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State v. Jones

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District

July 11, 2013

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
THOMAS JONES DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-561910

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Edward F. Borkowski, Jr.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: Timothy J. McGinty Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, James Hofelich Assistant Prosecuting Attorney The Justice Center.

BEFORE: E.T. Gallagher, J., Rocco, P.J., and Blackmon, J.

JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

EILEEN T. GALLAGHER, JUDGE.

{¶ 1} This cause came to be heard on the accelerated calendar pursuant to App.R. 11.1 and Loc.R. 11.1.

{¶ 2} Defendant-appellant Thomas Jones ("Jones") appeals his consecutive sentence. We find no merit to the appeal and affirm.

{¶ 3} Jones was charged in two cases with multiple drug offenses. In CR- 561910, Jones pleaded guilty to one count of drug trafficking in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(1), a fifth-degree felony. In CR-561222, Jones pleaded guilty to one count of trafficking in violation of R.C. 2925.03, a fourth-degree felony. All other charges were nolled. The court sentenced Jones to a nine-month prison term in CR-561910 and a 15-month prison term in CR-561222. The court ordered the sentences to run consecutively for an aggregate 24-month prison term. Jones now appeals, raising two assignments of error.

{¶ 4} In the first assignment of error, Jones argues the trial court erred by imposing consecutive sentences without making the findings required by R.C. 2929.14(C)(4). In his second assignment of error, Jones argues that consecutive sentences are excessive and disproportionate to the seriousness of the offenses. We discuss these assigned errors together because they are closely related.

{¶5} R.C. 2953.08(G)(2), as amended by Am.Sub.H.B. No. 86, states that when reviewing prison sentences, "[t]he appellate court's standard for review is not whether the sentencing court abused its discretion." Instead, the statute states that if we "clearly and convincingly" find that (1) "the record does not support the sentencing court's findings under [R.C. 2929.14(C)(4)]" or (2) that "the sentence is otherwise contrary to law, " then we "may increase, reduce, or otherwise modify a sentence * * * or [we] may vacate the sentence and remand the matter to the sentencing court for re-sentencing." State v. Goins, 8th Dist. No. 98256, 2013-Ohio-263, ¶ 6, quoting R.C. 2953.08(G)(2).

{¶6} R.C. 2929.14(C)(4) requires that a trial court engage in a three-step analysis in order to impose consecutive sentences. First, the trial court must find that "consecutive service is necessary to protect the public from future crime or to punish the offender." Id. Second, the trial court must find that "consecutive sentences are not disproportionate to the seriousness of the offender's conduct and to the danger the offender poses to the public." Id. Finally, the trial court must find that at least one of the following applies:

(a)The offender committed one or more of the multiple offenses while the offender was awaiting trial or sentencing, was under a sanction imposed pursuant to section 2929.16, 2929.17, or 2929.18 of the Revised Code, or was under post-release control for a prior offense.
(b)At least two of the multiple offenses were committed as part of one or more courses of conduct, and the harm caused by two or more of the multiple offenses so committed was so great or unusual that no single prison term for any of the offenses committed as part of any of the courses of conduct adequately reflects the seriousness of the offender's conduct.
(c) The offender's history of criminal conduct demonstrates that consecutive sentences are necessary to protect the public ...

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