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State v. Dowdy

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

October 26, 2017

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
SHAUN DOWDY DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

         Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-09-520345-B

          FOR APPELLANT Shaun Dowdy, pro se Inmate No. A581923 Grafton Correctional Institution

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor BY: Brett Hammond Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

          BEFORE: Celebrezze, J., E.A. Gallagher, P.J., and McCormack, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          FRANK D. CELEBREZZE, JR., J.

         {¶1} Appellant, Shaun Dowdy, appeals the denial of his postsentence motion to withdraw his guilty pleas to aggravated murder and kidnapping, for which he received a sentence of 33 years to life. He argues that the trial court erred when it denied his motion because the court failed to properly comply with Crim.R. 11 when he pled guilty in 2013. After a thorough review of the record and law, this court affirms.

         I. Factual and Procedural History

         {¶2} After this court's reversal of appellant's convictions for aggravated murder and kidnapping in 2012, the case was remanded to the trial court. State v. Dowdy, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 96642, 2012-Ohio-2382. Appellant again pled guilty to those charges and was sentenced to a prison term of 33 years to life. Appellant did not appeal from those convictions, but did appeal from the partial denial of a motion for good-time credit in 2014, which this court affirmed. State v. Dowdy, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 101589, 2015-Ohio-318.

         {¶3} On June 29, 2016, appellant filed a pro se motion to withdraw his guilty pleas. He argued that the court failed to comply with Crim.R. 11 when the court completely failed to advise him that he would have to serve a mandatory prison term. In opposition, the state pointed out that there was an agreed sentence in this case, which meant that appellant subjectively and objectively understood that he would receive a prison sentence of 33 years to life. In his reply to the state's response, appellant explained for the first time that his argument about a "mandatory sentence" actually meant that the trial court did not inform him that his sentence was ineligible for reduction through good-time credit. The trial court denied the motion on January 6, 2017, in a lengthy and comprehensive opinion.

         {¶4} Appellant then filed the instant appeal assigning two errors for review:

1. The trial court erred as a matter of law in its holding that the failure to advise appellant of the mandatory prison term that was to be imposed was substantially compliant with the mandates of Crim.R. 11.
2. The trial court erred and abused its discretion in failing to grant the motion to withdraw guilty plea upon appellant's showing of reversible error.

         II. Law and Analysis

         {¶5} Crim.R. 32.1 provides a means for a criminal defendant to withdraw pleas entered in a case either before or after sentence is imposed. State v. Xie, 62 Ohio St.3d 521, 526, 584 N.E.2d 715 (1992). For motions that come after a sentence is imposed, the movant has the burden of showing that a manifest injustice has occurred that requires withdrawal. State v. Smith,49 Ohio St.2d 261, 264, 361 N.E.2d 1324 (1977). This ...


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