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State of Ohio v. Norris Anthony Mills

September 30, 2011

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
NORRIS ANTHONY MILLS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Criminal Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2008 CR 0908.

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

Cite as State v. Mills,

OPINION

Judgment: Affirmed.

{¶1} Appellant, Norris Anthony Mills, appeals from the judgment entered by the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

{¶2} On July 1, 2009, appellant entered a plea of guilty to an amended indictment charging him with aggravated burglary, in violation of R.C. 2911.11(A)(1), and two counts of aggravated murder, in violation of R.C. 2903.01(B) and R.C. 2903.01(A). Pursuant to a Crim.R 11 agreement, the state entered a nolle prosequi to four repeat violent offender specifications and an additional count of aggravated murder which was included in the initial indictment. The trial court, following the jointly agreedupon sentence between the state and appellant, sentenced appellant to ten years on the aggravated burglary charge, and 20 years to life on each aggravated murder charge, all to run concurrently.

{¶3} On December 3, 2010, appellant's assigned appellate counsel filed a motion to withdraw as counsel, which was held in abeyance by judgment entry of this court. In addition, counsel filed an "Anders" brief, asserting there was no non-frivolous issue for appellate review. In Anders v. California (1967), 386 U.S. 738, the United States Supreme Court outlined the proper steps to be followed in this situation: (1) counsel should act in the role of an active advocate for his client; (2) counsel should support his client to the best of his ability; (3) if counsel finds his client's case to be wholly frivolous, counsel should advise the court and request permission to withdraw; (4) the request to withdraw must be accompanied by a brief referring to anything in the record that might arguably support the appeal; (5) counsel should furnish the indigent client with a copy of counsel's brief and time must be allowed for the client to raise any points he chooses; (6) the court, not counsel, proceeds and decides whether the case is frivolous after a full examination of all the proceedings. Anders, supra, at 744.

{¶4} In his brief, counsel determined that the trial court substantially complied with the requirements of Crim.R. 11, stating that the record does not reflect any obvious and prejudicial errors in the trial court's acceptance of appellant's guilty plea. Counsel notes, however, that appellant's trial counsel may have provided ineffective assistance due to the period of four months between appellant's indictment and his acceptance of the Crim.R. 11 agreement, and the lack of discovery in the case. Appellant's counsel served a copy of the brief to appellant, who did not file a pro se brief raising any assignments of error. Thus, this court will examine the validity of the Crim.R. 11 agreement, the assistance of trial counsel, sentencing, and any other area where error may be found.

{¶5} Crim.R. 11 Agreement

{¶6} A criminal defendant who enters a plea of guilty or no contest waives certain constitutional rights. Thus, the waiver must be made knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily. State v. Stewart (1997), 51 Ohio St.2d 86, 92-93.

{¶7} Crim.R. 11(C) sets forth the procedure a trial judge must follow when accepting a guilty plea in a felony case:

{¶8} "***

{¶9} "(2) In felony cases the court may refuse to accept a plea of guilty or a plea of no contest, and shall not accept a plea of guilty or no contest without first addressing the defendant personally and doing all of the following:

{ΒΆ10} "(a) Determining that the defendant is making the plea voluntarily, with understanding of the nature of the charges and of the maximum penalty involved, and, if applicable, that the defendant is not eligible for probation or for the ...


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