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State v. Willis

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fourth District, Scioto

June 14, 2017

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
BRITTANI A. WILLIS, Defendant-Appellant.

         CRIMINAL CASE FROM COMMON PLEAS COURT

          Timothy Young, Ohio State Public Defender, and Peter Galyardt, Assistant State Public Defender, Columbus, Ohio, for Appellant.

          Mark E. Kuhn, Scioto Count Prosecuting Attorney, and Jay Willis, Scioto County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Portsmouth, Ohio, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY

          Peter B. Abele, Judge

         {¶ 1} This is an appeal from a Scioto County Common Pleas Court judgment of conviction and sentence. Brittani Willis, defendant below and appellant herein, raises the following assignments of error for review:

         FIRST ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR:

         "BRITTANI WILLIS WAS DEPRIVED OF HER RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS WHEN THE TRIAL COURT ACCEPTED AN UNKNOWING, UNINTELLIGENT, AND INVOLUNTARY GUILTY PLEA. FIFTH AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS, UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION; SECTIONS 10 AND 16, ARTICLE I, OHIO CONSTITUTION. R.C. 2929.20. PLEA TR. 2-12."

         SECOND ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR:

         "BRITTANI WILLIS WAS DEPRIVED OF HER CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO THE EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL. FIFTH, SIXTH, AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS, UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION; SECTIONS 10 AND 16, ARTICLE I, OHIO CONSTITUTION. R.C. 2929.20. PLEA TR. 2-12."

         THIRD ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR:

         "BRITTANI WILLIS'S CONSECUTIVE SENTENCES ARE CONTRARY TO LAW. R.C. 2929.14(C). SENTENCING TR. 2, 8-11. OCT. 5, 2016 SENTENCING ENTRY."

         {¶ 2} On April 4, 2014, appellant was a passenger in a vehicle that had been stopped for a traffic violation. Subsequently, a law enforcement officer's execution of a search warrant uncovered two packages that contained 117 grams of heroin. The Scioto County Grand Jury returned an indictment that charged appellant with trafficking in heroin and the possession of heroin, both first degree felonies, and tampering with evidence, a third degree felony.

         {¶ 3} On June 6, 2014, pursuant to the parties' agreement, appellant pled guilty to (1) trafficking in heroin, a first degree felony; (2) an amended charge of possession of heroin, a third degree felony; and (3) tampering with evidence, a third degree felony. The trial court accepted the parties' agreement that (1) provided for consecutive sentences for an aggregate term of ten years in prison; and (2) stated that appellant would be eligible to a judicial release at five and one-half years and that the appellee would agree to a judicial release at seven years. At the hearing the court also informed appellant that if she failed to return to the court for sentencing, the court would impose a seventeen year prison term.

         {¶ 4} Unfortunately, appellant failed to heed the trial court's warning and remained at large for approximately two years. After appellant appeared for sentencing on September 30, 2016, the trial court imposed an aggregate prison sentence of eleven ...


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