CRIMINAL APPEAL FROM CLERMONT COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS Case No. 2012-CR-00798
D. Vincent Faris, Clermont County Prosecuting Attorney, Judith A. Brant, for plaintiff-appellee
Christine Tailer, for defendant-appellant
S. POWELL, P.J.
(¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, James Shannon Pearce, appeals from his conviction and sentence in the Clermont County Court of Common Pleas following his guilty plea to possession of criminal tools, forgery, and telecommunications fraud. For the reasons outlined below, we affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings.
(¶ 2} On October 15, 2012, Pearce, along with his co-defendants, Amanuel Tesfazgi and Robert and Joshua Cooley, were arrested at a local Red Roof Inn after they attempted to use a fraudulent gift card at a Speedway gas station located in Union Township, Clermont County, Ohio. The men were discovered with computers and other devices that they used to manufacture gift cards with illegally obtained credit card information from unsuspecting victims overseas. At the time of his arrest, Pearce was on postrelease control resulting from his prior fourth-degree felony theft conviction in the Scioto County Court of Common Pleas in Case No. 10CR000799. Pearce had been released from prison at the completion of his 18-month sentence on February 7, 2012.
(¶ 3} On October 24, 2012, Pearce was indicted on one count each of possession of criminal tools, forgery, telecommunications fraud, and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. On November 15, 2012, after entering into a plea agreement, Pearce pled guilty to the possession of criminal tools, forgery, and telecommunications fraud charges, with the charge of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity being dismissed. Following Pearce's guilty plea, the trial court ordered a presentence investigation and scheduled a sentencing hearing for December 4, 2012. However, prior to sentencing, Pearce filed a memorandum requesting the trial court to merge the possession of criminal tools and forgery charges for purposes of sentencing. Pearce did not request the trial court to merge the telecommunications charge. The trial court rescheduled the sentencing hearing for December 20, 2012, 317 days after Pearce was released from prison and placed on postrelease control.
(¶ 4} On December 20, 2012, the trial court granted Pearce's motion to merge the possession of crim inal tools and forgery charges for purposes of sentencing. The state then elected to proceed on sentencing for the possession of criminal tools charge, and the trial court sentenced Pearce to serve an aggregate of 18 months in prison consisting of two consecutive 9-month prison terms. In addition, relying on the presentence investigation report ("PSI"), which indicated Pearce was subject to a four-year term of postrelease control, the trial court ordered Pearce to serve an additional three years and 48 days for violating his postrelease control obligations, the total amount of time the trial court determined was remaining on his supposed four-year postrelease control term.
(¶ 5} Pearce now appeals from his conviction and sentence, raising three assignments of error for review.
(¶ 6} Assignment of Error No. 1:
(¶ 7} THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT FOUND APPELLANT GUILTY OF COUNT THREE, TELECOMMUNICATIONS FRAUD, WHEN THERE WERE INSUFFICIENT FACTS SET FORTH AT THE PLEA HEARING TO CONSTITUTE THE OFFENSE.
(¶ 8} In his first assignment of error, Pearce argues the trial court erred in accepting his guilty plea to telecommunications fraud. In support of this claim, Pearce argues that accepting his guilty plea was in error as the state "did not submit any factual basis on which to support a finding of guilty." (Emphasis sic.) However, not only do we find the state submitted sufficient facts to support a conviction, it is well-established that a guilty plea "is a complete admission of the defendant's guilt." Crim.R. 11(B)(1); State v. Bach, 12th Dist. Warren No. CA2005-05-057, 2006-Ohio-501, ¶ 5. In turn, by entering a guilty plea, Pearce not only stated that he did the acts described in the indictment, but he also admitted guilt of the substantive crime. State v. Fuller, 12th Dist. Butler No. CA2008-09-240, 2009-Ohio-5068, ¶ 105.
(¶ 9} As this court has consistently stated, upon entering a guilty plea, the defendant effectively "waive[s] the right to require the state to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." State v. Taylor, 12th Dist. Warren No. CA2011-08-054, 2011-Ohio-6797, ¶ 7.
(¶ 10} "Consequently, there is no evidence to consider, and the trial court was not required to determine whether a factual basis existed to support the guilty plea, prior to entering judgment on that plea." State v. Isbell, 12th Dist. Butler No. CA2003-06-152, 2004-Ohio-2300, ¶ 16; State v. Wood, 48 Ohio App.2d 339, 344 (8th Dist.1976). Therefore, as his guilty plea serves as a complete ...