Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Mark Stanton Cuyahoga County Public
Defender BY: Noelle A. Powell Assistant Public Defender
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor By: Ryan J. Bokoch Yasmine M. Hasan
Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys
BEFORE: E.A. Gallagher, P.J., Stewart, J., and Jones, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
A. GALLAGHER, PRESIDING JUDGE
Defendant-appellant Romeo Kibble appeals his sentences
following his guilty pleas in the Cuyahoga County Court of
Common Pleas to eight counts of aggravated robbery, 18 counts
of kidnapping, improperly handling a firearm in a motor
vehicle, carrying a concealed weapon and possessing criminal
tools. For the following reasons, we affirm in part, and
reverse in part.
and Procedural Background
Kibble was involved in a string of robbery and kidnapping
offenses in which eight separate defendants, including his
brother Rodney Kibble, were charged. He pled to the above
offenses on September 16, 2015. At sentencing, the trial
court merged as allied offenses the kidnappings associated
with the various aggravated robbery offenses and the state
elected that Kibble be sentenced on the aggravated robberies.
The trial court imposed seven-year prison terms on each count
of aggravated robbery and each count of kidnapping that was
not merged as an allied offense. The court also imposed
prison terms of 18 months for Kibble's improperly
handling firearms in a motor vehicle and carrying a concealed
weapons charges and 12 months for his possessing criminal
tools charge. The court ordered the prison terms for these
offenses to be served concurrently to each other but
consecutive to two of the 3-year firearm specifications
attached to his aggravated robbery and kidnapping counts.
Pursuant to R.C. 2929.14(B)(1)(g) the court was required to
run the first two firearm specifications consecutive to each
other for a six-year prison term. All remaining firearm
specifications were order to be served concurrently.
Kibble's aggregate prison sentence was 13 years. The
trial court also ordered Kibble to pay restitution in the
amounts of $400 for an iPhone, $1, 000 to Sun Valley and $100
to the United Dairy Farmers.
In his first assignment of error, Kibble argues that his
sentence is inconsistent with the sentence of one of his
codefendants, Michael Bates, in that they both received
cumulative prison terms of 13 years despite Kibble's
belief that he deserved a lesser sentence than Bates due to
his cooperation with law enforcement after his arrest.
Pursuant to R.C. 2929.11(B) a sentence imposed for a felony
shall be "consistent with sentences imposed for similar
crimes committed by similar offenders." Pursuant to this
court's decision in State v. Jones, 8th Dist.
Cuyahoga Nos. 103290 and 103302, 2016-Ohio-7702, an appellate
court can reverse a felony sentence if it finds by clear and
convincing evidence that the record does not support the
sentence consistent with principles and purposes of felony
sentencing set forth in R.C. 2929.11 and the seriousness and
recidivism factors set forth in R.C. 2929.12. Id. at
¶ 108, citing State v. Marcum, 146 Ohio St.3d
516, 2016-Ohio-1002, 59 N.E.3d 1231, ¶ 23. Sentences
found to be inconsistent with R.C. 2929.11 and 2929.12 by
clear and convincing evidence on the record are
"contrary to law" for the purposes of R.C.
2953.08(A)(4). Id. at ¶ 108. The clear and
convincing standard is not to be confused with an "abuse
of discretion" standard that was explicitly rejected by
the legislature when it amended R.C. 2953.08(G) in
2000.Under the clear and convincing standard, an
appellate court is not to reverse a sentence merely because
it disagrees with the discretion exercised by the trial
court. Instead, reversals are limited to only the egregious
instances where the record demonstrates by clear and
convincing evidence that the trial court's sentence
contradicts the mandates of the relevant sentencing statutes.
Marcum at ¶ 23.
In this instance Kibble's two consecutive terms stemming
from his three-year firearm specifications were mandated by
R.C. 2929.14(B)(1)(g). Like Kibble, Bates received a six-year
prison term for two consecutive three-year firearm
specifications. Reducing Kibble's argument to the
relevant aspect of his sentencing, he complains that he
received the seven-year prison sentence for aggravated
robbery that Bates received for the same offense. Kibble
believes this is inconsistent because he was not properly
credited for cooperating with police after he was arrested.
It is not the responsibility of the court to provide
consideration to a defendant who has cooperated with law
enforcement officers nor should it be expected by any party.
The primary responsibility of the judiciary is to fairly and
impartially settle disputes according to the law. Should the
state be of the opinion that an individual has provided
valuable information and seeks to reward him/her ...