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 v. Huddleston

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

June 20, 2013

State of Ohio, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Jermaine A. Huddleston, Defendant-Appellant.

APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas C.P.C. No. 10CR-07-4116

Ron O'Brien, Prosecuting Attorney, and Seth L. Gilbert, for appellee.

Yeura R. Venters, Public Defender, and Timothy E. Pierce, for appellant.

DECISION

DORRIAN, J.

{¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Jermaine A. Huddleston ("appellant"), appeals from a judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas denying his motions to vacate or suspend the payment of court costs. Because we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by imposing court costs as part of appellant's sentence, that appellant's claim regarding the trial court's failure to notify him that he could be required to perform community service is barred by res judicata, and that the trial court did not commit plain error by failing to notify appellant that he could be ordered to perform community service if he failed to pay court costs, we affirm.

{¶ 2} Appellant was indicted on two counts of felonious assault with specifications and one count of having a weapon under disability. Appellant ultimately pled guilty to two counts of felonious assault without specifications. At the sentencing hearing, appellant's counsel made an oral motion for a waiver of court costs. On November 30, 2011, the trial court entered a judgment sentencing appellant to eight years of incarceration on each count of felonious assault, with the sentences to be served concurrently. The trial court did not impose a fine, but required appellant to pay court costs. Court costs were later calculated to be $2, 475.44. Appellant did not appeal this judgment.

{¶ 3} On January 20, 2012, appellant filed two motions with the trial court entitled "Motion to Vacate or Suspend Payment of Fine and/or Court Costs." In these motions, appellant asserted that he lacked the funds to pay court costs due to his incarceration and that any funds he acquired after release from incarceration would be needed for his reintegration into society. Appellant also attached an affidavit of indigency to each motion asserting that he lacked the funds to pay court costs. The trial court denied appellant's motions to vacate the court costs, finding that they were barred by res judicata and that it had considered his ability to pay court costs during the sentencing hearing and had properly imposed costs as part of his sentence.

{¶ 4} Appellant appeals from the trial court's judgment, assigning two errors for this court's review:

Assignment of error number one: the trial court abused its discretion when it ordered Appellant to pay the costs associated with this case despite him being unable to remit payment.
Assignment of error number two: the trial court erred by failing to comply with R.C. Section 2947.23(A)(1)(a) and (b) when it did not inform Appellant that if he did not pay court costs he may be ordered to perform community service hours and that if he did in fact have to perform community service he would receive hourly credit towards the outstanding balance.

{¶ 5} In his first assignment of error, appellant argues that the trial court abused its discretion by ordering him to pay court costs despite his claim of indigence. At the sentencing hearing, appellant's counsel made an oral motion to waive court costs, arguing that appellant would be unable to pay the costs due to his incarceration and that the burden would fall on appellant's family. The trial court imposed court costs as part of its sentencing entry.

{¶ 6} Although the trial court denied appellant's motions based on the doctrine of res judicata, we conclude that the motions to vacate would fail on the merits. R.C. 2947.23 requires a court to assess costs against all convicted defendants. State v. White, 103 Ohio St.3d 580, 2004-Ohio-5989, ¶ 8. "[W]aiver of costs is permitted-but not required-if the defendant is indigent." Id. at ¶ 14. An order imposing costs is reviewed under an abuse-of-discretion standard. State v. Threatt, 108 Ohio St.3d 277, 2006-Ohio-905, ¶ 23. An abuse of discretion occurs where a trial court's decision is "unreasonable, arbitrary, or unconscionable." Blakemore v. Blakemore, 5 Ohio St.3d 217, 219 (1983).

{¶ 7} Appellant argues that the trial court abused its discretion in ordering him to pay court costs because the court never seriously considered his request for a waiver. Appellant asserts that the trial court was required to make reasonable inquiries regarding his ability to pay court costs before ruling on the waiver request. However, "it is well-established that a trial court need not consider a defendant's ability to pay court costs." Columbus v. Kiner, 10th Dist. No. 11AP-543, 2011-Ohio-6462, ¶ 3. Further, in the judgment entry, the trial court indicated that it considered appellant's present and future ability to pay a fine and financial sanctions before declining to impose any fine but ordering appellant to pay court costs. Appellant claims that this statement does not reflect what occurred at the sentencing hearing. "It is axiomatic that a court speaks only through its journal entries, and not through mere oral pronouncements." In re P.S., 10th Dist. No. 07AP-516, 2007-Ohio-6644, ¶ 12. Therefore, we presume that the trial court did consider appellant's ability to pay before issuing its entry, even if the court's statements at the sentencing hearing did not reflect this consideration.

{¶ 8} Finally, we note that appellant offered minimal evidence in support of his claim of indigence. In his oral motion at the sentencing hearing, appellant's counsel asserted that appellant would not be able to pay court costs because he had been incarcerated 509 days leading up to the sentencing hearing and that appellant's family would bear the burden of the court costs. In his motions to vacate or suspend payment of court costs, appellant attached an affidavit attesting that he lacked the necessary funds to pay court costs due to his incarceration and a memorandum asserting that any money he earned upon release from incarceration would be needed for reintegration into society. Appellant provided no details regarding bank accounts, other assets or the lack thereof. In light of the record before us, we cannot conclude that the trial court acted in an unreasonable, arbitrary or unconscionable manner in ordering appellant ...


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.