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State v. Thomas

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Montgomery

September 8, 2017

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
TRENEX THOMAS Defendant-Appellant

         Trial Court Case No. 2016-CR-1012 (Criminal Appeal from Common Pleas Court)

          MATHIAS H. HECK, JR., by ANDREW T. FRENCH, Atty. Reg. No. 0069384, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office, Attorney for Plaintiff-Appellee

          CHRIS BECK, Attorney for Defendant-Appellant

          OPINION

          WELBAUM, J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Trenex Thomas, appeals from his conviction in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas after he entered a no contest plea to one count of failure to verify his address of residence in violation of R.C. 2950.06(A) and (F). On May 22, 2017, Thomas's assigned counsel filed a brief under the authority of Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 87 S.Ct. 1396, 18 L.Ed.2d 493 (1967), indicating there are no issues with arguable merit to present on appeal. On May 23, 2017, we notified Thomas that his counsel found no meritorious claim for review and granted him 60 days to file a pro se brief assigning any errors. Thomas did not file a pro se brief. After conducting a review of the record as prescribed by Anders, we find no issues with arguable merit for appeal.

         Facts and Course of Proceedings

         {¶ 2} On April 19, 2016, the Montgomery County Grand Jury returned an indictment charging Thomas with one count of failure to verify his address of residence in violation of R.C. 2950.06(A) and (F), and one count of failure to notify the sheriff of his change of address in violation of R.C. 2950.05(A) and (F)(1). Both charges were designated as felonies of the third degree.

         {¶ 3} The charges stemmed from allegations that Thomas was required to register as a sex offender/child-victim offender pursuant to R.C. 2950.04 and R.C. 2950.041 as a result of being adjudicated a delinquent child in Cooke County, Illinois, for committing aggravated criminal sexual assault of a victim less than nine years of age. The record indicates that the Illinois court adjudicated Thomas and ordered him to register as a sexual offender on December 5, 2000, when he was 12 years old. Ten years later, Thomas first registered in Ohio on January 6, 2010.

         {¶ 4} The indictment charging Thomas alleged that in March 2016, Thomas failed to verify his Ohio address and failed to notify the sheriff of his change of address in violation of R.C. 2950.06 and R.C. 2950.05. The indictment further alleged that in 2012, Thomas was previously convicted in Greene County, Ohio, for attempted failure to register and failure to notify the sheriff of his change of address.

         {¶ 5} Following his indictment, Thomas filed a motion to dismiss the failure to verify and failure to notify charges on grounds that Illinois law only subjected him to a ten-year registration requirement, which Thomas claimed expired in 2010, and relieved him of any duty to register in Ohio. In response, the State argued that Illinois law subjects offenders like Thomas to a lifetime registration requirement, which also applies in Ohio per R.C. 2950.04(A)(4) and R.C. 2950.041(A)(4). Accordingly, the State contended that Thomas was never relieved of his duty to abide by the registration requirements in Chapter 2950 of the Revised Code.

         {¶ 6} On May 31, 2016, the trial court issued a written decision overruling Thomas's motion to dismiss. The trial court based its decision on the Supreme Court of Illinois' holding in In re J.W., 204 Ill.2d 50, 787 N.E.2d 747 (2003). In J.W., the Supreme Court of Illinois held that a juvenile who was adjudicated a delinquent following his admission to two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault was properly ordered to register as a sexual offender for his entire life. Id. at 66. In reaching its decision, the Supreme Court of Illinois determined that a juvenile who is adjudicated for aggravated criminal sexual assault is deemed a "sexual predator under Section 2 of the Illinois Sex Offender Registration Act, and that Section 7 of the Act requires a sexual predator to "register for the period of his or her natural life[.]" Id. at 63-66, citing 730 ILCS 150/7. See also 730 ILCS 150/2(E)(1). In applying J.W. to the case at bar, the trial court held that Illinois law subjected Thomas to a lifetime registration requirement because he is considered a "sexual predator as a result of being adjudicated for aggravated criminal sexual assault. Accordingly, the trial court overruled Thomas's motion to dismiss.

         {¶ 7} After the trial court overruled Thomas's motion to dismiss, on June 23, 2016, Thomas entered a no contest plea to the failure to verify charge in exchange for the State dismissing the failure to notify charge. As part of the plea agreement, the parties agreed that if Thomas were to receive a prison sentence, it would not exceed 18 months.

         {¶ 8} At the plea hearing, the trial court conducted a plea colloquy in compliance with Crim.R. 11, accepted Thomas's no contest plea, and found Thomas guilty of failing to verify his address of residence. Thereafter, the trial court ordered a presentence investigation report and scheduled Thomas's sentencing hearing for July 7, 2016.

         {¶ 9} At the sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced Thomas to serve community control sanctions not to exceed five years with various conditions. Thomas then appealed from his conviction and was appointed an appellate counsel who filed an Anders brief indicating there are no issues with arguable merit for appeal. While this appeal was pending, the ...


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