Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
APPELLANT Julio C. Vargas, pro se.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor By: Frank Romeo Zeleznikar Assistant County
BEFORE: Blackmon, J., Kilbane, P.J., and S. Gallagher, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
PATRICIA ANN BLACKMON, JUDGE.
Defendant-appellant Julio C. Vargas ("Vargas")
appeals from his re-sentencing, following a remand from this
court. Vargas assigns the following error for our review:
Trial court committed prejudice error when the court failed
to find the statutory requirement under R.C. 2929.14(C)(4)(b)
whether the sentence imposed for count 1 and 3 also 7-9 are
dissimilar offenses R.C. 2941.25(B) at the sentencing hearing
was contrary to law violation of defendant United States
Constitutional Rights Amendment, 5, 6, and 14 Multiple
Having reviewed the record and pertinent law, we affirm the
deision of the trial court. The apposite facts follow.
Vargas was indicted in a nine-count indictment in connection
with a wrong-way collision on Interstate 480 on April 5,
2014. In Counts 1 and 2, Vargas was charged with aggravated
vehicular homicide in connection with the death of Desiree
Snyder. In Counts 3 and 4, he was charged with aggravated
vehicular assault in connection with injuries to Antonio
Rodriguez, and Counts 5 and 6 charged him with aggravated
vehicular assault as to other drivers. Counts 7-9 charged him
with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol under
three separate provisions of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1). On June 26,
2014, Vargas pled no contest to all charges. The trial court
merged Counts 1 and 2, and Counts 3 and 4. Vargas was
subsequently sentenced to nine years in prison for Count 1
(aggravated vehicular homicide as to Snyder), six years for
Count 3 (aggravated vehicular assault as to Rodriguez), and
ordered them to be served consecutively for a total of 15
years. The trial court also imposed two-years concurrent
sentences for Counts 5 and 6, (aggravated vehicular
assaults), and six-months concurrent sentences for Counts 7,
8, and 9 (driving under the influence), all to be served
concurrently to the consecutive sentences in Counts 1 and 3.
See State v. Vargas, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 101796,
2015-Ohio-2856 (" Vargas I ").
Vargas appealed his sentence to this court. Id. He
argued that the trial court erred when it failed to merge the
aggravated vehicular homicide of Snyder with the aggravated
vehicular assault of Rodriguez, and that the trial court
erred by imposing consecutive sentences. This court concluded
that because the matter involved two separate victims with
separate harms, one fatal and the other involving near life
threatening injuries, the trial court did not err when it
declined to merge Counts 1 and 3. Id. at ¶ 9.
However, this court concluded that the trial court failed to
make the specific finding that the sentences are "not
disproportionate to the seriousness of the offender's
conduct and to the danger the offender poses to the
public." Therefore, this court issued the following
[W]e vacate Vargas's sentence and remand to the trial
court for the limited purpose of considering whether
consecutive sentences are appropriate under R.C.
2929.14(C)(4), and to make the necessary findings. See
State v. Nia, 2014-Ohio-2527, 15 N.E.3d 892, ¶ 28
Id. at ¶ 16.
On March 22, 2017, the trial court held a resentencing
hearing. The court stated on the record as follows:
Based upon that, and upon this Court's finding, I will
repeat the first part, that the - Mr. Vargas, your actions
that night were both serious for the victims and for other
potential victims, that nothing less than consecutive
sentences would punish you adequately protect society from