Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Ashtabula
Appeal from the Ashtabula County Court of Common Pleas, Case
No. 2016 CR 00653. Judgment: Reversed and remanded.
Nicholas A. Iarocci, Ashtabula County Prosecutor, and Shelley
M. Pratt, Assistant Prosecutor, (For Plaintiff-Appellee).
Patricia J. Smith, (For Defendant-Appellant).
R. WRIGHT, J.
Appellant, Gregory L. McClenton, appeals the imposition of a
consecutive sentence with an unrelated case following his
conviction for assault. As the trial court failed to make
necessary findings for consecutive sentences, we reverse and
remand for resentencing.
In 2015, appellant was convicted of resisting arrest and
failure to comply with a police officer's signal in the
Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. Initially, he was
placed on community control. After being found guilty of
violating the terms of community control, he was sentenced to
a three-year prison term.
While incarcerated in the Lake Erie Correctional Institution,
appellant exited his housing unit without permission. A
corrections officer was dispatched to find him. After
locating appellant at a recreational facility, the officer
coaxed him to return to the housing unit. But, as they were
walking toward the unit, appellant was disrespectful to the
officer and would not follow his directives. Accordingly,
before taking appellant to the officer's station in the
unit, the officer conducted a pat-down search.
Appellant was ordered to stand still with his hands on a
wall. As the officer began the search, appellant tried to
turn around and face him, but the officer was able to regain
control by placing his hand on appellant's back. When the
officer tried to resume the search, appellant removed his
hands from the wall, made a fist with his right hand, and
threw a punch. The officer easily blocked the punch and
pinned appellant against the wall. Appellant was now facing
the officer and grabbed the officer in the face/throat area.
Since the seriousness of the situation had escalated, a
second corrections officer immediately sprayed a substance in
appellant's face, causing him to release his hold on the
Appellant was indicted on one count of assault, a
third-degree felony pursuant to R.C. 2903.13(A) & (C)(3).
Ultimately, appellant pleaded guilty to assault. In exchange,
the state recommended that his sentence be limited to
The case immediately proceeded to sentencing. In directly
addressing the trial court, appellant said that he was
confused during the entire episode leading to the assault,
and that he made a good faith effort to comply with the
officer's orders. His trial counsel also asserted that
appellant is an Iraqi War veteran who possibly suffers from
PTSD, and has previously been diagnosed with schizophrenic
disorder. Counsel also noted that, although appellant
received medication for his schizophrenia while he was an
inmate at the Richland Correctional Institution, he had not
received any treatment at the Lake Erie Correctional
Institution. The state responded that appellant has been
convicted of five criminal offenses between 2009 and 2015,
and that he has a history of refusing to comply with orders
of police officers.
At the close of the hearing, the trial court accepted the
state's sentencing recommendation and ordered appellant
to serve a twenty-four month prison term consecutive to the
three-year term stemming from the Cuyahoga County case.
Appellant timely appeals raising one assignment of error:
"The trial court erred by sentencing the appellant to
serve consecutive sentences without submitting adequate
reasons in support pursuant to R.C. 2929.14(C) and
specifically considering inaccurate factors."
In contesting the imposition of consecutive sentences,
appellant primarily argues that the trial court failed to
give adequate weight to certain facts tending to show that
the nature of his conduct was not so serious as to justify
consecutive terms. However, it is unnecessary to address
appellant's specific arguments because the trial
court's failure to make a required statutory finding for
imposition of consecutive prison terms warrants reversal.
As assault is not one of the six crimes governed by R.C.
2929.14(C)(2), the parties do not ...