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State v. Straley

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fourth District

July 24, 2013

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
GREGORY S. STRALEY, Defendant-Appellant.

Gregory S. Straley, Chillicothe, Ohio, pro se, Appellant.

Anneka P. Collins, Highland County Prosecuting Attorney, Hillsboro, Ohio, for Appellee.

DECISION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY

Hoover, J.

{¶ 1} This is an appeal from a judgment of the Highland County Court of Common Pleas. Appellant had filed a "Motion to Correct Registration and Classification Scheme." In response to said motion, the trial court vacated the classification and registration reporting requirements of five of the eight counts to which the appellant pleaded guilty. The trial court overruled appellant's motion for the remaining three counts. The trial court also issued a nunc pro tunc judgment entry on March 22, 2012 that listed appellant as a Tier I sex offender, instead of his classification given at sentencing as a Tier III sex offender. For the following reasons, the judgment of the trial court is reversed and this cause is remanded for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion.

{¶ 2} Appellant, Gregory S. Straley, sets forth one assignment of error:

" THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION BY DENYING APPELLANT'S MOTION TO CORRECT REGISTRATION AND CLASSIFICATION SENTENCING."

{¶3} The record reveals the following facts. On January 9, 2009, appellant entered a plea of guilty to two counts of gross sexual imposition, third degree felonies, in violation of R.C. 2907.05(A)(4), three counts sexual battery, second degree felonies, in violation of R.C. 2907.03(A)(5), two counts of gross sexual imposition, fourth degree felonies, in violation of R.C. 2907.05(A)(1), and one count sexual battery, a third degree felony, in violation of R.C. 2907.03(A)(5). At the sentencing hearing, the trial court classified appellant as a Tier III sex offender and sentenced him to thirty-five years and ten months in prison. The judgment entry of confinement of January 9, 2009 did not specify appellant's sex offender classification. The appellant filed a direct appeal of his conviction and sentence to this court on February 6, 2009. We affirmed appellant's convictions in State v. Straley, 4th Dist. No. 09CA4, 2009-Ohio-6170.

{¶ 4} On January 30, 2012, appellant filed a "Motion to Correct Registration and Classification Scheme, " asking the court to resentence him under proper sentencing guidelines. Appellant relied upon the Ohio Supreme Court's ruling in State v. Williams, 129 Ohio St.3d 344, 2011-Ohio-3374, 952 N.E.2d 1108, which found that S.B. 10, based on the federal Adam Walsh Act, violated the Ohio Constitution with respect to sex offenders who committed offenses prior to its enactment.

{¶ 5} The trial court vacated appellant's classification and registration reporting requirements as a Tier III sex offender as to counts one, two, five, six, and seven of the indictment to which he had pleaded guilty. The trial court overruled appellant's motion as to the remaining counts eight, nine, and twelve because it reasoned that the criminal conduct occurred between May 1, 2007 and February 10, 2008.[1]

{¶ 6} On February 2, 2012, appellant filed his notice of appeal of the denial of his motion with respect to the three (3) counts. On March 22, 2012 the trial court issued a nunc pro tunc judgment entry of confinement stating that appellant is a Tier I sex offender rather than a Tier III sex offender.

{¶ 7} Appellant sets forth several arguments within his sole assignment of error. First, he argues that the trial court erred by classifying him under S.B. 10, Ohio's Adam Walsh Act. He also contends the court failed to inform him under Crim.R.11 about the two different classification schemes set forth in Ohio's Adam Walsh Act and Ohio's Megan's Law. Appellant contends that he would not have pleaded guilty if he had been advised of the additional burdens of Ohio's Adam Walsh Act. Lastly, appellant claims that the nunc pro tunc judgment entry issued by the trial court invalidly changed his sentencing from a Tier III offender to a Tier I offender.

{¶ 8} This appeal raises constitutional issues regarding the retroactive application of S.B. 10, codified in R.C. Chapter 2950. To the extent that we must interpret and apply [the Ohio Revised Code], our review is de novo. State v. Knowlton, 2012-Ohio-2350, 971 N.E.2d 395 ¶ 29 (4th Dist.). See, also State v. Rayburn, 4th Dist. No.09CA6, 2010-Ohio-5693, ¶25.

{¶ 9} Ohio's current sex offender registration requirements are codified in R.C. Chapter 2950. The current classification system was enacted by S.B. 10, Ohio's version of the federal Adam Walsh Act. Before enactment of S.B. 10 (Ohio's Adam Walsh Act), Ohio's "Megan's Law" governed classification of sex offender requirements. Ohio's Megan's Law subjected a sex offender to registration requirements based upon his adjudication as a sexually oriented offender, habitual sex offender, or sexual predator. State v. Lawson, 1st Dist. Nos. C-120077 & C-120067, 2012-Ohio-5281, ¶ 10. The General Assembly replaced Ohio's Megan Law with S.B. 10. Id. at ¶ 11. Under S.B. 10, which became effective January 1, 2008, a sex offender is classified under a three-tiered structure automatically based upon the offense convicted. [The] classification determines [the] registration requirements; and those requirements are more onerous than those provided for under Megan's Law. Id.

{¶ 10} The Supreme Court of Ohio has held that S.B.10 or Ohio's Adam Walsh Act, "as applied to defendants who committed sex offenses prior to its enactment violates Section 28, Article II of the Ohio Constitution, which prohibits the General Assembly from passing retroactive laws." State v. Williams, ...


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