APPEAL FROM COMMON PLEAS COURT
E. Cantrell, West Union, Ohio, for appellant.
Kelley, Adams County Prosecuting Attorney, and Kris D.
Blanton, Adams County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, West
Union, Ohio, for appellee.
DECISION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY
B. Abele, Judge
1} This is an appeal from an Adams County Common Pleas Court
judgment of conviction and sentence. A jury found Aaron M.
Taylor, defendant below and appellant herein, guilty of
possession of heroin, in violation of R.C. 2925.11(A).
Appellant assigns the following errors for review:
ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR:
COURT COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR IN DENYING THE
DEFENDANT'S REQUEST TO PLEAD GUILTY AS CHARGED."
ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR:
COURT COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR IN SENTENCING DEFENDANT TO A
HARSHER SENTENCE DUE TO A JURY TRIAL."
2} On June 5, 2015, an Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper
conducted a routine traffic stop of appellant's vehicle.
During the stop, the trooper saw marijuana inside the
vehicle. A subsequent search uncovered heroin in the vehicle
and on appellant's person.
3} Subsequently, an Adams County grand jury returned an
indictment that charged appellant with possession of heroin,
in violation of R.C. 2925.11(A). Appellant entered a not
guilty plea and the trial court set the case for a jury
4} Immediately before the trial began, appellant's
counsel informed the court that appellant wished to plead
guilty. The court responded:
No, we are done with those days where we wait until the last
minute and we inconvenience 80 people or 100 people. He
wanted a trial, he'll get a trial, but I am not going to,
this is not going to be happening in this court any more
where for some reason I think there was some late evidence on
Friday, discovery since December 1st, we have had
multiple hearings, so I don't know, it will be an
interesting appealable issue.
counsel clarified that he did not receive the "late
evidence" that the court mentioned until 3:00 pm on the
last business day (Friday) before the date the trial was set
to begin (Monday). Appellant's counsel stated that
"if we had had [the evidence] brought to us earlier it
might have been a different story." The court
nevertheless denied appellant's request to plead guilty.
The court did, however, grant appellant's request to
prohibit the state from introducing the late
evidence. After hearing the evidence, the jury found
appellant guilty as charged.
5} At the sentencing hearing, the trial court considered
appellant's criminal history. The court noted that
appellant (1) had been convicted of obstructing official
business, and (2) had multiple traffic violations (i.e.,
speeding and seat belt violations, failure to control,
failure to maintain an assured clear distance). The court
further observed that in 2012, appellant was charged with
operating a vehicle while intoxicated and involuntary
manslaughter, but due to a technicality (appellant's
blood test apparently was misplaced), the case was dismissed
with prejudice. Appellant admitted that he was on Methadone
at the time of the accident that resulted in the involuntary
manslaughter charge and that he continues to use Methadone to
treat his addiction.
6} With respect to appellant's current possession of
heroin offense, the trial court determined that appellant did
not display any remorse. The court also noted that the
excluded videotape evidence shows appellant snorting heroin
in the back seat of the police cruiser. The judge further
pointed out that appellant knew exactly what happened and
that the evidence on the videotape should not have been a
surprise. The court thus discounted appellant's claim
that he could not have made an informed decision whether to
plead guilty without the earlier disclosure of the videotape.
The court noted that appellant knew exactly what happened,
yet decided to proceed to trial and inconvenience jurors-some
7} The trial court additionally expressed its displeasure
with the sentencing provisions contained in House Bill 86.
The judge informed appellant: "I think you should go to
prison. I think it should be for the maximum, and I think you
should get your automatic appellate rights and see what they
do." The court continued:
Mr. Taylor, you are a master manipulator, I see them all the
time in here. But I see few as good as you. You are
oblivious, you are self-serving. In order to protect the
public from future crimes by you for awhile, and without the
ability to send you to prison, to maybe shock your
conscience, nothing has ever shocked your conscience.
You're in jail for six months, we have a dead man, his
family is grieving, and you're lit up on State Route 32
with heroine [sic] and syringes and doing heroine [sic] in
the back of the patrol car.
court thus sentenced appellant to serve four years of
community control, two hundred forty hours of community
service, pay a $750 fine, serve one hundred sixty days in
county jail, and serve a ...