On Thursday, June 20, 2024, William H. Baker filed a writ of procedendo against Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey L. Reed in the Supreme Court of Ohio.

Baker, an inmate at Allen-Oakwood Correctional Institution, was requesting that Judge Reed rule on a motion for a new trial or evidentiary hearing that Baker had filed in February 2024 regarding his criminal case from 2017. According to court documents, Baker was found guilty by a jury that year on charges including rape, sexual battery, and gross sexual imposition. He was subsequently sentenced to 20 years in prison by Judge Reed.

In his writ, Baker claimed that Judge Reed had yet to rule on the motion he filed in February, which was over the four months allowed according to Rule 40(A)(3) of the Rules of Practice of the Supreme Court of Ohio. Baker argued the judge had a duty to rule within 120 days. Baker’s motion centered on allegedly improper jury verdict forms used in his original trial that did not specify the degree of offenses.

Baker maintained the forms were deficient according to Revised Code 2945.75(A)(2) and resulted in plain error. This code requires verdict forms to list either the degree of the offense or additional elements that make the offense more serious. As the forms lacked this information, Baker claimed the convictions should be for the absolute lowest degree allowed.

In his writ, Baker asked the Supreme Court to compel Judge Reed to rule on the pending motion and claimed the judge may abuse his discretion based on previous denials of other motions. Baker also requested the court oversee any ruling and ensure Judge Reed adheres to Ohio law.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.