from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas No. 15CR-2107
O'Brien, Prosecuting Attorney, and Valerie Swanson, for
A. Roth, for appellant.
1} This is an appeal by defendant-appellant, Victor
R. Rodriguez, from a judgment of conviction and sentence
entered by the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas
following his entry of an
"Alford" plea of guilty to attempted gross
2} On April 28, 2015, appellant was indicted on one
count of rape, in violation of R.C. 2907.02, and one count of
sexual battery, in violation of R.C. 2907.03. Appellant
entered a plea of not guilty, and the matter was set for
trial before a jury.
3} On November 29, 2016, the trial court conducted
voir dire proceedings. On November 30, 2016, appellant
appeared before the trial court and entered an
Alford plea of guilty to the stipulated
lesser-included offense to count one, attempted gross sexual
imposition, in violation of R.C 2907.05 and 2923.02.
4} During the plea proceedings, the trial court
inquired of defense counsel as to the "reasons for your
client's Alford Plea." (Tr. Vol. I at 7.)
In response, defense counsel stated:
Your Honor. * * * We thought that there were some issues that
were very triable in this case. I pointed out to [appellant]
yesterday after voir dire was called up that I believe that
there were several members of the jury who had been victims
of potential sexual abuse, specifically, I want to say Juror
No. 11 [and] Juror No. 18, * * * and then there was a juror
that would have been one of the first people brought up had
we excused those people who had sexual assault in their past.
Those things gave me pause wherein the * * * Court was not
going to get rid of them for cause then we would have to use
three of our preemptory challenges on just those individuals.
I explained those things to him, told him what the potential
risks were if he were to potentially lose at trial. And once
his offer was made known to me, I relayed it to him and told
him although there are some downsides for him, specifically,
the 15-year reporting requirement, that it does not carry
mandatory prison time. There's a presumption of community
control. And all of those things he should consider
seriously. He spoke with his father this morning. And after
those discussions, he told me that he would like to resolve
the case in this fashion.
(Tr. Vol. I at 7-8.)
5} The trial court then engaged in a plea colloquy
with appellant. During the colloquy, the court addressed the
issue of post-release control, stating in part as follows:
What you also need to understand is that if I were to place
you in prison for these offenses, once you're released
from prison, you would be subject to what is called
post-release control. What that means is the Adult Parole
Authority would have supervision over you and they could
place certain restrictions on what you can and cannot do. If
you would violate the terms of your post-release control, the
Adult Parole Authority could actually send you back to prison
for a second time even though you would have done all the
initial prison term in this case. Your period of supervision
under post-release control would be for a maximum of three
years. If you were to violate the terms of your post-release
control and if you were to be sent back to prison for a
second time, that second sentence could be for up to half as
long as your initial prison term.
(Tr. Vol. I at 10.)
6} During the plea proceedings, the prosecutor gave
the following recitation of the facts giving rise to the
This case happened on August 30, 2014. [A.C.] is the victim
in this case. She was celebrating her best friend
[D.T.'s] birthday. She went over to [D.T.'s] house.
And they began drinking. They then picked up a couple of
other friends to go to a club. * * * The defendant is the
cousin to [D.T.] And he went with them as well to the club.
There was some sort of argument at the club between the
victim in the case and the defendant. And some of the
witnesses would say that the defendant was hitting on the
victim at the club.
After they left the club, at that point, basically, the
victim doesn't remember anything from that point forward
until the next morning. She just has a complete blank memory.
It's unclear whether someone put something in her drink
or she just drank too much. But either way, she doesn't
But what we know from the other witnesses * * * is that they
go back to [a friend's] house. [A.C.] is very sick
throwing up, so they put her in a bed at [the friend's]
house. They decide that they're going to go to an
after-hours party, but the defendant stays behind. [D.T.]
feels comfortable with that because the defendant is her
cousin. He's downstairs on the couch. And [A.C.] is
upstairs on the bed, basically, unconscious at this point.
When the girls come home from the after-hours club, they find
the defendant in the bed with [A.C.] She's still
unconscious at this point.
She calls her boyfriend to pick her up. She just feels that
something is not right. She goes to the hospital and has a
rape kit done. They do several swabs which are sent to the
lab for DNA testing. There were skin swabs taken from her
inner thigh that matched the DNA of the defendant. Those were
actually semen swabs. There's an anal swab that matches
in terms of YSTR, or male DNA, that is consistent with the
Defendant; although, that ...