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State v. Hall

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

March 7, 2017

State of Ohio, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
James K. Hall, Defendant-Appellant.

         APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas (C.P.C. No. 07CR01-1539)

          On brief: Ron O'Brien, Prosecuting Attorney, and Barbara A. Farnbacher, for appellee.

          On brief: Carpenter Lipps & Leland LLP, Kort Gatterdam and Erik P. Henry, for appellant.

          DECISION

          KLATT, J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, James K. Hall, appeals from a judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas denying his motion to vacate judgment and to withdraw guilty plea. For the following reasons, we affirm that judgment.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         {¶ 2} In 2007, appellant pled guilty to two counts of aggravated robbery and one count of felonious assault. The trial court sentenced him to eight-year concurrent prison terms for each of his aggravated robbery convictions, a consecutive three-year term for a firearm specification, and an eight-year consecutive term for his felonious assault conviction for a total sentence of 19 years in prison. On appeal, this court vacated that sentence and remanded the matter for resentencing after concluding that "[t]he trial court's statements at the sentencing hearing support appellant's claim that the court improperly relied upon his refusal to testify as an aggravating factor in calculating his sentence." State v. Hall, 179 Ohio App.3d 727, 2008-Ohio-6228, ¶ 20 (10th Dist).

         {¶ 3} On remand, the original sentencing judge recused herself and a new judge was assigned to sentence appellant. That judge sentenced him to nine-year concurrent prison terms for each of his aggravated robbery convictions, a consecutive three-year term for a firearm specification, and an eight-year consecutive term for his felonious assault conviction for a total sentence of 20 years in prison. This court affirmed that sentence. State v. Hall, 10th Dist. No. 09AP-302, 2009-Ohio-5712.

         {¶ 4} In January 2016, almost seven years after his resentencing, appellant filed a motion requesting the trial court to vacate its resentencing entry because the court did not impose a sentence on all of his convictions. He also asked to withdraw his guilty plea because the trial court failed to determine that he entered his plea with a full understanding of the penalties involved. The trial court denied appellant's motion, both on res judicata grounds and also for his failure to demonstrate a manifest injustice necessary for the postsentence withdrawal of a plea.

         II. Appellant's Appeal

         {¶ 5} Appellant appealed to this court. His appellate counsel, however, filed a motion to withdraw and a brief pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967), stating that he could find no errors prejudicial to appellant which may be argued to this court on appeal. In Anders, the United States Supreme Court held if, after a conscientious examination of the record, a defendant's counsel concludes the appeal is wholly frivolous, counsel should so advise the court and request permission to withdraw. Id. at 744. Counsel must accompany this request with a brief identifying anything in the record that could arguably support the client's appeal. Counsel also must furnish the client with a copy of the brief and request to withdraw and allow the client sufficient time to raise any matters that the client chooses. Id. Once the defendant's counsel satisfies these requirements, the appellate court must fully examine the proceedings below to determine whether the case is wholly frivolous. If the appellate court also determines the appeal is wholly frivolous, it may grant counsel's request to withdraw and dismiss the appeal without violating constitutional requirements or may proceed to a decision on the merits if state law so requires. Id. On the other hand, if this court concludes that there are arguably meritorious issues for appeal, and therefore not wholly frivolous, we must afford appellant the assistance of counsel to address those issues. Id.; State v. Hudson, 10th Dist. No. 14AP-868, 2015-Ohio-3975, ¶ 5.

         {¶ 6} Appellate counsel in this matter has followed the procedure in Anders and we have already granted counsel's motion to withdraw. This court also notified appellant of his counsel's representations and afforded him ample time to file a pro se brief. Appellant did not file such a brief. This case is now before us for an independent review to decide whether any arguably meritorious issues exist. State v. Muhammad, 10th Dist. No. 12AP-906, 2013-Ohio-2776, ¶ 6.

         A. Did the Trial Court Err in Denying Appellant's Motion to Vacate Sentence and to Withdraw Plea?

         {¶ 7} In counsel's Anders brief, he proposes one potential assignment of error, in which he argues that the trial court erred in denying appellant's ...


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