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State of Ohio v. Vincent D. Williams

September 27, 2011

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
VINCENT D. WILLIAMS,
DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. (C.P.C. No. 03CR-6358)

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

Cite as State v. Williams,

(REGULAR CALENDAR)

DECISION

{¶1} Plaintiff-appellant, State of Ohio ("the state"), appeals from a judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas granting defendant-appellee, Vincent D. Williams' ("defendant"), motion to vacate void sentence and consequent order to immediately release defendant from prison. For the reasons that follow, we reverse.

{¶2} On May 31, 2001, defendant pled guilty to one count of burglary, a second- degree felony, in case No. 00CR-4322, and to one count of attempted burglary, a fourth-degree felony, in case No. 00CR-5842.*fn1 Upon the parties' joint recommendation, the trial court imposed a three-year prison term in case No. 00CR-4322 to be served concurrently with a 12-month prison term in case No. 00CR-5842. The court also imposed a period of post-release control of three years.

{¶3} Prior to entering the plea of guilty in case No. 00CR-4322, defendant signed a written "Entry of Guilty Plea" form acknowledging that he would be sentenced to a "Three year[s]-Mandatory" period of post-release control. (Exhibit to state's Memorandum Contra Defendant's Motion to Vacate Void Sentence.) Defendant also signed a written "Notice (Prison Imposed)" form informing him that he "will * * * have a period of post- release control for 3 years following [his] release from prison." (Exhibit to state's Memorandum Contra.) At the plea and sentencing hearing, the trial court asked defendant if his attorney had gone over the forms with him and if it was his signature on the forms. The defendant replied "yes" to both questions. (Tr. 6.) Also at the hearing, the trial court orally informed defendant that he "may" have a period of post-release control. However, upon being reminded by the defense attorney, the trial court corrected itself and told defendant that "It is mandatory. You will have a period of post-release control of up to three years." (Emphasis added.) (Defendant's Motion to Vacate Void Sentence, Exhibit C, at 14.) The sentencing entry, filed June 1, 2001, stated "[a]fter imposition of sentence, the Court notified the Defendant, orally and in writing, of the applicable periods of post- release control pursuant to R.C. 2929.10(B)(3)(c), (d) and (e)," but it did not specifically state whether defendant was subject to a mandatory period of post-release control. (Defendant's Motion to Vacate Void Sentence, Exhibit A.)

{¶4} Approximately three and one-half years later, after having completed his three-year prison term in case Nos. 00CR-4322 and 00CR-5842, yet while still subject to his post-release control, defendant was convicted of attempted burglary, a third-degree felony, and possession of criminal tools, a fifth-degree felony, in case No. 03CR-6358. On February 28, 2004, he was sentenced to a five-year prison term in case No. 03CR- 6358 for the attempted burglary and a 12-month prison term for the possession of criminal tools, to run concurrently. The trial court also imposed an additional judicial sanction of 873 days for the violation of post-release control. The 873 days were to run consecutive to the five-year prison term. The sentencing entry, filed March 1, 2004, states "[t]he Court hereby imposes an additional 873 days consecutive for the postrelease control violation." (Mar. 1, 2004 Judgment Entry.)

{¶5} Thereafter, defendant filed a direct appeal to this court in State v. Williams, 10th Dist. No. 04AP-279, 2004-Ohio-6254 ("Williams I"). In his fourth assignment of error, defendant argued that the trial court erred when it imposed the balance of post-release control because, when he was convicted in the prior case, he was not informed that post- release control was part of the sentence. We noted that the record of case No. 00CR- 4322 was not part of the record in the appeal of case No. 03CR-6358 and, therefore, overruled the assignment of error. On October 12, 2007, defendant filed a motion to vacate void sentence, arguing that the 873 additional days in prison were a nullity because the trial court in the previous case did not properly notify him of his post-release control sanction. The trial court denied the motion, and defendant appealed the decision.

In State v. Williams, 10th Dist. No. 08AP-1090, 2009-Ohio-3233 ("Williams II"), we overruled the assignment of error and noted that defendant had not provided the trial court with the sentencing entry or transcript from case No. 00CR-4322 and, therefore, there was no evidence of error. Defendant then challenged his sentence with two original actions in the Supreme Court of Ohio. The Supreme Court dismissed both actions in Williams v. Unknown Warden, 114 Ohio St.3d 1474, 2007-Ohio-3699, and Williams v. Smith, 118 Ohio St.3d 1502, 2008-Ohio-3369.

{¶6} Finally, on March 5, 2010, defendant filed a motion to vacate void sentence in case No. 03CR-6358. At this time, defendant had already completed his sentence for his convictions in case No. 03CR-6358 but was still in prison serving the additional 873 days imposed for his violation of post-release control in case No. 00CR-4322. He attached the sentencing entry and transcript from case Nos. 00CR-4322 and 00CR-5842. The trial court granted the motion on September 1, 2010, and ordered defendant's immediate release from his post-release control sanction.

{¶7} The state now appeals the trial court's September 1, 2010 decision and order of immediate release and assigns the following errors:

FIRST ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY RULING THAT THE IMPOSITION OF PRC IN 00CR-4322 AND 00CR-5842, RENDERED THE SENTENCES IN THOSE CASES "VOID."

SECOND ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

EVEN IF THE SENTENCES IN 00CR-4322 AND 00CR- 5842 WERE "VOID," THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY VACATING THE SENTENCE IMPOSED IN 03CR-6358.

THIRD ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

THE TRIAL COURT LACKED AUTHORITY TO GRANT DEFENDANT'S "MOTION TO VACATE" AS THE "MOTION" WAS AN UNTIMELY AND SUCCESSIVE PETITION FOR POST-CONVICTION RELIEF.

FOURTH ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY GRANTING THE PETITION OR "MOTION" AS DEFENDANT'S ARGUMENT WAS BARRED BY THE DOCTRINE OF RES JUDICATA.

FIFTH ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

THE TRIAL COURT MISAPPLIED THE "LAW OF THE CASE" SET FORTH BY THIS COURT IN WILLIAMS I AND WILLIAMS II.

SIXTH ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

THE TRIAL COURT LACKED AUTHORITY TO "VACATE" DEFENDANT'S SENTENCE WITHOUT REGAINING JURISDICTION FROM THIS COURT ...


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