Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Judith M. Kowalski
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor, John Hirschauer Assistant Prosecuting
BEFORE: E.A. Gallagher, P.J., Kilbane, J., and Jones, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
A. GALLAGHER, PRESIDING JUDGE
Defendant-appellant Brandon Bridges appeals the sentences
imposed after he pled guilty to one count of robbery, one
count of abduction and one count of having a weapon while
under disability. Bridges contends that the trial court
abused its discretion in imposing consecutive sentences,
resulting in an aggregate sentence of five years in prison.
He also contends that the trial court erred in failing to
merge the having a weapon while under disability count with
the other counts for sentencing purposes. For the reasons
that follow, we affirm the trial court's judgment.
and Procedural Background
On July 28, 2016, a Cuyahoga County Grand Jury indicted
Bridges on charges of aggravated robbery in violation of R.C.
2911.01(A)(1) (Count 1); robbery in violation of R.C.
2911.02(A)(2) with one-year and three-year firearm
specifications (Count 2); kidnapping in violation of R.C.
2905.01(A)(2) with one-year and three-year firearm
specifications (Count 3) and having a weapon while under
disability in violation of R.C. 2932.13(A)(2) (Count 5). A
codefendant, Tyrone Leegrand, was also indicted on Counts 1,
2 and 3 and a separate count of having a weapon while under
disability (Count 4). The charges arose out of a July 7, 2016
incident in which Bridges and Leegrand allegedly held a
76-year-old woman at gunpoint and demanded her purse and
keys. The victim, who had been parking her car to meet her
son and daughter-in-law for brunch, refused and swung at
Leegrand. While the victim was struggling to retain her
property, her son drove up the street, saw the attempted
robbery and struck Bridges with the front of his car. Bridges
and Leegrand ran off and were later arrested.
On February 9, 2017, Bridges and the state reached a plea
agreement. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Bridges
agreed to plead guilty to (1) an amended Count 2, reducing
the robbery charge from a second-degree felony to a
third-degree felony and deleting the three-year firearm
specification, (2) an amended Count 3, reducing the
kidnapping charge to a charge of abduction, a third-degree
felony, and deleting the one-year and three-year firearm
specifications and (3) Count 5, the having a weapon while
under disability charge. The parties agreed that Counts 2 and
3 would merge for sentencing, that the state would elect to
sentence on Count 2 and that Counts 2 and 5 did not merge for
After a thorough plea colloquy, Bridges pled guilty to the
amended charges as agreed. The trial court found that Bridges
had entered his guilty pleas knowingly, intelligently and
voluntarily with a full understanding of his rights and
accepted his guilty pleas. In exchange for Bridges'
guilty pleas, Count 1 was nolled. The trial court referred
the case for preparation of a presentence investigation
At the sentencing hearing, the trial court heard from
Bridges, defense counsel and the state. After listening to
the parties' statements and arguments, reviewing the PSI
and expressly considering both the principles and purposes of
sentencing under R.C. 2929.11 and the relevant statutory
factors under R.C. 2929.12, the trial court sentenced Bridges
to an aggregate prison term of five years: four years on
Count 2 (one-year on the firearm specification to be served
prior to and consecutive to 36 months on the robbery offense)
and 12 months on Count 5 to be served consecutively to the
sentence on Count 2. The trial court also imposed three years
of postrelease control.
In support of its imposition of consecutive sentences, the
trial court found that consecutive sentences were necessary
to protect the public from future crime and to punish
Bridges, that consecutive sentences were not disproportionate
to the seriousness of his conduct and to the danger he poses
to the public, that Bridges committed the offenses while
under postrelease control for a prior conviction in the
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court and on probation from a
prior offense in the Rocky River Municipal Court and that his
history of criminal conduct demonstrates that consecutive
sentences are necessary to protect the public from his
commission of future crime. The trial court set forth its
findings in its March 2, 2017 sentencing journal entry.
Bridges appeals his sentences, raising the following
assignments of error for review:
FIRST ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR:
The trial court abused its discretion and erred to the
prejudice of appellant by sentencing him to a total of five
years imprisonment, including consecutive terms, in that a
consecutive sentence is not necessary to protect the public,
and is disproportionate to the seriousness of the
SECOND ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR:
The trial court erred when it failed to merge one count of
having a weapon under disability with the other charges for
purposes of sentencing.
of Consecutive Sentences
In his first assignment of error, Bridges contends that the
trial court abused its discretion and erred in imposing
consecutive sentences because the record does not support ...