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State of Ohio v. Susan Alt

October 20, 2011

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
SUSAN ALT DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-527674

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kathleen Ann Keough, J.:

Cite as State v. Alt, 2011-Ohio-5393.

JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

JUDGMENT:

AFFIRMED

BEFORE: Keough, J., Boyle, P.J., and Rocco, J.

{¶1} Defendant-appellant, Susan Alt, appeals the trial court's judgment denying her motion to withdraw her plea. Finding no merit to the appeal, we affirm. I

{¶2} In August 2009, Alt was charged in a 96-count indictment stemming from a sophisticated mortgage fraud scheme that enabled Alt to steal over three million dollars. Alt pleaded not guilty. Exhaustive discovery and numerous pretrials ensued, and the trial date was reset several times.

{¶3} On July 6, 2010, two weeks prior to trial, Alt pleaded guilty to 31 counts of the indictment; the remaining counts were nolled. As part of the agreement, Alt agreed to forfeit two million dollars. The record reflects that she never made any of the agreed-upon payments.

{¶4} In November 2010, at Alt's request, sentencing was reset to December 16, 2010. But on December 2, 2010, two weeks before sentencing, Alt filed a motion to withdraw her guilty plea, asserting that her plea should be vacated because she "did not fully understand all of the ramifications of her plea" and "maintains her innocence and has a defense to the charges." She subsequently filed a supplement to her motion in which she argued that presentence motions to withdraw, although discretionary with the trial judge, "should almost always be granted."

{¶5} Alt did not appear for sentencing on December 16, 2010 and the trial court issued a capias. On December 20, 2010, after a hearing at which Alt appeared, the trial court denied Alt's motion to withdraw her guilty plea. The court then sentenced her to nine years incarceration on Count 1 of the indictment (engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity), and two years on the remaining counts to which she had pleaded guilty, all counts to run concurrent. The court also advised Alt that she would be subject to five years mandatory postrelease control.

{¶6} On appeal, Alt contends that the trial court erred in denying her motion to withdraw her plea.

II

{ΒΆ7} "Crim.R. 32.1 provides that a defendant may move to withdraw his guilty plea prior to sentencing. A defendant who so moves, however, does not have an absolute right to have his guilty plea withdrawn. The trial court must conduct a hearing to ...


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