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State v. Morrison

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Noble

January 2, 2018

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JERAD M. MORRISON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

         CHARACTER OF PROCEEDINGS: Criminal Appeal from Court of Common Pleas of Noble County, Ohio Case No. 212-2047

          For Plaintiff-Appellee Attorney James L. Peters Prosecutor

          For Defendant-Appellant Jerad Morrison, Pro-se #679-173 Belmont Correctional Inst. P.O. Box 540 St. Clairsville, Ohio 43950

          JUDGES: Hon. Gene Donofrio Hon. Cheryl L. Waite Hon. Carol Ann Robb

          OPINION

          DONOFRIO, J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant, Jerad Morrison, appeals the decision of the Noble County Court of Common Pleas to deny his motion to vacate his sentence and withdraw his guilty plea to one count of murder in violation of R.C. 2903.02(A), an unclassified felony.

         {¶2} Appellant was arrested and indicted for murder with a firearm specification. Appellant initially entered a not guilty plea to the charge. Through plea negotiations, plaintiff-appellee, the State of Ohio, dismissed the firearm specification and appellant entered a guilty plea to the one count of murder. The court accepted the plea negotiation and, on motion from the state without objection from appellant, proceeded immediately to perform the Crim.R. 11 colloquy and then sentence appellant.

         {¶3} The facts regarding appellant's colloquy are in dispute. The state asserts that the trial court conducted the colloquy properly. Appellant asserts that the trial court made confusing or contradictory statements between the colloquy and its subsequent judgment entry. Specifically, appellant asserts that the sentencing judgment entry stated he had the possibility of days of earned credit off of his minimum sentence. However, appellant later learned from the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections that this was not true.

         {¶4} After the colloquy, the trial court sentenced appellant to imprisonment for life with the possibility of parole after fifteen years and 261 days of credit for time served.

         {¶5} Appellant then filed a motion for a delayed appeal seeking to overturn his conviction in this Court. Appellant's motion for a delayed appeal was granted and appellant was appointed appellate counsel. However, appellant later filed a motion to dismiss his appeal which this Court also granted.

         {¶6} Appellant then filed a pro se motion to vacate his sentence and to withdraw his guilty plea in the Noble County Court of Common Pleas. Appellant argued that his sentence and guilty plea were void because he was not informed by the trial court that he was ineligible for probation and because he was under the belief that he was eligible for days of earned credit off of his minimum sentence but was later informed by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections that this was not true.

         {¶7} On December 6, 2016, the trial court denied appellant's motion to vacate his sentence and withdraw his guilty plea. Appellant timely filed this pro se appeal on December 29, 2016. Appellant raises two assignments of error.

         {¶8} Appellant's first assignment of error states:

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED TO THE PREJUDICE OF APPELLANT IN ITS ACCEPTANCE OF A GUILTY PLEA WHICH WAS NOT KNOWING, INTELLIGENT AND VOLUNTARY, IN VIOLATION OF APPELLANT'S DUE PROCESS RIGHTS UNDER THE FIFTH AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION AND ARTICLE I, SECTION 16 OF THE OHIO CONSTITUTION.

         {¶9} Appellant argues that he was not fully advised of the potential penalties of his guilty plea to murder. Specifically, appellant argues that he was under the impression that he was eligible to receive earned days of credit off of his minimum sentence. In essence, appellant was under the impression he was eligible for early release before his minimum sentence was served. However, appellant was ...


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