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City of Columbus v. Chiles

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

October 31, 2017

City of Columbus, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Adam S. Chiles, Defendant-Appellant.

         APPEAL from the Franklin County Municipal Court LUPER (M.C. No. 2016 TRD 127544)

         On brief:

          Richard C. Pfeiffer, Jr., City Attorney, Melanie R. Tobias, and Orly Ahroni, for appellee.

          Yeura Venters, Public Defender, and George M. Schumann, for appellant.

         Argued:

          Melanie R. Tobias.

          George M. Schumann.

          DECISION

          SCHUSTER, J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Adam S. Chiles, appeals from a judgment entry of the Franklin County Municipal Court finding him guilty, pursuant to no contest plea, of failing to stop, driving under suspension, no operator's license, and failure to control. For the following reasons, we reverse.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         {¶ 2} On April 7, 2016, Chiles received a citation following an automobile accident alleging four violations of the Columbus Traffic Code ("CTC"): (1) failure to stop in violation of CTC 2135.12(A), a first-degree misdemeanor; (2) driving under suspension in violation of CTC 2141.11(A), a first-degree misdemeanor; (3) no operator's license in violation of CTC 2141.12(A)(1), a first-degree misdemeanor; and (4) failure to control in violation of CTC 2131.33, a minor misdemeanor. Chiles initially entered a plea of not guilty and entered a jury demand.

         {¶ 3} At a hearing on July 27, 2016, Chiles entered no contest pleas to all four charges. The trial court accepted Chiles' no contest pleas and found Chiles guilty on all four counts. The trial court then ordered a restitution hearing prior to sentencing.

         {¶ 4} On November 23, 2016, Chiles filed a motion to dispute restitution, arguing the restitution provision in the failure to stop ordinance was unconstitutional. Plaintiff-appellee, City of Columbus, did not file a response to Chiles' motion to dispute restitution. The trial court then conducted a contested restitution hearing on December 8, 2016 during which the parties disputed whether Chiles had insurance at the time of the incident giving rise to the citation.

         {¶ 5} On January 19, 2017, the trial court filed a decision and entry denying Chiles' motion to dispute restitution and rejecting Chiles' constitutional challenge to the failure to stop ordinance. At a hearing that same day, the trial court ordered Chiles to pay a $150 fine plus court costs, ordered Chiles to pay restitution in the amount of $4, 331.12 to Evina Emvoutou, the other driver involved in the accident, and imposed a six-month driver's license suspension. The trial court stayed the sentence pending appeal. The trial court journalized Chiles' convictions and sentence in a January 19, 2017 sentencing entry. Chiles timely appeals.

         II. Assignments of Error

         {¶ 6} Chiles assigns the following errors for our review:

[1.] The trial court violated the Defendant-Appellant's substantive rights conferred by R.C. 2937.07 by making findings of guilty after no contest pleas without obtaining any explanation of circumstances concerning the offenses of failing to stop, DUS, and No Ops.
[2.] CTC 2135.12(b)(1) is unconstitutional in violation of the right to a jury trial under the United States and Ohio Constitutions, as it authorizes the trial court to impose an additional punishment, above the statutory maximum, based on additional facts not found by the jury or admitted by the defendant.
[3.] CTC 2135.12(b)(1) is unconstitutional in violation of the due process of law protections under the United States and Ohio Constitutions, as the restitution provision is not rationally related to a legitimate governmental interest.

         III. First Assignment of ...


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