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State v. Jackson

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Mahoning

March 7, 2017

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
BRANDON JACKSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

         Criminal Appeal from Court of Common Pleas of Mahoning County, Ohio Case No. 13 CR 193, 13 CR 271A.

          For Plaintiff-Appellee Paul Gains Prosecutor Ralph M. Rivera Assistant Prosecutor

          For Defendant-Appellant Attorney Scott C. Essad

          JUDGES: Hon. Gene Donofrio Hon. Cheryl Waite Hon. Mary DeGenaro

          OPINION

          DONOFRIO, J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant, Brandon Jackson, appeals from a Mahoning County Common Pleas Court judgment overruling his post-sentence motions to withdraw his guilty pleas.

         {¶2} Appellant's motions to withdraw his guilty pleas stemmed from two separate criminal cases. Appellant reached a plea agreement with plaintiff-appellee, the State of Ohio, in both cases. In the first case (13 CR 193), appellant pleaded guilty to one count of possession of heroin, two counts of possession of cocaine, improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, and having weapons under a disability. And in the second case (13 CR 271A), appellant pleaded guilty to three counts of felonious assault, two counts of having weapons under disability, and one count of intimidation with a firearm specification.

         {¶3} The two cases proceeded to a single sentencing hearing on July 16, 2013. In case 13 CR 193, the trial court sentenced appellant to eight years on the possession of heroin count and one year on each of the other four counts, to be served concurrently, for a total sentence of eight years. In case 13 CR 271A, the court sentenced appellant to seven years on each of the three felonious assault counts, to be served concurrent with each other; three years on both of the having weapons under disability counts, to be served concurrent with each other and with the felonious assaults sentences; three years on the intimidation count, to be served concurrent to the other sentences; and three years on the firearm specification, to be served consecutive to the other sentences for a total sentence of ten years. The court ordered the sentence from 13 CR 271A to be served consecutive to the sentence in 13 CR 193. Thus, appellant's total sentence for both cases was 18 years.

         {¶4} Appellant filed a direct appeal with this court. State v. Jackson, 7th Dist. No. 13 MA 121, 2014-Ohio-2249. Appellant argued his counsel was ineffective in case 13 CR 193 for withdrawing a suppression motion and that the court erred in failing to inform him which sentence he was to serve first. This court overruled appellant's assignments of error and affirmed the trial court's judgment. Id. at ¶ 46.

         {¶5} Next, on November 3, 2014, appellant filed identical pro se motions to withdraw his guilty pleas in both cases. He asserted he did not enter his pleas knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently because his counsel misled and coerced him into pleading guilty. He claimed the plea agreement was that he would receive a total sentence of ten years but instead he received a total sentence of 18 years. The state filed responses urging the court to overrule the motions. The trial court overruled both motions in a January 15, 2015 judgment entry. Appellant did not appeal from this judgment entry.

         {¶6} On April 15, 2015, appellant once again filed identical pro se motions to withdraw his guilty pleas in both cases. This time appellant argued he expressed his preference to go to trial with his counsel yet his counsel advised him to cooperate with the state and enter a guilty plea. The state filed responses to appellant's motions arguing appellant was afforded full plea hearings before entering his guilty pleas and his desire to go to trial was not a valid reason to withdraw his pleas. The trial court overruled appellant's motions in a June 2, 2015 judgment entry.

         {¶7} Appellant filed a notice of appeal and a motion for a delayed appeal on July 31, 2015. This court granted appellant's motion for delayed appeal. We also appointed counsel. Nonetheless, appellant filed a pro se brief. In this case, we will consider counsel's brief and appellant's pro se brief.

         {¶8} Appellant's counsel now raises a single assignment of error:

THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION BY DENYING APPELLANT'S POST-SENTENCING MOTION TO WITHDRAW HIS GUILTY PLEA WITHOUT A HEARING. THE APPELLANT'S MOTION CLAIMED THAT HIS DEFENSE COUNSEL COERCED HIM TO CHANGE HIS PLEA TO GUILTY AND THAT APPELLANT WAS LED TO BELIEVE THAT IN CHANGING HIS PLEA, HIS SENTENCES WOULD RUN CONCURRENTLY RATHER THAN CONSECUTIVELY. THAT CONFUSION - THE SOLE REASON FOR ...

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