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State v. Wise

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Belmont

September 5, 2017

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
DANNY LEE WISE, JR., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

         Criminal Appeal from Court of Common Pleas of Belmont County, Ohio Case No. 15 CR 263

          For Defendant-Appellant Attorney John Jurco

          Hon. Gene Donofrio Hon. Mary DeGenaro Hon. Carol Ann Robb

          OPINION

          DONOFRIO, J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant, Danny Lee Wise, appeals from a Belmont County Common Pleas Court judgment convicting him of inducing panic, following his guilty plea, and the sentence that followed.

         {¶2} On November 4, 2015, during school hours, an unidentified male called the Bridgeport Elementary School and made a threat that there was a bomb in the building. The school was evacuated. No bomb was found. Police later arrested appellant for the crime.

         {¶3} On December 3, 2015, a Belmont County Grand Jury indicted appellant on one count of inducing panic, a second-degree felony in violation of R.C. 2917.31(A)(1)(C)(5). When the public place involved in inducing panic is a school, the offense is a second-degree felony. Appellant initially entered a not guilty plea.

         {¶4} Appellant later changed his plea to guilty to the crime charged. In exchange for his plea, plaintiff-appellee, the State of Ohio, agreed to recommend a less-than-maximum sentence. The trial court conducted a change-of-plea colloquy with appellant where it advised him of the rights he was giving up and advised him that it was not bound to follow any sentencing recommendations. Appellant indicated that he understood these things. The court accepted appellant's guilty plea, ordered a presentence investigation and a victim impact statement, and scheduled the matter for sentencing.

         {¶5} Subsequently, the trial court held a sentencing hearing. The court sentenced appellant to a maximum sentence of eight years in prison. Appellant filed a timely notice of appeal on February 23, 2016.

         {¶6} Appellant now raises a single assignment of error.

         {¶7} Appellant's assignment of error states:

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN SENTENCING THE APPELLANT TO THE MAXIMUM SENTENCE.

         {¶8} Appellant argues the trial court should not have sentenced him to the maximum sentence. He claims this sentence is contrary to law. First, he asserts his offense was non-violent, no physical harm was caused, no weapons were involved, and there was no actual victim. Second, he points out that he pleaded guilty, thereby saving the county the expense of a trial. Third, appellant notes that both the prosecutor and defense counsel recommended a less-than-maximum sentence. Fourth, appellant points out that he expressed his remorse. Fifth, he contends that the mitigating factors outweigh any aggravating factors. Sixth, he asserts he did not commit the worst form of the offense. Finally, appellant asserts the trial court held against him the fact that he was charged with six prior charges of domestic violence and one charge of violation of a protective order, yet these charges were all dismissed.

         {¶9} When reviewing a felony sentence, an appellate court must uphold the sentence unless the evidence clearly and convincingly does not support the trial court's findings under the applicable sentencing statutes or the sentence is otherwise contrary to law. ...


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