Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton
Appeal From: Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas TRIAL NOS.
B-1505049 B-1600603 B-1604506
T. Deters, Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney, and Scott M.
Heenan, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for
T. Goldberg, for Defendant-Appellant.
In these consolidated appeals, defendant-appellant Jarrard
Harper appeals the sentences entered in three separate cases,
but imposed at one sentencing hearing. The trial court
imposed three two-year prison terms resulting from two
separate high-speed chases where Harper had fled from police
and imposed a single two-year prison term for the related
violation of a community-control sanction. The trial court
ordered the prison terms to be served consecutively. Because
the trial court entered a prison term outside the statutory
range available for Harper's violation of the prior
community-control sanction, the two-year sentence imposed for
attempted tampering with evidence in the case numbered
B-1505049 must be vacated. But because the trial court was
required, by operation of law, to impose the prison terms for
Harper's failure-to-comply offenses consecutively to the
other prison terms imposed, it was not required to make
consecutive-sentencing findings before doing so.
Harper's sentences resulted from three separate
incidents. First, in early 2016, Harper entered pleas of
guilty to trafficking in heroin, punishable as a third-degree
felony, and attempted tampering with evidence, punishable as
a fourth-degree felony, in the case numbered B-1505049. The
trial court accepted his pleas, found him guilty of the
charges, and imposed three-year terms of community control as
the sentence for each offense.
Two weeks later, in the second incident, Harper took a
vehicle from a Ford dealer's car lot. Police pursued
Harper in the stolen vehicle at speeds in excess of 110 miles
per hour. Harper ultimately abandoned the vehicle and
successfully fled on foot.
In the third incident, in August 2016, Cincinnati police
officers executing a search warrant in a heroin-trafficking
investigation spotted Harper arriving at the scene of the
search in a friend's vehicle. The officers attempted to
take Harper into custody. Harper forcefully dragged the
driver from her vehicle, commandeered the vehicle, and again
fled from the police at high speed. He was ultimately
As a result of the two high-speed chases, the Hamilton County
Grand Jury returned two new multicount indictments against
Harper. For his actions in the first chase from the car
dealership, Harper was charged in count two of the case
numbered B-1600603 with failure to comply with an order or
signal of a police officer while fleeing from the officer in
violation of R.C. 2921.331(B), a felony of the third degree.
The indictment further provided that Harper's operation
of the vehicle had caused a substantial risk of serious
physical harm to persons or property.
For his second flight from police, Harper was charged in
count four of the case numbered B-1604506 with having a
weapon under a disability, and in count five with failure to
comply with an order or signal of a police officer while
fleeing from the officer, in violation of R.C. 2921.331(B).
This count also alleged that, in committing the offense,
Harper's operation of the vehicle had caused a
substantial risk of serious physical harm to persons or
property. Both offenses were punishable as third-degree
On January 11, 2017, Harper entered pleas of guilty to the
two then-pending cases, and the state dismissed four other
felony charges raised in the two indictments. Harper also
entered a no-contest plea to violating the community-control
sanctions imposed in early January 2016.
At a sentencing hearing, the trial court revoked the
community-control sanctions and imposed a two-year prison
term for each offense, including the fourth-degree-felony
attempted-tampering offense. The court ordered the two terms
to be served concurrently to each other, but consecutively to
the sentences imposed for the new offenses. For the January
high-speed chase, the trial court imposed a two-year prison
term for violating R.C. 2921.331(B), and ordered this term to
be served consecutively to each prison term imposed in the
other two cases. For the August incident, the trial court
imposed two-year prison terms for having a weapon under a
disability and for violating R.C. 2921.331(B). These terms
were to be served consecutively to each other and
consecutively to the other prison terms imposed against
Harper. The aggregate prison term was eight years.
At the hearing, the trial court detailed Harper's
criminal history, including his heroin trafficking and
flights from police, took note that he had committed these
serious offenses while on community control, and concluded
that Harper lacked remorse or an appreciation of the
seriousness of his offenses. It did not refer to the findings
necessary under R.C. 2929.14(C)(4) to impose consecutive
sentences. It did, however, include those findings in its
sentencing entries. Harper appealed from each of the three
entries, claiming that the sentences imposed were contrary to
law. See R.C. 2953.08(A)(4).
In his first assignment of error, Harper challenges the
two-year prison term imposed for Harper's violation of
community control for the attempted-tampering-with-evidence
offense. He argues that the trial court erred by imposing a
sentence outside the statutory range for that offense. The
attempted-tampering offense was punishable as a fourth-degree
felony. See R.C. 2923.02(E). ...