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State of Ohio v. Rodney George Davis

October 24, 2011

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
RODNEY GEORGE DAVIS,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from Auglaize County Common Pleas Court Trial Court No. 2011-CR-33

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

Cite as State v. Davis,

OPINION

Judgment Affirmed

{¶1} Defendant-Appellant, Rodney George Davis ("Davis"), appeals the judgment of the Auglaize County Court of Common Pleas sentencing him to thirty months in prison after he pled guilty to trafficking in drugs and possession of criminal tools. On appeal, Davis contends that the trial court's imposition of maximum, consecutive sentences was contrary to law and was an abuse of discretion. For the reasons set forth below, the judgment is affirmed.

{¶2} On February 22, 2011, the Auglaize County Grand Jury returned a two-count indictment against Davis, charging him with trafficking in marijuana (in an amount greater than 1,000 grams but less than 5,000 grams), in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(2)(C)(3)(c), a felony of the third degree, and possession of marijuana, in violation of R.C. 2925.11(A)(2)(C)(3)(d), also a felony of the third degree. The marijuana was discovered after a traffic stop initiated by the Ohio State Highway Patrol on I-75 in Wapakoneta, on February 8, 2011.

{¶3} Davis entered pleas of not guilty to the charges and his attorney filed a motion to suppress the evidence, claiming that it was obtained as the result of a warrantless search. A hearing on the motion to suppress was scheduled for April 11, 2011. Prior to the hearing date, the parties reached a negotiated plea agreement and the trial court held the change of plea hearing on the date previously set for the hearing on the motion to suppress.

{¶4} Davis agreed to plead guilty to an amended count one of the indictment, reducing the amount of marijuana specified to less than 1,000 grams, pursuant to R.C. 2925.03(A)(2)(C)(3)(c), a felony of the fourth degree. Davis also agreed to plead guilty to a Bill of Information charging him with possession of criminal tools, a violation of R.C. 2923.24(A), a felony of the fifth degree.*fn1 The State agreed to dismiss the second count in the indictment.

{¶5} During the change of plea hearing, Davis admitted that he had acted as a "mule" to transport nearly 10 lbs.*fn2 of marijuana from Cincinnati to Detroit. Davis claimed that he was only a "go-between" and that he had only used a portion of the acquired marijuana for personal use and to obtain funds to cover his lodging and his gasoline expenses for the trip back to Detroit. Davis acknowledged that he had a criminal record, having just been released from prison in late 2010 after serving eighteen months for another felony drug trafficking offense. He also had a prior 2005 felony conviction for possession of marijuana.

{¶6} The trial court conducted a full and detailed Crim.R. 11 plea colloquy before accepting Davis' pleas and finding him guilty. The trial court then held the sentencing hearing. The State requested that Davis be given maximum, consecutive sentences based upon his prior criminal record and the amount of drugs involved. Davis and his attorney spoke on his behalf in favor of mitigation, indicating that he was truly sorry for what he had done, that he had behaved responsibly while he had been out on bond, and that he wanted to turn his life around and be a better father to his four-year-old son, who lived in Georgia with his fiance.

{¶7} On April 11, 2011,*fn3 the trial court sentenced Davis to eighteen months in prison for the amended count for drug trafficking, and twelve months in prison for possession of criminal tools as set forth in the bill of information, with the sentences to run consecutively for a total prison term of thirty months. The trial court also suspended Davis' driver license for five years, ordered him to pay a $1,500 fine and court costs, and advised him that he was subject to an optional three-year period of post-release control.

{¶8} It is from this judgment that Davis now appeals, raising the following assignment of error for our review.

Assignment of Error

The trial court's sentence of [Davis] to consecutive maximum sentences totaling thirty (30) months was contrary to law and further constituted an abuse of discretion in failing to properly consider and apply the felony sentencing guidelines ...


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