Monongalia County 03-F-132
Aron Freeland, by counsel Timothy P. Rosinsky, appeals the
Circuit Court on Monongalia County's March 15, 2017,
order denying his motion for a new trial and motion to reopen
evidentiary proceedings. Respondent State of West Virginia,
by counsel Robert L. Hogan, filed a summary response to which
petitioner replied pro se. On appeal, petitioner argues that the
circuit court erred in denying his motions based upon juror
misconduct and that his prior counsel should have been
Court has considered the parties' briefs and the record
on appeal. The facts and legal arguments are adequately
presented, and the decisional process would not be
significantly aided by oral argument. Upon consideration of
the standard of review, the briefs, and the record presented,
the Court finds no substantial question of law and no
prejudicial error. For these reasons, a memorandum decision
is appropriate under Rule 21 of the Rules of Appellate
September 5, 2003, petitioner was indicted on two counts of
second-degree sexual assault involving two different victims
on two different days. Following an April of 2005 jury trial,
petitioner was convicted on both counts of the indictment. On
May 18, 2005, the circuit court sentenced petitioner to two
consecutive terms of ten to twenty-five years of
incarceration. This Court refused petitioner's subsequent
appeal on February 16, 2006. On June 6, 2005, petitioner
filed a motion for reconsideration of sentence. The circuit
court denied the motion. Petitioner appealed the denial of
that motion; this Court refused his petition on October 11,
April 6, 2007, petitioner filed a petition for a writ of
habeas corpus. Counsel was appointed, and an amended petition
was filed on June 9, 2009. On December 17, 2010, the circuit
court denied the petition. On appeal, this Court affirmed the
circuit court on April 5, 2013. See Freeland v.
Ballard, No. 11-0126, 2013 WL 1395890 ( W.Va. Apr. 5,
2013) (memorandum decision).
January 26, 2016, petitioner filed "Defendant's
Motion In Arrest of Judgment Rule 34 West Virginia Rules of
Criminal Procedure," alleging that a juror, Linda
Ammons, failed to disclose at trial that she knew one of the
witnesses at trial, Officer Jason Ammons of the Morgantown
Police Department.  In April of 2016, petitioner's motion
was amended and converted to a motion for new trial. The
circuit court held two hearings on the motion wherein Ms.
Ammons and Officer Ammons testified. On March 28, 2016,
Officer Ammons testified regarding his relationship, if any,
to Ms. Ammons:
[The State]: When you were called for testimony, did you
recognize a juror that you've come to learn [whose] name
is Linda Ammons?
[Officer Ammons]: Yes, ma'am.
[The State]: Did you know that was her name when you
[Officer Ammons]: No, ma'am.
[The State]: Did you now come to realize that the person that
they reference that is named Linda Ammons that is referenced
in this motion is a face that you recognized during your
[Officer Ammons]: Yes, ma'am.
[The State]: Would you have recognized that face? Was it a
public recognition or personal or social recognition or
[Officer Ammons]: Public recognition.
[The State]: Tell us how.
[Officer Ammons]: My mother was a schoolteacher at Jakes Run
Elementary, which I would have went to events there as her
being a teacher, chaperone, and I had seen that lady at some
of the events at the school for different things, just to see
her by, you know, vision.
[The State]: Because she would have had a child at that
school and as well be a volunteer at that school?
[Officer Ammons]: To the best of my knowledge, yes.
[The State]: Would you have ever had a conversation with her
or spoken with her socially ...