Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton
Appeal From: Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas TRIAL NO.
T. Deters, Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney, and Scott M.
Heenan, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for
Arenstein & Gallagher, William Gallagher and Elizabeth
Conkin, for Defendant-Appellant.
Defendant-appellant Brooks Beyersdoerfer appeals from the
decision of the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas
sentencing him to 12 months' imprisonment after initially
sentencing him to community control. We hold that the trial
court had no jurisdiction to alter Beyersdoerfer's
sentence, and we vacate the trial court's judgment.
Beyersdoerfer was originally convicted of possession of
heroin under R.C. 2925.11(A), a fifth-degree felony. The
court sentenced him to three years' community control
with the condition that he "enter and successfully
complete all residential phases of the River City
Correctional Program[.]" The court told him that if he
violated the conditions of his community control, it would
sentence him to a year in prison.
The River City program refused to take Beyersdoerfer because
of a medical condition. The court held a resentencing hearing
based on his alleged failure to fulfill the conditions of his
community control. No probation violation was ever filed. The
court made no findings and sentenced Beyersdoerfer to 12
months' imprisonment. No evidence was presented at the
hearing, and Beyersdoerfer was not given an opportunity to
respond or present evidence.
Beyersdoerfer filed a motion for a stay of sentence or for an
appellate bond. During a hearing on that motion, he argued
that the court had already found that he was amenable to
community control and that community control was a proper
sanction. Therefore, the entry sentencing him to a prison
term contradicted the original judgment entry imposing
community control. The trial court noted that it had failed
to state its reasons for sentencing him to prison. It stated,
"I had placed him on probation with a condition that I
wanted him to do River City. He's not eligible for River
City, and therefore, I don't find that he's eligible
for probation." This appeal followed.
Beyersdoerfer presents three assignments of error for review.
In his first assignment of error, he contends that the trial
court violated his right to due process when it
"revoked" his community control and imposed
sentence without notice of a violation and a hearing. Under
this assignment of error, he also argues that the trial court
lacked jurisdiction to modify the sentence. We agree.
Unlike probation, which is a period of time served during
suspension of a sentence, community-control sanctions are
imposed as punishment for the offense at a sentencing
hearing. State v. Heinz, 146 Ohio St.3d 374,
2016-Ohio-2814, 56 N.E.3d 965, ¶ 14; State v.
Blair, 2016-Ohio-5714, 62 N.E.3d 201, ¶ 8 (1st
Dist.). The revocation of community control is an exercise of
the sentencing court's criminal jurisdiction. Following a
community-control violation, the court sentences the offender
anew. Heinz at ¶ 15-16; State v.
Fraley, 105 Ohio St.3d 13, 2004-Ohio-7110, 821 N.E.2d
995, ¶ 17; Blair at ¶ 8.
Put another way, community control is the sentence, and
absent statutory authority, the trial court has no
jurisdiction to modify that sentence. State v.
Saxon, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 104295, 2017-Ohio-93,
¶ 12; State v. Cauthen, 1st Dist. Hamilton No.
C-130475, 2015-Ohio-272, ¶ 18. R.C. 2929.15(B) does not
authorize the court to modify the sentence absent a violation
of the conditions of community control. Saxon at
¶ 12. A trial court lacks jurisdiction to alter the
final sentence unless it determines the defendant violated
the terms of community control as imposed in the final
sentencing entry. Id.
Beyersdoerfer did not violate the conditions of his community
control, and the trial court did not treat the second hearing
like a hearing on a community-control violation. The court
acted as if a final sentence had not been entered. But a
judgment entry with a sentence of community control had
already been journalized. Consequently, the court improperly
amended a sentence that was already final. Once the entry was
journalized, the court had no jurisdiction to modify the
Consequently, we sustain Beyersdoerfer's first assignment
of error and vacate the trial court's judgment altering
Beyersdoerfer's sentence of community control. We find
Beyersdoerfer's other ...