Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
APPELLANT Shaun Dowdy, pro se Inmate No. A581923 Grafton
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor BY: Brett Hammond Assistant Prosecuting
BEFORE: Celebrezze, J., E.A. Gallagher, P.J., and McCormack,
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
D. CELEBREZZE, JR., J.
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
Factual and Procedural History
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.
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.
Appellant then filed the instant appeal assigning two errors
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.
Law and Analysis
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 ...