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State v. Smith

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District

June 21, 2013

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
RICO SMITH, Defendant-Appellant

Criminal appeal from Common Pleas Court T.C. NO. 12CR161

LISA M. FANNIN, Atty. Reg. No. 0082337, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Attorney for Plaintiff-Appellee.

J. DAVID TURNER, Atty. Reg. No. 0017456, Attorney for Defendant-Appellant.

OPINION

FROELICH, J.

{¶ 1} Rico Smith appeals from a judgment of the Clark County Court of Common Pleas, which sentenced him to one year in prison and a one-year driver's license suspension for deception to obtain a dangerous drug, a fourth degree felony.

I. Procedural History

{¶ 2} On March 5, 2012, Rico Smith was indicted for deception to obtain a dangerous drug, in violation of R.C. 2925.22(A), a third-degree felony, [1] and illegal processing of drug documents, in violation of R.C. 2925.23(B)(1). In August 2012, Smith pled guilty to deception to obtain a dangerous drug, as amended to a fourth-degree felony.[2] In exchange for the plea, the State agreed to dismiss the illegal processing of drug documents charge and to recommend community control. The court accepted Smith's plea of guilty to deception to obtain a dangerous drug and ordered a presentence investigation.

{¶ 3} Smith appeared for sentencing on September 18, 2012. After reviewing the presentence investigation report, hearing from Smith personally, and considering the arguments of counsel, the trial court concluded that Smith was not amenable to community control. The court reasoned:

The activity involved in this matter was going into a pharmacy with a forged prescription and trying to buy hydrocodone at five times the bulk amount.
The Defendant is a resident of the State of Tennessee. He has denied any source of income, says that he was paying for the prescriptions with his girlfriend's social security check, and that he was buying prescriptions for personal use for party purposes. He was convicted of doing the same thing in Warren County. According to the investigative notes from the Warren County Drug Task Force, he's been identified or on videos of doing this in other areas in the State of Ohio.
The drug task force in Warren County has been investigating for some time an operation where individuals are being paid to come into the State of Ohio with prescriptions being prepared by other persons to come up and get false prescriptions and then bring the drugs back and are being paid by prescription. The Defendant has been identified as one of those individuals that were involved in this operation, which makes more sense tha[n] somebody coming from the state of Tennessee to the State of Ohio without any employment income or source of income other than his girlfriend's social security check to buy hydrocodone for any personal purposes. I find that this offense as committed was an offense for hire or part of an organized criminal activity.

{¶ 4} Defense counsel objected to the trial court's finding that Smith had committed an offense for hire or as part of an organized criminal activity. The court responded that it was permitted to "take these things into consideration. It does not change the nature of the offense to which he's been found guilty or the degree of the offense. It simply allows me to place these activities into perspective. This is not a one-time offense."

{¶ 5} The trial court sentenced Smith to one year in prison, suspended Smith's driver's license for one year, and ordered Smith to pay court costs. Smith appeals from the trial court's ...


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