Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
Nos. CR-15-594143-A and CR-15-597429-A.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Russell S. Bensing
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor Andrea N. Isabella Assistant County
BEFORE: Stewart, J., McCormack, P.J., and E.T. Gallagher, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
J. STEWART, JUDGE
Defendant-appellant Redrick Ward pleaded guilty to having a
weapon while under disability in Cuyahoga C.P. No.
CR-15-594143. While awaiting sentencing on that case, he was
engaged in plea negotiations in Cuyahoga C.P. No.
CR-15-597429. He filed a pro se motion to withdraw his guilty
plea in CR-15-594143, but the court did not specifically rule
on the motion. Ward eventually pleaded guilty to burglary in
CR-15-597429. In a combined sentencing proceeding, the court
sentenced Ward to three years on the disability count and one
year on the burglary count, the terms to be served
consecutively. The issues on appeal are whether the court
abused its discretion by denying the motion to withdraw the
guilty plea and that the record fails to support the
court's finding that consecutive sentences were required.
Motion to Withdraw Guilty Plea
Ward argues that the court failed to give him a fair and
impartial hearing on the motion to withdraw the guilty plea.
Although the court did not specifically rule on the motion,
by proceeding to sentence Ward, we assume that the
court's failure to issue a ruling is tantamount to
denying the motion. State v. Larry, 8th Dist.
Cuyahoga No. 87534, 2006-Ohio-6578, ¶ 11.
"The scope of a hearing on a defendant's motion to
withdraw a plea should reflect the substantive merit of the
motion; bold assertions without evidentiary support do not
merit the scrutiny that substantiated allegations would
merit." State v. Small, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No.
104813, 2017-Ohio-110, ¶ 14, citing State v.
Hall, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 55289, 1989 Ohio App. LEXIS
1602, 2-3 (Apr. 27, 1989).
Ward's pro se motion to withdraw his guilty plea
contained a single sentence: "Redrick Ward, Defendant
moves this Court to withdraw plea; due to the terms and
conditions were not as agreed with parties or counsel; the
Defendant demonstrates the notice as an expedited filing to
withdraw the plea of the Defendant."
Ward failed to state what terms and conditions formed the
basis of his plea. Neither did Ward state how the plea as
entered differed in any respect from those terms and
conditions. The motion lacked any facial merit, so the court
was not obligated to conduct a full hearing.
In addition, the record indicates that Ward essentially
abandoned the motion to withdraw the guilty plea. When Ward
mentioned to the court that he had a pending motion to
withdraw his guilty plea in CR-15-594143, the court
acknowledged its awareness of the motion and told Ward that
"[t]ypically lawyers make a formal motion and you
can't just arbitrarily say that you want to withdraw your
plea. There has to be a real, legitimate motions [sic] -
reasons filed for it." Ward replied that he had reasons
for the motion. The court then told Ward that if he had what
he thought were legitimate reasons for filing the motion to
withdraw the guilty plea, he should speak to defense counsel
But the rules are pretty strict. So [defense counsel] would
have to be - he would be in a better position to answer those
questions for you. It doesn't change the fact that
you're here and you're scheduled now. Whether I would
or would not allow you to withdraw the plea, I don't
know, because I don't know what any of the reasons are. I
wouldn't make a decision based on this trial on that, on
that hope that might happen. Because it's -it may or may
not be a possibility. I don't know.
The court then stressed that the issue of the motion to
withdraw the guilty plea was completely separate and distinct
from the pending trial in CR-15-597429, and "whether or
not, you know, I let you withdraw a plea, which may or may
not happen. And that's something, again, you need to talk
to [defense counsel] about because I don't know what your
reasons are, okay?" The court went into recess. When it
reconvened, Ward told the court that he would not be
accepting the plea ...