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State v. Lawwill

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Warren

November 6, 2017

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
PAUL D. LAWWILL, Defendant-Appellant.

         CRIMINAL APPEAL FROM WARREN COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS Case No. 06CR23765

          David P. Fornshell, Warren County Prosecuting Attorney, Kirsten A. Brandt, Lebanon, for plaintiff-appellee

          Paul D. Lawwill, defendant-appellant, pro se.

          OPINION

          S. POWELL, J.

         {¶ 1} Appellant, Paul Lawwill, appeals from the decision of the Warren County Court of Common Pleas denying his untimely petition for postconviction relief. For the reasons outlined below, we affirm.

         Facts and Procedural History

         {¶ 2} On November 27, 2006, the Warren County Grand Jury returned a nine-count indictment charging Lawwill with various felony drug offenses that included several charges of aggravated possession of drugs and aggravated trafficking in drugs, among others. The nine charges also included two major drug offender specifications. Lawwill subsequently entered a plea of not guilty to all charges and bond was set at $100, 000.

         {¶ 3} On April 16, 2007, Lawwill entered into a plea agreement, wherein he agreed to plead guilty to one count of aggravated trafficking in drugs in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(2), a first-degree felony, with an agreed sentence of five years in prison, three of which were mandatory, a mandatory $10, 000 fine, and a six-month driver's license suspension. The parties further agreed that Lawwill's sentence would be served consecutively to any state of Ohio prison sentence Lawwill was then currently serving. In exchange for Lawwill's guilty plea, the remaining eight counts and two accompanying major drug offender specifications would be dismissed. The trial court accepted Lawwill's guilty plea and imposed the agreed-upon sentence. It is undisputed that Lawwill did not file a direct appeal from his conviction or sentence.

         {¶ 4} Over nine years later, on August 22, 2016, Lawwill filed a pro se motion with the trial court entitled "Motion for Injunctive Relief to Correct Illegal Sentence." As part of this motion, Lawwill alleged that his conviction was unconstitutional and in violation of the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution as applicable to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. In support of this motion, Lawwill alleged the following:

January 23, 2004, Warren County, Ohio charged the defendant with Aggravated Possession in Drugs, §2925.03(A)(2). However, Warren County dismissed the charges when the United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio, Cincinnati, indicted the defendant using the same information. To wit: Conspiracy to Possess with intent to Distribute and Distribution of Methamphetamine, Cocaine, Marijuana, Xanax, Methadone, and Oxycodone, 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 841(a)(1) & (b)(1)(A). The defendant pled guilty to the charges and received 168 month sentence in federal prison.

Continuing, Lawwill claimed:

While serving the sentence, Butler County, Ohio, charged the defendant with Aggravated Murder and Corrupt Activity and informed him that if he did not plead out to these charges that they would make sure that Warren County, Ohio, would reinstate the original Aggravated Possession in Drugs charges which they had previously dropped when the United States District Court took over. Butler County threatened the defendant with "at least fifty years in prison, a hard way to go, and more, " if he didn't submit.

Concluding, Lawwill stated:

After repeated threats from the state, and false promises of a five year concurrent sentence from the defense counsel, the defendant relented and entered into what was an illegal sentence. As a result of these negotiations, Warren County convicted and sentenced the defendant to five years in prison, consecutive to all other sentences, for the same ...

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