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State v. Rolland

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District

June 25, 2013

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
KEVIN ROLLAND, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

Criminal Appeal from Common Pleas Court, Case No. 11 CR 629.

For Plaintiff-Appellee: Attorney Paul J. Gains Prosecuting Attorney Attorney Ralph M. Rivera Assistant Prosecuting Attorney.

For Defendant-Appellant: Attorney Timothy Cunning.

JUDGES: Hon. Mary DeGenaro Hon. Gene Donofrio Hon. Joseph J. Vukovich.

OPINION

MARY DeGENARO, JUDGE.

{¶1} Defendant-Appellant, Kevin Rolland, appeals the March 16, 2012, judgment of the Mahoning County Court of Common Pleas sentencing him on one count of aggravated vehicular homicide. On appeal, Rolland first contends that R.C. 2901.08 is unconstitutional when used to enhance the penalties for violations of R.C. 2903.06. Secondly, he asserts R.C. 2901.08 was not intended to apply to charges as serious as aggravated vehicular homicide. Finally, Rolland argues that the trial court violated his due process rights by failing to comply with the allocution standards set forth in R.C. 2929.19(A) and 2929.19(B)(2) regarding the mandatory nature of the sentence and postrelease control notification.

{¶2} Upon review, Rolland's arguments are meritless. While Rolland did not challenge the constitutionality of R.C. 2901.08 in the trial court, exercising our discretion to consider the merits in the interest of justice, we hold that the statute is constitutional. However, Rolland's guilty plea does waive appellate review of his second assignment of error. Finally, the record demonstrates Rolland was afforded his full allocution rights and was properly notified of the mandatory nature of his sentence and that he would be subject to post-release control. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

Facts and Procedural History

{¶3} On May 11, 2011, Rolland was involved in a fatal automobile accident. On June 16, 2011, Rolland was indicted by the Mahoning County Grand Jury on one count of aggravated vehicular homicide in violation of R.C. 2903.06(A)(2)(a) which was enhanced to a second-degree felony pursuant to subpart (B)(3). The indictment alleged that Rolland "did, while operating or participating in the operation of a motor vehicle recklessly cause the death of Vera Gabrick and at the time of the commission of the offense, the said Kevin Rolland had been convicted of a prior traffic related homicide in the Mahoning County Juvenile Court, Case No. 97 JA 124, on or about May 27, 1997, in violation of Section 2903.06(A)(2)(a)(B)(3) of the Revised Code." As a juvenile, Rolland had entered a plea of admission on April 8, 1997, in the Mahoning County Juvenile Court to vehicular homicide stemming from an automobile accident that took the lives of two victims on November 22, 1996.

{¶4} On January 10, 2012, Rolland pled guilty to one count of aggravated vehicular homicide. On March 16, 2012, Rolland was sentenced to a definite prison term of seven years, a lifetime driver's license suspension, and a mandatory term of three years of post-release control.

Effect of Guilty Plea on Constitutional Challenge

{¶5} Because Roland's arguments relative to his first and second of four assignments of error are somewhat interrelated, we will address them together for clarity of analysis. Roland asserts:

{¶6} "R.C. 2901.08 is unconstitutional when used to enhance the penalties for violations of R.C. 2903.06 because it violates the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment."

{¶7} "R.C. 2901.08 was never intended to apply to charges as serious as aggravated vehicular ...


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