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State v. Royal

Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton

June 7, 2017

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
NEAL ROYAL, Defendant-Appellant.

         Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas TRIAL NO. B-1601222-A

          Joseph T. Deters, Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney, and Sean M. Donovan, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Plaintiff-Appellee,

          Engel & Martin, LLC, and Joshua Adam Engel, for Defendant-Appellant.

          OPINION

          Myers, Judge.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant Neal Royal appeals the judgment of the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court denying his postsentence motion to withdraw his guilty pleas.

         {¶2} Royal was indicted for two counts of felonious assault under R.C. 2903.11(A)(1), two counts of child endangering under R.C. 2919.22(B)(2), and two counts of child endangering under R.C. 2919.22(B)(3). On July 11, 2016, in exchange for the state's dismissal of four counts, Royal entered guilty pleas to one count of felonious assault and one count of child endangering, both of which were felonies of the second degree. The trial court found Royal guilty and continued the matter for sentencing.

         {¶3} At the sentencing hearing on August 11, 2016, the trial court sentenced Royal to consecutive seven-year prison terms, for an aggregate 14-year prison sentence. Upon hearing the sentence, Royal told the court that he wanted to withdraw his pleas because his attorney had told him that he would receive "four to six years."

         {¶4} The trial court asked defense counsel whether Royal's assertion was correct. Defense counsel responded:

I did not[.] * * * I told him the window of potential sentence was two to 16 years, your Honor; that it could be two years, it could be 16 years; that same and similar cases here in Hamilton County have had the range between two to six. I said that I think it would - - it would come in between a four and six year sentence is what I told him. But I said the judge had the decision between two and 16.

         {¶5} After hearing from both Royal and defense counsel, the trial court stated:

I know at the time of the plea it's always been my practice to ask you whether there were any promises made to you. And I'm free to sentence within the range, but just so long as it's within the bounds of the law.
Now, at this point I'm denying your request to withdraw your plea, sir. If you wish, you may file the appropriate motion with the Court. But based on what I've heard here, it's just that you're not happy with the sentence. So it's denied at this point.
If you want to retain counsel for appeal, you have 30 days ...

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