judicata
implications. State v. Plassman, 6th Dist. Fulton No. F-07-036, 2008-Ohio-3842, ¶ 24.
{¶ 22} In applying the above-delineated governing legal principles to the instant
matter, we find that the informal text communications between appellant and trial counsel
regarding future expungement conjecture, in the absence of additional, compelling
evidence or precedent, do not constitute a fundamental due process flaw in the 6.
proceedings so as to demonstrate the type of extraordinary case warranting a Crim.R.
32.1 manifest injustice finding.
{¶ 23} We further find that, regardless of the adverse manifest weight
determination, appellant’s arguments fail on the basis of res judicata. The subject plea
and sentence occurred in 2014, no direct appeal was taken, and the case concluded in
2017. As such, the matter is res judicata.
{¶ 24} Accordingly, as appellant has not demonstrated a manifest injustice and the
matter is res judicata, we find appellant’s first assignment of error not well-taken.
{¶ 25} In appellant’s second assignment of error, appellant similarly asserts that
his six-year delay in filing a Crim.R. 32.1 post-sentence motion to withdraw the plea was
{¶ 26} However, the trial court’s November 16, 2020 denial of appellant’s motion
was not based upon timeliness considerations. Conversely, the record reflects that the
trial court denied the motion upon the merits. The trial court plainly concluded that it did
not, “[F]ind that any manifest injustice is present in denying defendant’s motion.”
Timeliness was not raised or referenced by the trial court.
{¶ 27} Nevertheless, with respect to appellant’s timeliness assertions, appellant
relies upon State v. Ayesta, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 101383, 2015-Ohio-1695.
{¶ 28} In contrast to the instant case, the court in the Ayesta case specifically cited
a four-year delay in the filing of the Crim.R. 32.1 motion to withdraw as one of the
reasons for the motion denial. 7.
{¶ 29} By contrast, the trial court in this case never cited or referenced appellant’s
six-year delay in filing the motion in the denial of the motion. The record is devoid of
evidence reflecting that timeliness was a factor in the denial.
{¶ 30} Wherefore, we find the second assignment of error unpersuasive given the
absence of evidence that timeliness was a basis of the motion denial and, regardless, the
matter is res judicata on the same basis as was discussed above in response to the first
assignment of error. Accordingly, we find appellant’s second assignment of error not

Outcome: On consideration whereof, the judgment of the Lucas County Court of
Common Pleas is hereby affirmed. Appellant is ordered to pay the costs of this appeal
pursuant to App.R. 24.

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