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City of Cleveland v. Tittl

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

December 21, 2017

CITY OF CLEVELAND PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
JULIE TITTL DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

         Criminal Appeal from the Cleveland Municipal Court Case No. 2016 TRC 030615

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Mark Stanton Cuyahoga County Public Defender By: Paul Kuzmins Assistant Public Defender

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Barbara A. Langhenry Law Director City of Cleveland Law Department.

          BEFORE: Keough, A.J., E.T. Gallagher, J., and Jones, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          KATHLEEN ANN KEOUGH, A.J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant, Julie Tittl ("Tittl"), appeals her conviction following a no contest plea. For the reasons that follow, we reverse her conviction and remand for further proceedings.

         {¶2} In September 2016, the police responded to the area of Fulton Road and Sackett Avenue after receiving a tip about an erratic driver. When the officers arrived, they found Tittl's car parked in the parking lot of Fulton Beverage. Tittl exited the store and after being questioned, refused to submit to a chemical test; the record is unclear whether field sobriety tests were performed. However, the record indicates that Tittl had "glossy eyes, slurred speech, " which was the basis for arresting and charging her with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol ("OVI"). Following discovery, Tittl filed a motion to suppress, contending that the arresting officers lacked probable cause to arrest her for OVI.

         {¶3} On October 20, 2016, Tittl formally withdrew her motion to suppress, and the city amended the OVI charge to physical control of a motor vehicle in violation of Cleveland Codified Ordinances 433.011 ("physical control"), a misdemeanor of the first degree. Defense counsel then stated:

DEFENSE COUNSEL: Basically we'll enter a plea of no contest to [p]hysical [c]ontrol, stipulate to a finding of guilty and request also that the ALS suspension be terminated, that it be reflected on the journal entry so my client can get her license back. And as the City stated, there are no priors, no accident.

         (Tr. 4.) The trial court then inquired about the facts surrounding the encounter. After hearing from Tittl, the court imposed the following sentence:

THE COURT: Okay. I'm going to terminate the ALS. Fined a thousand dollars, 180 days. I'll suspend the days suspend 750 dollars of the fine. Six months inactive probation. Don't pick up anything else, okay. Good-bye.

(Tr. 7.) Tittl requested community service in lieu of the fine, but the trial court requested that she file a formal motion after she completed a poverty affidavit.

         {¶4} On November 3, 2016, Tittl moved to withdraw her no contest plea. That motion was renewed on November 17. Despite the filings, the trial court did not rule on the motions. Tittl timely appealed from the judgment entry of conviction, and this court granted a stay of execution of sentence pending appeal. Subsequently, this court remanded the case back to the trial court for the limited purpose of ruling on Tittl's motions to withdraw her plea. The trial court denied her motions.

         {¶5} In her sole assignment of error, Tittl contends that the trial court erred in failing to personally inform her of the effect of her no contest plea. We agree. A trial court's obligations in accepting a plea depends on the level of the offense to which the defendant is pleading. N. Royalton v. Semenchuk, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 95357, 2010-Oh ...


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