Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State of Ohio v. James J. Cefalo

December 3, 2012

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JAMES J. CEFALO, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Criminal Appeal from the Lake County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 11 CR 000372.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas R. Wright, J.

Cite as State v. Cefalo,

OPINION

Judgment: Reversed and remanded.

{¶1} Appellant, James J. Cefalo, appeals from a judgment of the Lake County Court of Common Pleas. Appellant challenges the trial court's denial of his motion to dismiss or amend the information and its finding that he was guilty of a fifth-degree felony theft offense.

{¶2} On June 29, 2011, appellant stole certain items from the Wal-Mart Store in Eastlake, Ohio valued at $666.48. An information was filed against him on August 4, 2011, alleging one count of theft in violation of R.C. 2913.02(A)(1), which at the time was a felony of the fifth degree. On September 30, 2011, House Bill 86 ("H.B. 86") went into effect and changed the classification of theft offenses by increasing the threshold value of property or services stolen for each level of offense. At the time appellant stole the items from Wal-Mart, the theft thresholds for a fifth-degree felony per R.C. 2913.02 were $500 to $5,000. However, H.B. 86 changed the theft thresholds for a fifth-degree felony to $1,000 to $7,500, which brought appellant's crime into the range of a first- degree misdemeanor because he stole less than $1,000 worth of items. R.C. 2913.02(B)(2).

{¶3} Based on the statutory reclassification of his offense as a first-degree misdemeanor, appellant filed a motion to dismiss or amend the information and the State responded. On November 22, 2011, the trial court held a hearing on the motion. Following the trial court's denial of the motion, appellant waived his right to indictment and pled "no contest" to the fifth-degree felony charge in the information. Appellant was sentenced to 147 days in jail, for which he received credit for time served, and was immediately released from jail.

{¶4} In its November 22, 2011 judgment entry, the court stated that it was permitting appellant "to plead 'No Contest' solely to allow [him] to vacate his plea to a felony of the fifth degree and immediately enter a plea to a misdemeanor of the first degree should it be determined that House Bill 86 requires that the offense be modified in that regard." The court proceeded to retain jurisdiction in order to re-address the plea issue should it become necessary in the future. Essentially, the trial court applied

H.B.86 to the limited extent that appellant received the benefit of a misdemeanor sentence, but it did not agree that appellant qualified for a misdemeanor conviction. Thus, the trial court found appellant guilty of a fifth-degree felony, but imposed a misdemeanor sentence. Appellant timely filed the present appeal, asserting the following assignment of error:

{¶5} "The trial court erred in finding that House Bill 86 reduced only the defendant-appellant's potential sentence but not the level of seriousness of his theft offense."

{¶6} In his single assignment of error, appellant argues the trial court erred in finding him guilty of a fifth degree felony theft when H.B. 86 retroactively altered the threshold levels for misdemeanor thefts to $1,000 or less. We agree that the reforms in

H.B. 86 with respect to R.C. 2913.02 and the reclassification of theft offenses apply retroactively under the narrow exception present in this case whereby appellant is entitled to a reduced penalty or punishment as a result of the amendments. Accordingly, we find that appellant's argument has merit.

{¶7} Addressing the effective date, H.B. 86 states the following in Section 4:

{ΒΆ8} "The amendments to sections ***2913.02 *** of the Revised Code that are made in this act apply to a person who commits an offense specified or penalized under those sections on or after the effective date of this section and to a person to whom division (B) ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.