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State v. Hicks

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

October 26, 2017

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
ROBERT HICKS DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

         Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-15-598310-B

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Jonathan N. Garver

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor BY: Blaise D. Thomas Assistant County Prosecutor

          BEFORE: Boyle, J., Keough, A.J., and Blackmon, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          MARY J. BOYLE, J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant, Robert Hicks, appeals from the trial court's judgment regarding court costs. He raises two assignments of error for our review:

1. The trial court abused its discretion by imposing court costs on appellant who was found to be indigent and sentenced to a 17-year term of imprisonment, without making a determination, supported by the record, that he has or will have the ability to pay costs.
2. The trial court committed prejudicial error by ordering appellant to do community work service after he serves the 17-year term of imprisonment (which includes a mandatory prison term) imposed by the trial court.

         {¶2} Finding no merit to his appeal, we affirm.

         I. Procedural History and Factual Background

         {¶3} In August 2015, the Cuyahoga County Grand Jury indicted Hicks on 11 counts: two counts of aggravated murder and aggravated robbery, one count of murder, kidnapping, felonious assault, and carrying a concealed weapon, and three counts of having a weapon while under disability. Many of the counts carried one- and three-year firearm specifications. Hicks pleaded not guilty to all charges.

         {¶4} In June 2016, Hicks withdrew his former plea of not guilty and pleaded guilty to an amended indictment of involuntary manslaughter in violation of R.C. 2903.04, a first-degree felony, with a three-year firearm specification, and attempted aggravated robbery in violation of R.C. 2923.02 and 2911.01(A)(3), a second-degree felony.

         {¶5} At the sentencing hearing, defense counsel spoke on behalf of Hicks. Defense counsel requested the court to waive costs because Hicks was indigent.

         {¶6} The trial court sentenced Hicks to three years in prison for the firearm specification and ordered that it be served prior to and consecutive to 11 years for involuntary manslaughter. The trial court further sentenced Hicks to two years for aggravated robbery and ordered that it be served consecutive to the prison term for involuntary manslaughter, for an aggregate sentence of 16 years in prison. At the same hearing, the trial court also sentenced Hicks to 12 months each for three separate probation violations and ordered that they be served concurrent to each other but consecutive to the sentence imposed in this case, for a total of 17 years in prison. Further, the trial court notified Hicks that he would be subject to a mandatory term of five years of postrelease control.

         {¶7} With respect to court costs, the trial court stated the following at the hearing:

You're responsible for your court costs and, therefore, you may be required to do community work service. So although you're indigent, I think the community work service is a good thing for you to do ...

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