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State v. Jones

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Lorain

March 31, 2017

STATE OF OHIO Appellee
v.
KEVIN JONES Appellant

         APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF LORAIN, OHIO CASE No. 15-CR-090872

          BRIAN J. DARLING, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          DENNIS P. WILL, Prosecuting Attorney, and NATASHA RUIZ GUERRIERI, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          SCHAFER, JUDGE.

         {¶1} Defendant-Appellant, Kevin D. Jones, appeals the sentence imposed by the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

         I.

         {¶2} Officers from the Elyria Police Department arrested Jones in the early morning hours of December 16, 2014, after Jones entered his girlfriend's apartment and beat her in front of their infant daughter. As a result of this incident, the Lorain County Grand Jury indicted Jones on the following four offenses: (1) aggravated burglary in violation of R.C. 2911.11(A)(1), a first-degree felony; (2) felonious assault in violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(1), a second-degree felony; (3) menacing by stalking in violation of R.C. 2903.211(A)(1), a fourth-degree felony; and (4) domestic violence in violation of R.C. 2919.25(A), a first-degree misdemeanor. Jones entered a not guilty plea to each of the charges contained in the indictment. Jones waived his right to a jury trial and the matter proceeded as a trial to the bench.

         {¶3} At the conclusion of the trial, the trial court found Jones guilty on all counts contained in the indictment. At the sentencing hearing, the trial court determined that the domestic abuse count merged with the felonious assault count for purposes of sentencing. The trial court then proceeded to sentence Jones to three years in prison on the aggravated burglary count and six years in prison on the felonious assault count. The trial court ordered that those sentences be served consecutively, but specifically avoided determining whether the sentence was mandatory under R.C. 2929.13(F)(6). The trial court also sentenced Jones to seven months in prison on the menacing by stalking count, but ordered that sentence to be served concurrently with the aggravated burglary count. In sum, the trial court sentenced Jones to nine years in prison and ordered that the sentence in this case be served consecutively to the sentences imposed in Jones's other criminal cases that are not relevant to this appeal.

         {¶4} Jones filed this timely appeal, raising one assignment of error for this Court's review.

         II.

         Assignment of Error

         The trial court violated Mr. Jones's right to due process by declining to rule on whether Mr. Jones's prior juvenile adjudication is a conviction for purposes of R.C. 2929.13(F)(6), and the court should decide whether Mr. Jones's prior juvenile adjudication is a conviction for purposes of R.C. 2929.13(F)(6).

         {¶5} In his sole assignment of error, Jones argues that the trial court erred by explicitly refusing to determine whether his prior delinquency adjudication constituted a conviction for purposes of R.C. 2929.13(F)(6).[1] Particularly, Jones contends that the trial court's abstention in this regard was erroneous because the resolution of this issue necessarily dictates whether his nine-year prison sentence in this matter is mandatory, or whether he will be eligible for judicial release. We disagree with Jones's argument since we determine that the trial court's indecision constitutes harmless error.

         {¶6} R.C. 2929.19(B)(2)(a) provides that, "if the sentencing court determines at the sentencing hearing that a prison term is necessary or required, the court shall * * * [i]mpose a stated prison term and, if the court imposes a mandatory prison term, notify the offender that the prison term is a mandatory prison term." In this case, the trial court determined that a prison term was appropriate. The trial court then proceeded to sentence Jones ...


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