Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT R. Brian Moriarty
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor BY: Brian Radigan Anthony Thomas Miranda
Assistant County Prosecutors
BEFORE: Boyle, J., Kilbane, P.J., and Celebrezze, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
J. BOYLE, J.
Defendant-appellant, Deandre Moore, appeals his conviction,
raising two assignments of error for our review:
I. The mandatory transfer/bindover of defendant-appellant
violated his right to due process and equal protection.
II.The trial court failed to comply with the mandates of
Criminal Rule 11.
Finding no merit to his appeal, we affirm.
Procedural History and Factual Background
On August 11, 2010, Hong Zheng and Bingrong Zheng, husband
and wife, were delivering food to a private residence in
Cleveland, Ohio. As the Zhengs parked their car, Moore and
his cousin approached and fired multiple gunshots into the
vehicle. The shots hit both Mr. and Mrs. Zheng, killing Mr.
Zheng and breaking Mrs. Zheng's arm.
On October 29, 2010, Moore, a juvenile, was subject to
mandatory bindover to the Cuyahoga County Grand Jury for
several counts, including two counts of aggravated murder,
four counts of aggravated robbery, one count of attempted
murder, and two counts of felonious assault. After initially
pleading not guilty to those counts, Moore agreed to enter a
guilty plea to murder with a firearm specification, and the
state agreed to nolle the remaining counts.
At the plea hearing, the state recited the amended charge and
the potential penalty for the charge and its accompanying
firearm specification. Moore and his counsel confirmed that
they agreed with and understood the state's explanation.
Subsequently, the court engaged in a Crim.R. 11 colloquy with
Moore, explaining the constitutional rights that he was
waiving by pleading guilty. Moore then pleaded guilty to the
murder charge with the firearm specification, the trial court
found that Moore knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily
made the plea, and Moore's counsel stated that she was
satisfied that the trial court complied with Crim.R. 11.
At the sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed an
indefinite prison term of 15 years to life for Moore's
murder charge and a consecutive and prior to mandatory
three-year prison term for the firearm specification.
Moore subsequently appealed, contesting the validity of both
the mandatory transfer of his case to the General Division of
the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court and his plea.
In his first assignment of error, Moore argues that he was
entitled to an amenability hearing before the juvenile court
judge prior to his case's transfer to the Cuyahoga County
Common Pleas Court under the Ohio Supreme Court's 2016
decision in State v. Aalim, 150 Ohio St.3d 463,
2016-Ohio-8278 ("Aalim I "). At
the time it filed its brief, the state argued that Aalim
I was stayed pending reconsideration, and Moore could
not rely on that case for a reversal and
In Aalim I, written by Justice Lanzinger, the Ohio
Supreme Court held that the mandatory transfer of juveniles
to adult court without a discretionary determination by the
juvenile court at an amenability hearing violated
juveniles' due process rights. Aalim I at ¶
28. In reaching that conclusion, the court explained that
"juvenile courts 'occupy a unique place in our legal
system'" and were created to "promot[e] social
welfare and eschew traditional, objective criminal
standards and retributive notions of justice."
Id. at ¶ 16, quoting In re C.S., 115
Ohio St.3d 267, 2007-Ohio-4919, 874 N.E.2d 1177. Noting that
"[s]ince its origin, the juvenile justice system has
emphasized individual assessment, the best interest of the
child, treatment, and rehabilitation, with a goal of
reintegrating juveniles back into society[, ]" the court
agreed with Aalim that "juvenile court judges are in the
best position to evaluate each juvenile's suitability for
juvenile or adult court, " and they "must be
allowed the discretion that the General Assembly permits[,
]" including the ability "to distinguish between
those children who should be treated as adults and those who
should not." Id. at ¶ 20, 25. Considering
the juvenile justice system's unique purposes and
juveniles' special status within the criminal justice
system, the court held that "[a]ll children are entitled
to fundamental fairness in the procedures by which they may
be transferred out of juvenile court for criminal
prosecution, and an amenability hearing * * * is required to
satisfy that fundamental fairness." Id. at
Nevertheless, as noted by the state's notice of
supplemental authority, the Ohio Supreme Court reconsidered
Aalim I in Aalim II. The reconsidered
majority opinion, written by Justice Kennedy, rejected
Aalim I 's holding and found that the
mandatory-bindover procedures for juveniles, which do not
require a juvenile judge's discretionary review at an
amenability hearing, comply with due process and equal
protection standards. Id. at ¶ 27, 37. In its
reconsidered opinion rejecting Aalim's due process
argument, the court stated, "The General Assembly
determines the jurisdiction of the juvenile court[, ]"
and "has determined that [under] R.C. 2152.10(A)(2)(b)
and 2152.12(A)(1)(b), juvenile offenders of a certain age
charged with aggravated murder, murder, certain serious
felonies committed after a prior delinquency adjudication
[or] * * * with a firearm shall be bound over to adult
court." Id. at ¶ 26. Noting that
"Aalim had a hearing before a juvenile-division judge to
determine Aalim's age at the time of the alleged offense
and whether there was probable cause to believe that he had
committed the conduct alleged[, ]" the court concluded
that the mandatory bindover procedures "satisfied the
requirements of 'fundamental fairness[.]'"
Id. at ¶ 27.
Moore argues that his due process and equal protection rights
were violated because he was not afforded an amenability
hearing at the juvenile court level. Based on the Ohio
Supreme Court's reconsideration of Aalim I and
holding in Aalim II, however, Moore's first
assignment of error lacks a legal foundation on which to
stand, and we therefore find that his argument lacks merit.
Moore's first assignment ...