Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Madison
APPEAL FROM MADISON COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS Case No.
Stephen J. Pronai, Madison County Prosecuting Attorney,
Rachel M. Price and Nicholas A. Adkins, for
Elizabeth N. Gaba, for defendant-appellant.
1} Defendant-appellant, Samuel D. Roome, appeals
from his conviction in the Madison County Court of Common
Pleas for one count of trafficking in drugs. For the reasons
outlined below, we affirm.
2} On March 9, 2016, the Madison County Grand Jury
returned an indictment charging Roome with one count of
trafficking in drugs in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(1), a
fifth-degree felony. The charge arose after Roome sold five
Suboxone sublingual film strips to a confidential informant
with the Madison County Drug Task Force. Roome was
subsequently arraigned on June 9, 2016.
3} On August 12, 2016, Roome filed a request for
intervention in lieu of conviction ("ILC"). Several
days later, on August 16, 2016, the state filed a memorandum
in opposition, wherein it stated that "requests for
intervention in lieu of conviction are traditionally denied
for drug trafficking despite eligibility." The following
day the trial court issued an entry denying Roome's
request for ILC that stated, in pertinent part:
"Defendant's Motion for Intervention in Lieu of
Conviction is Overruled. Defendant is charged with Drug
4} On September 1, 2016, Roome filed a renewed
request for ILC. The next day the trial court once again
denied Room's request for ILC. In so holding, the trial
The Court acknowledges the Defendant has been charged with an
offense which makes him statutorily eligible for Intervention
in Lieu of Conviction. The Court, pursuant to its discretion
granted in §2951.041(A)(1), rejects the Defendant's
request without hearing.
5} On September 6, 2016, Roome entered a no contest
plea to trafficking in drugs as charged. Thereafter, the
trial court sentenced Roome to two years of community
control, which included 60 days in jail, and ordered a
suspended one-year prison term. The trial court also ordered
Roome to pay court costs. Roome now appeals, raising three
assignments of error for review.
6} In his first and second assignments of error,
Roome argues the trial court erred by denying his requests
for ILC based on a "blanket policy of not considering
ILC motions from defendants with F5 drug trafficking charges,
even though these defendants are eligible for consideration
by statute." According to Roome, this violated his due
process and equal protection rights as provided for by the
United States and Ohio Constitutions.
7} ILC is a procedure governed by R.C. 2951.041.
State v. Birch, 12th Dist. Butler No. CA2010-10-256,
2012-Ohio-543, ¶ 28. Pursuant to that statute, if an
offender is charged with a crime, and the trial court has
reason to believe that drug or alcohol use was a factor
leading to the commission of that crime, "the court may
accept, prior to the entry of a guilty plea, the
offender's request for intervention in lieu of
conviction." R.C. 2951.041(A)(1). However, even when an
offender is eligible for ILC, the statute does not create a
legal right to ILC. State v. Crawford, 12th Dist.
Fayette No. CA2012-10-034, 2013-Ohio-2280, ¶ 5. The
statute is "permissive in nature and provides that the
trial court may, in its discretion, grant the defendant an
opportunity to participate in the early intervention in lieu
of a sentence." State v. Nealeigh, 2d Dist.
Champaign No. 2010CA28, 2011-Ohio-1416, ¶ 9. Thus, ILC
is considered a privilege, not a right. Birch at
8} A trial court's decision to deny an
offender's request for ILC is reviewed under an abuse of
discretion standard. State v. Casto, 12th Dist.
Clinton No. CA2008-08-033, 2009-Ohio-791, ¶ 12. An abuse
of discretion is more than an error of law or judgment.
State v. Miller, 12th Dist. Butler No.
CA2016-01-007, 2016-Ohio-7360, ¶ 7. Rather, it suggests
the "trial court's decision was unreasonable,
arbitrary or unconscionable." State v. Perkins,
12th Dist. Clinton No. CA2005-01-002, 2005-Ohio-6557, ¶
8. A decision is unreasonable when it is "unsupported by
a sound reasoning process." State v. Abdullah,
10th Dist. Franklin No. 07AP-427, 2007-Ohio-7010, ¶ 16,
citing AAAA Ents., Inc. v. River Place Community Urban
Redevelopment Corp., 50 Ohio St.3d 157, 161 (1990).
9} As noted above, Roome argues the trial court has
developed a "blanket policy" not to consider any
request for ILC when the eligible offender, like himself, was
charged with trafficking in drugs. According to Roome, this
"policy" was exposed by the state's August 16,
2016 memorandum in opposition to his first request for ILC
when the state noted that "requests for intervention in
lieu of conviction are traditionally denied for drug
trafficking despite eligibility, " as well as the trial
court's August 17, 2016 decision to ...