Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
Nos. CR-15-600498-B, CR-15-601351-B
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Kevin H. Cronin
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor BY: Glen Ramdhan Assistant Prosecuting
Celebrezze, J., Keough, P.J., and Jones, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
D. CELEBREZZE, JR., JUDGE.
Appellant, Jacqueline D. Burton, appeals from her convictions
and sentences related to drug trafficking conducted from her
house, primarily by Demetrius Simpson. She claims that the
trial court erred by imposing consecutive sentences for two
gun specifications, and by failing to consider her due
process rights in the court's forfeiture decision. After
a thorough review of the record and law, this court affirms.
Factual and Procedural History
Following up on neighbor complaints and observations of heavy
traffic in and out of a house, Cleveland police officers
conducted a series of controlled purchases of marijuana from
a house occupied by appellant and Simpson. The confidential
informants always purchased marijuana from Simpson. Twice,
the police served search warrants on the address and both
times found marijuana, cash, guns, and other items indicative
of drug trafficking.
Appellant was arrested and charged in two criminal cases with
various crimes related to drug trafficking. Simpson was also
arrested and charged, but absconded during the pretrial
phase, so appellant was tried alone.
A jury trial commenced in early February 2017. The forfeiture
specifications, however, were tried to the bench. After
several days, the jury trial closed, and the jury returned
its verdicts on February 7, 2017. In CR-15-600498-B, the jury
found appellant guilty of drug trafficking, a fourth-degree
felony violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(2); possession of
criminal tools, a fifth-degree felony violation of R.C.
2923.24(A); permitting drug abuse, a fifth-degree felony
violation of R.C. 2925.13(B); and six counts of endangering
children, first-degree misdemeanor violations of R.C.
2919.22(A). The drug trafficking count and the permitting
drug abuse count included one-year firearm specifications.
The drug trafficking count also included a juvenile
specification. The jury found appellant not guilty of one
count of drug trafficking and one count of drug possession.
In CR-15-601351-B, appellant was found guilty of drug
trafficking, a fourth-degree felony violation of R.C.
2925.03(A)(2); possession of criminal tools, a fifth-degree
felony violation of R.C. 2923.24(A); six counts of
endangering children, first-degree misdemeanor violations of
R.C. 2919.22(A). She was found not guilty of a charge of
prohibition of conveyance of certain items under R.C.
2921.36(A)(2). She was also found guilty of one-year firearm
and juvenile specifications that accompanied the drug
Following the verdicts, the court conducted a bench trial on
the forfeiture specifications that accompanied all charges
except child endangerment. At issue was approximately $3, 000
in currency,  three handguns, a rifle, a laptop
computer, a cell phone, a backpack, a scale, a grinder, and
ammunition. The court ordered the forfeiture of all the items
except the laptop and cell phone.
The court then sentenced appellant to a 30-month prison
sentence in CR-15-600498-B. This consisted of an 18-month
sentence on the drug trafficking count, to be served
consecutive to the one-year firearm specification. Appellant
also received a 30-month sentence in CR-15-601351-B, which
again consisted of an 18-month sentence for drug trafficking
served consecutive to the one-year firearm
specification. The court ordered that the firearm
specifications in the two cases be served prior to and
consecutive to each other. Therefore, the court imposed a
total 42-month prison sentence.
Appellant then filed the instant appeal assigning two errors
1. The trial court erred, committing an abuse of discretion,
in insisting it held no authority to consider defendant's
trial court argument that the mandatory one year sentences
for the two firearm specifications could run concurrently,
rather than consecutively, with each other.
2. The trial court erred in failing to provide some framework
for consideration of due process in the seizure of money and
material from [her].