Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Myriam A. Miranda.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor By: Andrea N. Isabella Assistant
BEFORE: S. Gallagher, J., Kilbane, P.J., and Boyle, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
C. GALLAGHER, JUDGE.
Lerashad Gross appeals his separate convictions for gross
sexual imposition and abduction that resulted in an aggregate
sentence of 42 months in prison. We affirm.
Gross did not provide a recitation of the facts as required
under App.R. 16(A)(6). We take this omission to mean that the
facts of Gross's criminal conduct are not dispositive of
or necessary to resolving the assigned error. App.R.
16(A)(6). ("The appellant shall include in its brief * *
* [a] statement of facts relevant to the assignments of error
presented for review, with appropriate references to the
record.") The state has not presented any facts of the
underlying criminal conduct either. Both parties are
apparently under the impression that a recitation of the
procedural history of the case, along with references to the
sentencing transcript, is enough to enable our review of the
legal issues advanced in the sole assignment of error.
Gross claims that the trial court erred at the sentencing
hearing by not providing reasons in support of the trial
court's findings under R.C. 2929.14(C)(4), and that the
imposition of consecutive sentences totaling 42 months is
clearly and convincingly contrary to law because it is
inconsistent with sentences imposed upon similarly situated
offenders and is disproportionate to the crime. We find no
merit to either argument, but also note that the legal
arguments in Gross's brief are identical to the ones
advanced in State v. Watkins, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No.
104507, 2017-Ohio-964. As a result, our decision is largely
limited to the conclusions reached in Watkins.
R.C. 2929.14(C)(4) permits the court to order consecutive
service of multiple sentences that (1) is necessary to
protect the public from future crime or to punish the
offender; (2) is not disproportionate to the seriousness of
the offender's conduct and to the danger the offender
poses to the public; and additionally, (3) if (a) the
offender committed the offense while awaiting trial or
sentencing, under community control monitoring, or under
postrelease control for a prior offense; (b) at least two of
the offenses caused harm so great and unusual that no single
term for any offense adequately reflects the seriousness of
the offender's conduct; or (c) the offender's history
of criminal conduct demonstrates the necessity of consecutive
sentences to protect the public from future crime.
Watkins at ¶ 5, citing State v. Jones,
8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 104152, 2016-Ohio-8145, ¶ 10, and
State v. Smeznik, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga Nos. 103196 and
103197, 2016-Ohio-709, ¶ 6.
We must affirm an order imposing consecutive service of the
prison terms, once the findings are made, unless it can be
clearly and convincingly found that the record does not
support the sentencing judge's findings. R.C.
2953.08(G)(2). This is an "extremely deferential"
standard of review and one written in the negative. State
v. Kirkman, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 103683,
2016-Ohio-5326, ¶ 6.
The crux of Gross's argument is that he believes the
42-month aggregate sentence is inconsistent with sentences
imposed on similarly situated offenders and is
disproportionate to the crimes Gross committed. Despite this
claim, no comparative sentencing data, to show how this
sentence was inconsistent or disproportionate to others, was
offered for the trial court's consideration. This issue
was not raised during the sentencing hearing, and simply
claiming that a 42-month aggregate sentence is
disproportionate to the offender's conduct and the danger
he poses to the public is not sufficient under the Rules of
Appellate Procedure. App.R. 16(A)(7); Watkins, 8th
Dist. Cuyahoga No. 104507, 2017-Ohio-964, at ¶ 6. In
addition, Gross has not provided a factual basis
demonstrating that his conduct in committing the crimes was
disproportionate to his 42-month aggregate sentence.
Gross also believes the trial court should have offered
reasons or additional analysis in justifying the sentence
imposed. It is well settled that a trial court need not
provide reasons in support of its consecutive-sentence
findings. State v. Bonnell, 140 Ohio St.3d 209,
2014-Ohio-3177, 16 N.E.3d 659, ¶ 37; Watkins at
¶ 7. Although not required, the trial court did offer a
fairly detailed account of the reasons for imposing the
sentence. Tr. 44:1-46:18. In addition to the required
findings, the trial court noted (1) the debilitating effect
of the sexual assault on the 17-year-old victim's psyche,
(2) Gross's substance abuse problems, and (3) the fact
that Gross was arrested for operating a vehicle while
intoxicated and endangering a child the day after pleading
guilty to the crimes in this case, all of which weighed
heavily in favor of the prison terms imposed. The trial court
also considered statements from the victim's family, the
presentence investigation report, the report prepared by the
court's psychiatric clinic, Gross's expression of
remorse, and arguments by counsel for the state and the
The trial court considered all that the law requires and made
the findings under R.C. 2929.14(C)(4), and there is no
argument that the record does not factually support the
consecutive-sentence findings. Watkins at ¶ 9.
The sole assignment of error must be overruled.