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State v. Deniro

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District

June 28, 2013

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DINO R. DENIRO, Defendant-Appellant.

Criminal Appeals from the Lake County Court of Common Pleas, Case Nos. 11 CR 000517 and 12 CR 000073.

Charles E. Coulson, Lake County Prosecutor, and Alana A. Rezaee, Assistant Prosecutor, (For Plaintiff-Appellee).

R. Paul LaPlante, Lake County Public Defender, and Vanessa R. Clapp, Assistant Public Defender, (For Defendant-Appellant).

OPINION

CYNTHIA WESTCOTT RICE, J.

{¶1} Appellant, Dino R. DeNiro, appeals his sentence following his guilty plea in the Lake County Court of Common Pleas to failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer and felony theft. At issue is whether the trial court abused its discretion in imposing the maximum sentence. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

{¶2} Appellant was indicted in two separate cases. In Case No. 11 CR 517, he was charged in a three-count indictment with failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer, a third-degree felony; theft, a fifth-degree felony; and failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer, a fourth-degree felony.

{¶3} In Case No. 12 CR 73, appellant was indicted for theft, a fifth-degree felony, and possessing criminal tools, a fifth-degree felony. He pled not guilty in both cases.

{¶4} Appellant subsequently entered a plea bargain with the state pursuant to which, on August 10, 2012, he pled guilty in both cases. In Case No. 11 CR 517, he pled guilty to failure to comply, a fourth-degree felony. In Case No. 12 CR 73, he pled guilty to theft, a fifth-degree felony.

{¶5} The prosecutor outlined the factual basis for appellant's guilty pleas. In Case No. 11 CR 517, on August 6, 2011, at 2:45 p.m., a Mentor police officer was dispatched to Dillard's Department Store in Mentor on a call of a theft by a male, later identified as appellant, who just left the store, entered a vehicle, and drove away. While the officer was driving toward Dillard's, he saw a vehicle matching the description and bearing the license plate number provided by Dillard's security. The officer accelerated his cruiser to catch up with appellant and activated his overhead lights. Appellant then drove faster, reaching speeds in excess of 100 m.p.h. and drove through a red light. Due to appellant's dangerously high speeds, the officer suspended his pursuit. He then went to Dillard's to take statements. The store security officer said he saw appellant walking in the Polo section carrying a bag. He said appellant took several shirts; placed them in his bag; and then walked out of the store without paying for them. Appellant ran to his car and the security officer tried to chase him, but was unsuccessful.

{¶6} In Case No. 12 CR 73, some five months later, on January 18, 2012, at around 2:30 p.m., Willoughby Police received a theft report from security at the Target Department Store in that city. Security reported they had a shoplifter, later identified as appellant, who just ran out of the store.

{¶7} Willoughby police officers drove to that location. As they approached the store, Target security was outside and pointed appellant out to the officers as he was running. One police officer circled appellant and stopped him. Appellant was carrying a bag containing five sets of headphones. The police officers brought appellant to the store, and Target security identified him as the male they saw take these items without paying for them.

{¶8} Target security also reported they had seen appellant on four prior occasions between April and August 2011 come into the store; go to the headphone section; use a knife to cut sets of headphones off their locked hooks; take four to seven sets of headphones each time; and then leave the store without paying for them.

{¶9} The court found appellant's guilty pleas were voluntary; accepted his pleas; and found him guilty in Case No. 11 CR 517 of failure to comply and in Case No. 12 CR 73 of felony theft. A nolle prosequi was entered on all other counts in both indictments. The court referred appellant to the probation department for a pre-sentence report.

{¶10} The case came on for sentencing on September 21, 2012. Appellant told the court he has been a drug addict for more than 30 years. He said he has been clean since 2009, following his most recent release from prison. He said that after he was released, he learned his sister had cancer, and he committed the instant thefts to ...


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