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State v. Griffin

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

January 9, 2018

State of Ohio, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Calvin Griffin, Defendant-Appellant.

         APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas C.P.C. No. 12CR-2434

         On brief:

          Ron O'Brien, Prosecuting Attorney, and Laura R. Swisher, for appellee., Andrew P. Avellano, for appellant.

         Argued:

          Laura R. Swisher, Andrew P. Avellano.

          DECISION

          BRUNNER, J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Calvin Griffin, appeals a June 12, 2017 decision on motion of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas denying his post-sentencing motion to withdraw a guilty plea entered nearly five years earlier that resulted in a ten-year prison sentence. Because we find that the trial court did not abuse its discretion denying Griffin's post-sentencing request to withdraw his guilty plea, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY[1]

         {¶ 2} On July 1, 2010, Griffin was indicted in case No. 10CR-3850 for possession of a weapon while under a disability and felonious assault with a gun specification. While that case was pending, Griffin was indicted in three more cases, Nos. 12CR-470, 12CR-1407, and 12CR-1543 for various drug and weapons offenses. Griffin was also reindicted, in case No. 12CR-2434, for the same offenses set forth in No. 10CR-3850, but this time with the addition of a "drive-by" specification as set forth in R.C. 2941.146; i.e., "committing a felony that includes, as an essential element, purposely or knowingly causing or attempting to cause the death of or physical harm to another and that was committed by discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle other than a manufactured home."

         {¶ 3} Following guilty verdicts in case No. 12CR-470, Griffin pled guilty to all counts in case No. 12CR-1407 and No. 12CR-1543, and also pled guilty to the felonious assault charge in case No. 12CR-2434. (Aug. 10, 2012 Jgmt. Entry case No. 12CR-2434 at 1; Aug. 10, 2012 Jgmt. Entry in case No. 12CR-470 at 1, Ex. 5 to Mar. 28, 2017 Mot. to Withdraw Plea.) The weapon under disability count in case No. 12CR-2434 was dismissed as was case No. 10CR-3850. (Aug. 10, 2012 Jgmt. Entry case No. 12CR-2434 at 1.) In case No. 12CR-2434, the trial court sentenced Griffin to four years on the felonious assault count and five years on the drive-by specification, to be served consecutively to the four years for felonious assault. Id. at 2. The trial court imposed this sentence consecutively to a one-year specification imposed in case No. 12CR-470. Id. The sentences in the other cases were: four years plus the one-year consecutive specification for case No. 12CR-470, one year for case No. 12CR-1407, and one year for case No. 12CR-1543. (Aug. 10, 2012 Jgmt. Entry in case No. 12CR-470 at 2, Ex. 5 to Mot. to Withdraw Plea; Feb. 22, 2017 Sentence Computation, Ex. 3 to Mot. to Withdraw Plea.) Except for the four-year sentence in case No. 12CR-2434, which was consecutive to the five-year specification and the one-year specification in case No. 12CR-470, all sentences in all the cases were to be served concurrently with each other. (Aug. 10, 2012 Jgmt. Entry case No. 12CR-2434 at 2; Aug. 10, 2012 Jgmt. Entry in case No. 12CR-470 at 2; Feb. 22, 2017 Sentence Computation.) In short, the total term of incarceration imposed was ten years. (Aug. 10, 2012 Jgmt. Entry case No. 12CR-2434 at 2.)

         {¶ 4} Griffin appealed case No. 12CR-470 alleging that he was deprived of the right to counsel of his choice when the trial court refused to appoint new counsel on the morning of trial and that he was denied effective assistance of counsel when his counsel failed to file a motion to suppress certain evidence against him. State v. Griffin, 10th Dist. No. 12AP-798, 2013-Ohio-5389, ¶ 5. This Court overruled both of Griffin's assignments of error and affirmed. Id. at ¶ 22, in passim. Griffin did not timely appeal any of his other cases.

         {¶ 5} On March 28, 2017, Griffin filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea in case No. 12CR-2434. (Mar. 28, 2017 Mot. to Withdraw Plea.) In his motion, he argued that he should be permitted to withdraw his plea based on counsel's alleged failure to advise him competently of an offer by the prosecution to resolve all of his pending cases for a total prison term of six years. Id. in passim. Griffin also argued that the proper remedy is for the six-year deal to be reinstated such that Griffin's sentence in all cases does not exceed six years. Id. at 18. The motion was apparently not filed in any of his other cases, Nos. 12CR-470, 12CR-1407, or 12CR-1543, none of which contained sentences beyond six years.

         {¶ 6} Following briefing by the State and a reply in support by Griffin, the trial court issued a decision on June 12, 2017. (June 12, 2017 Decision on Mot.) It found that transcripts showed that Griffin was apprised of more than one plea deal throughout the course of proceedings, including the six-year offer and that he rejected all of them. Id. at 1-2. Griffin now appeals that ruling but has not attempted to appeal any of his other cases in relation to his motion.

         II. ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

         {¶ 7} Griffin asserts a single assignment of error for review:

The trial court erred in denying Appellant's motion to withdraw his guilty plea and reinstate a "global" plea deal to resolve four pending cases, as Appellant was denied effective assistance of counsel in the resolution of his guilty plea in said cases, in violation of the Ohio Constitution, Article I, Section 10 and in violation the 6th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

         III. DISCUSSION

         {¶ 8} When a defendant seeks to withdraw his or her guilty plea after sentence is imposed, the court "may set aside the judgment of conviction and permit the defendant to withdraw his or her plea" in order "to correct manifest injustice." Crim.R. 32.1; see also State v. Reeder, 12th Dist. No. CA2013-05-075, 2014-Ohio-2233, ¶ 23. The accused has the burden of showing a manifest injustice warranting the withdrawal of a guilty plea. State v. Smith, 49 Ohio St.2d 261');">49 Ohio St.2d 261 (1977), paragraph one of the syllabus.

The decision whether to hold a hearing on a postsentence motion to withdraw guilty plea and whether to grant or deny the motion is left to the discretion of the trial court. [] Smith, 49 Ohio St.2d 261');">49 Ohio St.2d 261 [], paragraph two of the syllabus * * *. Therefore, this court's review of the trial court's denial of a post-sentence motion to withdraw a guilty plea or the decision not to hold a hearing is limited to a determination of whether the trial court abused its discretion. State v. Conteh, 10th Dist. No. 09AP-490, 2009-Ohio-6780, ¶ 16.

State v. Chandler, 10th Dist. No. 13AP-452, 2013-Ohio-4671, ¶ 8. "Although an abuse of discretion is typically defined as an unreasonable, arbitrary, or unconscionable decision, we note that no court has the authority, within its discretion, to commit an error of law." (Citations omitted.) Id., citing State v. Beavers, 10th Dist. No. 11AP-1064, 2012-Ohio-3654, ...


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