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State v. Hobbs

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District

July 15, 2013

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
RYAN DANIEL HOBBS, Defendant-Appellant.

CRIMINAL APPEAL FROM WARREN COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS Case No. 07CR24593

David P. Fornshell, Warren County Prosecuting Attorney, Michael Greer, for plaintiff-appellee

George A. Katchmer, for defendant-appellant

OPINION

PIPER, J.

{¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Ryan Hobbs, appeals a decision of the Warren County Court of Common Pleas denying his motion to withdraw a guilty plea.

{¶ 2} In 2005, Hobbs began communicating with S.B. in an on-line chat room. The two eventually met face to face and began a relationship. In 2007, the two went to Kings Island for the day, and back to Hobbs' apartment afterwards. S.B. showered, came into Hobbs' bedroom, and lay across Hobbs' bed wearing a bathrobe. Hobbs began to rub S.B.'s legs and moved his hand toward S.B.'s vagina. S.B. told Hobbs to stop, but Hobbs proceeded to insert multiple fingers into S.B.'s vagina. S.B. was able to push Hobbs off of her, and tried to leave the bedroom, but Hobbs stopped her from doing so. Hobbs finally allowed S.B. to leave the room when she began banging on the widow and screaming for help.

{¶ 3} Once Hobbs allowed S.B. to leave the room, she called 911 and reported the rape. During the 911 call, Hobbs rushed at S.B. and hit her, causing the phone to fall down. Police arrived on the scene and took S.B. to the hospital. Police then went to Hobbs' apartment and found him bloodied from a knife wound to his arm. When asked how he was injured, Hobbs told police that S.B. had tried to kill him. Hobbs later admitted to police that he had stabbed himself to deflect suspicion away from himself and onto S.B. At the time of the incident, S.B. was 17 years old and Hobbs was 28.

{¶ 4} Hobbs was arrested and charged with rape, abduction, and assault. In exchange for his plea, the state agreed to amend the charges to gross sexual imposition and unlawful restraint, and dismissed the assault charge. Hobbs pled guilty to the reduced charges and was sentenced to five years of community control and deemed a Tier I sexual offender. Hobbs later violated the terms of his community control and was ordered to serve a 12-month prison sentence. The trial court later granted Hobbs judicial release after he had served approximately six months of his sentence. Hobbs later filed a petition for postconviction relief in 2010, in which he argued that there was new evidence that S.B. told the police inconsistent stories on the day of the incident and that his trial counsel was ineffective. The trial court denied Hobbs' motion.

{¶ 5} In August 2012, Hobbs filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea. At the hearing, Hobbs testified that he had received information through the Freedom of Information Act that demonstrated that S.B. told inconsistent stories to police and that a child services agency had investigated S.B.'s mother as a result of the incident to determine whether she was properly supervising S.B. Hobbs also testified that he and S.B. "chatted" on line, and that during their conversation, S.B. admitted to lying to police about the rape and making up the story because she was angry with him. Hobbs testified that he showed the conversation to his attorney before he pled guilty, but his attorney told Hobbs that they could not use it because of admissibility issues. Hobbs claimed during the hearing on his motion to withdraw his plea that he would not have pled guilty to the charges had he been aware of the inconsistent stories and child service investigation, and had his attorney agreed to use the chat room conversation as evidence. The trial court denied Hobbs' motion to withdraw his guilty plea. Hobbs now appeals the trial court's denial of his motion to withdraw his guilty plea, raising the following assignments of error.

{¶ 6} Assignment of Error No. 1:

{¶ 7} A PLEA THAT IS INVOLUNTARY, UNKNOWING AND MUST BE VACATED. [sic]

{¶ 8} In Hobbs' first assignment of error, he claims that the trial court erred in denying his motion to withdraw his guilty plea.

{¶ 9} Pursuant to Crim.R. 32.1, "a motion to withdraw a plea of guilty or no contest may be made only before sentence is imposed; but to correct manifest injustice the court after sentence may set aside the judgment of conviction and permit the defendant to withdraw his or her plea." A defendant who seeks to withdraw a plea of guilty after the imposition of sentence has the burden of establishing the existence of a manifest injustice. State v. Williams, 12th Dist. No. CA2012-08-060, 2013-Ohio-1387, ¶ 11, citing State v. Smith, 49 Ohio St.2d 261(1977), paragraph one of the syllabus. In general, manifest injustice relates to a fundamental flaw in the proceedings that results in a miscarriage of justice or is inconsistent with the demands of due process. Williams, 2013-Ohio-1387, citing State v. Williams, 12th Dist. No. CA2009-03-032, 2009-Ohio-6240, ¶ 11. Accordingly, a post-sentence motion to withdraw a guilty plea is "allowable only in extraordinary cases." Williams, 2013-Ohio-1387 at ¶ 12.

{¶ 10} A motion made pursuant to Crim.R. 32.1 is addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court. Smith, 49 Ohio St.2d at paragraph two of the syllabus. The good faith, credibility, and weight of the movant's assertions in support of the motion are matters to be resolved by that court. Id. Thus, we review a trial court's denial of a motion to withdraw a guilty plea for an abuse of discretion, and we reverse that denial only if it is ...


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