BUCHANAN (MICHAEL) VS. COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKYAnnotate this Case
RENDERED: NOVEMBER 7, 2008; 2:00 P.M.
NOT TO BE PUBLISHED
Commonwealth of Kentucky
Court of Appeals
APPEAL FROM OHIO CIRCUIT COURT
HONORABLE RONNIE C. DORTCH, JUDGE
ACTION NO. 03-CR-00152
COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY
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BEFORE: COMBS, CHIEF JUDGE; DIXON AND TAYLOR, JUDGES.
DIXON, JUDGE: Michael Buchanan, pro se, appeals from an order of the Ohio
Circuit Court denying his motion to receive a copy of his court records. We
On April 8, 2004, Buchanan entered a guilty plea in Ohio Circuit
Court to charges of murder, possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, and
tampering with physical evidence, all arising from the shooting death of his wife.
The court thereafter sentenced Buchanan to an aggregate sentence of thirty-five
On April 21, 2006, Buchanan filed a motion for post-conviction relief
pursuant to Kentucky Rules of Criminal Procedure (RCr) 11.42, alleging
ineffective assistance of counsel. The trial court denied the motion and a panel of
this Court affirmed that decision in an unpublished opinion.1
On November 7, 2007, Buchanan filed a “Motion to Obtain a
Certified Copy of the Complete and Accurate Court Record.” According to his
motion, Buchanan sought a lengthy list of evidence, pleadings, and records, free of
charge. Buchanan asserted that he needed the records in order to prepare an RCr
11.42 motion alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. The trial court denied
Buchanan’s request without an evidentiary hearing. This appeal followed.
Buchanan argues that the court committed reversible error because, as
an indigent, he was entitled to copies of his records free of charge. Buchanan
further contends the court erred by refusing to hold an evidentiary hearing, and by
denying his request for specific findings of fact. We conclude Buchanan’s
arguments are without merit.
Despite Buchanan’s argument to the contrary, in a post-conviction
collateral attack, an indigent defendant is only entitled to a free copy of the court
record if he “files a sufficient motion under RCr 11.42[.]” Jones v. Breslin, 385
S.W.2d 71, 72 (Ky. 1964). Buchanan overlooks the fact that he has already filed
Buchanan v. Commonwealth, 2006-CA-001367 (May 4, 2007). The Kentucky Supreme Court
denied discretionary review on November 15, 2007.
one RCr 11.42 motion alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. At the time
Buchanan requested the records in question, there was no motion for postconviction relief pending in the trial court. Instead, Buchanan sought the
documents in order to draft an impermissible, successive RCr 11.42 motion
alleging issues that were raised or could have been raised in his earlier motion.
RCr 11.42(3); Hampton v. Commonwealth, 454 S.W.2d 672, 673 (Ky. 1970).
Although Buchanan asserts that several of his constitutional rights
have been infringed, it is well settled that “post-conviction discovery is not
required by either the state or federal constitution.” Sanders v. Commonwealth, 89
S.W.3d 380, 394 (Ky. 2002). “[T]he stated purpose of [RCr 11.42] is to provide a
forum for known grievances, not to provide an opportunity to research for
grievances.” Gilliam v. Commonwealth, 652 S.W.2d 856, 858 (Ky. 1983).
Consequently, Buchanan “is not permitted to fish through official records in hopes
that something may turn up to his benefit.” Foley v. Commonwealth, 17 S.W.3d
878, 889 (Ky. 2000) (overruled on other grounds by Stopher v. Conliffe, 170
S.W.3d 307 (Ky. 2005)).
After reviewing the record, we conclude that Buchanan’s arguments
are without merit. The trial court properly denied Buchanan’s motion for certified
copies of his court records without an evidentiary hearing. Further, in its order, the
court sufficiently set forth the basis for its denial of Buchanan’s motion so that
additional findings were unnecessary.
For the reasons stated herein, the order of the Ohio Circuit Court is
BRIEFS FOR APPELLANT:
BRIEF FOR APPELLEE:
Michael Buchanan, Pro Se
Attorney General of Kentucky
Courtney J. Hightower
Assistant Attorney General