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In re Dalton C.

December 1, 2008

IN RE: DALTON C., A MINOR CHILD


CHARACTER OF PROCEEDING: Appeal from the Licking County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, Case No. A 2008-0032.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hoffman, P.J.

JUDGES: Hon. William B. Hoffman, P.J. Hon. Sheila G. Farmer, J. Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, J.

OPINION

JUDGMENT: Affirmed

{¶1} Appellant Dalton C. appeals his adjudication and disposition entered by the Licking County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, after the trial court accepted his admission to three counts of rape. Appellee is the State of Ohio.

STATEMENT OF THE CASE AND FACTS

{¶2} On January 8, 2008, the Licking County Prosecutor filed a Complaint against Appellant, charging him with five counts of rape, in violation of R.C. 2907.02(A)(1)(b), felonies of the first degree if committed by an adult. Appellant entered pleas of deny at his initial hearing on January 9, 2008. Pursuant to plea negotiations, Appellant withdrew his original pleas of deny and entered pleas of admit to three counts of rape, and the State dismissed the two remaining counts. The trial court adjudicated Appellant a delinquent child and deferred sentencing pending a psychological evaluation.

{¶3} After receiving and reviewing the psychological evaluation, Appellant's admissions, his prior involvement with juvenile court, the pre-dispositional report of the probation department, and his behavior while in detention as well as his explanations for such behavior, the trial court ordered Appellant be committed to the Department of Youth Services for a minimum period of 2 years and a maximum period not to exceed age 21. The trial court ordered the sentences on two of the counts be served consecutively to the sentence on the third count.

{¶4} Appellant was fourteen years old at the time of the offenses, the victim was his 12-year-old girlfriend. Appellant is learning disabled and has cerebral palsy. Appellant and his girlfriend were both in seventh grade as Appellant was held back and attended special education classes during his early school years. The charges were brought against Appellant after he and his girlfriend stayed out all night, neither returning to his/her respective home. Appellant's girlfriend acknowledged having sex was "wrong", but did not know such was against the law. The psychological evaluation revealed Appellant had difficulty understanding why his girlfriend's chronological age was relevant and believed the sexual conduct was inappropriate because it occurred outside a marriage.

{¶5} Appellant raises the following assignments of error:

{¶6} "I. DALTON C.'S ADMISSION TO THREE COUNTS OF RAPE WAS NOT KNOWING, INTELLIGENT AND VOLUNTARY, AS REQUIRED BY THE FIFTH AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS TO THE UNTIED STATES CONSTITUTION, ARTICLE I, SECTIONS 10 AND 16 OF THE OHIO CONSTITUTION, AND JUV. R. 29.

{¶7} "II. THE JUVENILE COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT COMMITTED DALTON C. TO THE DEPARTMENT OF YOUTH SERVICES."

I.

{¶8} In his first assignment of error, Appellant maintains his admission to three counts of rape was not knowing, intelligent and voluntary; therefore, in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution, Article I, Section 10 of the Ohio Constitution, and Juv. R. 29.

{¶9} Juv. R. 29(D) provides:

{¶10} "The court shall not accept an admission without addressing the party personally and determining both of the following:

{¶11} "(1)The party is making the admission voluntarily with an understanding of the nature of the allegations and the consequences of the admission;

{¶12} "(2)The party understands that by entering an admission the party is waiving the right to challenge witnesses and evidence against the party, to remain silent, and to introduce evidence at the adjudicatory hearing."

{¶13} Specifically, Appellant takes issue with the trial court's failure to explain to him the terms "consecutive" and "concurrent", and failure to explain the sex offender registration requirements. Appellant states he was not advised of such until his sentencing which occurred six weeks after he entered his admission.

{¶14} At the change of plea hearing, the trial court conducted the following colloquy with Appellant:

{ΒΆ15} "Q: Dalton, your attorney has indicated that you intend to withdraw your earlier entered pleas of deny and enter pleas of admit to ...


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