Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
APPELLANT Jeffrey L. Brown, pro se.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor BY: Brett Hammond Assistant County
BEFORE: Boyle, P.J., Laster Mays, J., and Celebrezze, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
J. BOYLE, P.J.
Defendant-appellant, Jeffrey L. Brown, appeals from a
judgment denying his motion to withdraw his plea and his
motion for resentencing. He raises five assignments of error
for our review:
1. The trial court erred when it denied Brown's motion
for resentencing pursuant to State v. Moore, 135
Ohio St.3d 151, 2012-Ohio-5479, 985 N.E.2d 432, thereby
depriving Brown of equal protection and due process of law
under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States
2. Brown was denied effective assistance of counsel in
violation of the Sixth Amendment to the United States
Constitution when trial counsel failed to inform Brown of the
mandatory fine prior to Brown pleading guilty.
3. Brown's pleas of guilty were not knowingly
intelligent, and voluntary because they were induced by
appellee's promise and the trial court's acceptance,
of an act prohibited by statute, thereby depriving Brown of
due process of law under the Fourteenth Amendment to the
United States Constitution.
4. The court erred when it permitted Brown to accept a plea
agreement that was the product of a mutual mistake of the
facts and law.
5. The trial court erred when it permitted [Brown] to enter
and agree to a void contract.
Finding merit to his first assignment of error, we affirm in
part and reverse in part, and remand for resentencing.
Procedural History and Factual Background
In April 2014, Brown pleaded guilty to one count of drug
trafficking in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(2), a
second-degree felony. At the same plea hearing, Brown also
pleaded guilty to drug trafficking in another case. The
following relevant procedural history is taken from
Brown's direct appeal in State v. Brown, 8th
Dist. Cuyahoga No. 101427, 2014-Ohio-5795.
On April 28, 2014, immediately prior to the plea hearing,
defense counsel requested a two-week continuance, stating
that Brown needed more time "because of the
circumstances." The trial court denied the request. The
state indicated that it was seeking concurrent time on the
cases, and the trial court stated that it was considering
"between four and five years collective on the
The trial court advised Brown of the rights a plea would
waive, as well as the possible sentence and period of
postrelease control; it did not advise him that [drug
trafficking] under Case No. CR-580403 [the underlying case in
this appeal] carried a mandatory $7, 500 fine. After being
satisfied that Brown was knowingly, intelligently, and
voluntarily waiving his rights, the court entered the plea
and the remaining counts of the indictments were dismissed.
The trial court indicated that it would immediately proceed
to sentencing. Defense counsel again requested a continuance
so that Brown "could get his affairs in order." The
trial court denied the request, stating that Brown had had
plenty of time to do so.
The assistant prosecuting attorney asked the court if it had
reminded Brown of his driver's license suspension. The
court previously had not and then informed Brown that his
license would be suspended for six months. The court
sentenced Brown to five years on the second-degree felony and
six months on the third-degree felony, to be served
The following day, April 29, 2014, another hearing was held
because it was brought to the trial court's attention
that it had failed to impose the mandatory $7, 500 fine.
Defense counsel stated that in "view of that deficiency,
[Brown] should be allowed to withdraw his plea and continue
this for a little bit * * *." The trial court stated
that it was not going to continue the case because
"[t]here's nothing he didn't understand, "
but defense counsel insisted "[w]ell, that's part of
the sentence that was not explained."
The court then asked whether Brown wanted to withdraw his
plea; defense counsel responded, "[y]eah, I think he
should." The court stated that if Brown withdrew his
plea, it would not entertain another plea. Defense counsel
was confused as to why not. The trial court again stated that
it was its belief that Brown "understood the
implication" of the plea, but nonetheless told counsel