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State v. Davis

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

August 24, 2017


         Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-16-603623-A

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT James J. Hofelich.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor By: Andrew F. Rogalski Assistant County Prosecutor Justice Center.

          BEFORE: McCormack, P.J., E.T. Gallagher, J., and S. Gallagher, J.



         {¶1} Defendant-appellant Roderick Davis appeals from his conviction following a guilty plea to one count of kidnapping. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

         {¶2} Davis was charged in a three-count indictment: Count 1 - rape in violation of R.C. 2907.02(A)(1)(b); Count 2 - gross sexual imposition in violation of R.C. 2907.05(A)(4); and Count 3 - kidnapping in violation of R.C. 2905.01(A)(4), with a sexual motivation specification. The charges stem from an incident that occurred in January 2016 and involved a ten-year-old child.

         {¶3} Davis initially entered a plea of not guilty to the charges. In response to Davis's concern with his appointed counsel and appointed counsel's request to withdraw from the matter, the trial court assigned new counsel. Thereafter, with the assistance of new counsel, Davis withdrew his previously entered not guilty plea and pleaded guilty to amended Count 3, kidnapping, without the sexual motivation specification. In exchange for the guilty plea, the state agreed to nolle the remaining charges.

         {¶4} After engaging in a Crim.R. 11 plea colloquy with Davis and advising Davis of the terms of the plea agreement and the rights he was waiving, the trial court accepted his guilty plea, finding that it was knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily made. The court found Davis guilty and ordered a presentence investigation report. On a later date, the court determined that Davis had not overcome the presumption of prison and it sentenced Davis to seven years imprisonment.

         {¶5} Davis now appeals. In two assignments of error, Davis claims he was denied the effective assistance of counsel and the trial court abused its discretion by inquiring into the parties' pretrial negotiations for sentencing purposes.

         {¶6} With respect to Davis's first claim, he argues that trial counsel was ineffective in not properly advising him of the elements of kidnapping, and had he been properly advised, it is "unlikely" he would have entered the plea agreement. In support, he refers to two statements in the record: trial counsel's assertion that his client "would never agree to plead to any type of sexual offense" and Davis's statement after receiving his sentence that "[t]his is a big misunderstanding of how everything went down."

         {¶7} In order to establish a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, the defendant must show that his trial counsel's performance was deficient in some aspect of his representation and that deficiency prejudiced his defense. Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984). Under Strickland, our scrutiny of an attorney's representation must be highly deferential, and we must indulge "a strong presumption that counsel's conduct falls within the range of reasonable professional assistance." Id. at 689.

         {¶8} In proving ineffective assistance in the context of a guilty plea, the defendant must demonstrate that there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's errors, he would not have pleaded guilty and he would have insisted on going to trial. State v. Wright, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 104134, 2016-Ohio-7493, ¶ 5. In analyzing prejudice in a plea, the court must consider all of the factors that surround the decision to plead, including the benefits associated with a plea and the possible punishments involved. Id; see also State v. Strong, 11th Dist. Ashtabula No. 2013-A-0003, 2013-Ohio-5189, ¶ 19.

         {¶9} Generally, a guilty plea waives all appealable errors that may have occurred in the trial court, including a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, unless the errors precluded the defendant from knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily entering a guilty plea. State v. Davis, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 103764, 2016-Ohio-7222, ¶ 23, citing State v. Geraci, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga Nos. 101946 and 101947, 2015-Ohio-2699, ΒΆ 14. Therefore, a guilty plea waives the right to claim ineffective assistance of counsel "except to the extent that the defect or ineffective assistance caused [the ...

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