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State v. Hutchison

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Licking

January 11, 2018

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
RANDALL T. HUTCHISON Defendant-Appellant

         Appeal from the Licking County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 15 CR 00045

          For Plaintiff-Appellee: WILLIAM C. HAYES LICKING CO. PROSECUTOR PAULA M. SAWYERS

          For Defendant-Appellant: MICHAEL R. DALSANTO

          Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, P.J. Hon. John W. Wise, J. Hon. Craig R. Baldwin, J.

          OPINION

          Delaney, P.J.

         {¶1} Appellant Randall T. Hutchison appeals from the October 18, 2016 Judgment of Conviction of Sentence and May 29, 2016 Decision and Order Denying Defendant's Motion to Withdraw Guilty Pleas of the Licking County Court of Common Pleas. Appellee is the state of Ohio.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         {¶2} The following facts are adduced from appellee's statement at the change-of-plea and sentencing hearing on October 17, 2016. These facts are also contained in the "Memorandum Documenting Nature of Plea Agreement" signed by appellant, appellee, and defense trial counsel on October 17, 2016.

         {¶3} This case arose on November 5, 2014 in the city of Newark. Law enforcement prepared to execute a search warrant at 58 ½ Union Street during an investigation of appellant's involvement in counterfeiting. Appellant left the residence and engaged in a confrontation with police, during which he discharged a firearm at Ptl. Jarrod Conley of the Newark Police Department.[1] Ptl. Conley was struck in the arm and vest, causing serious physical harm.

         {¶4} At the time of the shooting, Ptl. Conley was in uniform and had just exited a marked police car.

         {¶5} Prior to this confrontation, appellant had stated "he would engage in a shootout with police if he ever faced being re-arrested." (Memorandum, 4).

         {¶6} After shooting Ptl. Conley, appellant fled on foot, pursued by Det. Doug Bline, who was in plain clothes. Appellant became aware of Det. Bline's pursuit in the area of West Church Street; appellant "raised his firearm directly at Det. Bline in such a fashion as to manifest a substantial step toward shooting at him * * *." (Memorandum, 4). Det. Bline struck appellant with the vehicle he (Bline) was driving. Appellant's firearm was found at the scene.

         {¶7} Appellant was alleged to have recklessly violated the terms of a protection order issued or consent agreement approved pursuant to R.C. 2919.26 or 3113.31 of the Revised Code, and/or a protection order issued pursuant to Section 2151.34, 2903.213, or 2903.214 of the Revised Code. These protection orders were issued in Licking County Common Pleas Court, Domestic Relations Division, Case No. 14-DR-1161 and Licking County Common Pleas Court, General Division, Case No. 09-CV-2135; both protection orders were in effect on November 5, 2014; and both protection orders prohibited appellant from possessing, using, carrying, or obtaining any deadly weapons, including a firearm.

         {¶8} Appellant was in actual or constructive possession of, as a principal offender or in complicity with one or more others, "counterfeit" U.S. currency in the Union Street residence, in the vehicle he was driving before the confrontation with law enforcement, and/or in the personal effects removed from his person at the hospital. Additionally, appellant did with purpose to defraud or knowing that he was facilitating a fraud, did utter, or possess with purpose to utter, any writing that he knew to be forged.

         {¶9} Appellant was in actual and/or constructive possession of, as a principal offender or in complicity with one or more others, items used to facilitate the counterfeiting of U.S. currency including but not limited to a printer/copier and copying paper to manufacture counterfeit bills; chemicals to "bleach" real U.S. currency; one or more vehicles to transport counterfeit bills and/or to transport items/equipment to aid in the counterfeiting process itself; and real U.S. currency from which to make copies or that can be bleached.

         {¶10} Appellant acknowledged the facts presented, that those facts would have been presented to a jury, and that if presented to the jury would have been sufficient to sustain convictions as described infra. (T. 23).

         {¶11} Appellant was charged by indictment as follows: Count I, felonious assault pursuant to R.C. 2903.11(A)(2), a felony of the first degree; Count II, felonious assault pursuant to R.C. 2903.11(A)(2), a felony of the first degree; Count III, improper handling of firearms in a motor vehicle pursuant to R.C. 2923.16(B), a felony of the fourth degree; Count IV, violation of a protection order pursuant to R.C. 2919.27(A)(1) and/or (2) and (B)(4), a felony of the third degree; County V, forgery pursuant to R.C. 2913.31(A)(3), a felony of the fifth degree; Count VI, possession of criminal tools pursuant to R.C. 2923.24(A), a felony of the fifth degree. Count I is accompanied by firearm specifications pursuant to R.C. 2941.1412 and R.C. 2941.145; Count II is accompanied by a firearm specification pursuant to R.C. 2941.145.

         {¶12} Appellant entered pleas of not guilty.

         {¶13} On July 10, 2015, appellant filed a motion for psychological evaluations, asserting he had "severe mental illness" and possible "intellectual/adaptive functioning impairments" affecting his ability to meaningfully assist in his defense. On July 14, 2015, the trial court ordered appellant to submit to a psychological examination pursuant to R.C. 2945.37(A).

         {¶14} While the instant case was pending, in an unrelated matter, appellant's federal supervision was revoked and he was sentenced to a federal prison term of 24 months.

         {¶15} On September 11, 2015, the trial court filed a Judgment Entry accepting a Netcare Report and adopting the finding that appellant was capable of understanding the nature and objective of the proceedings and assisting in his defense. Appellant was therefore competent to stand trial.

         {¶16} On September 16, 2015, appellant filed a pro se memorandum requesting new trial counsel, which the trial court granted on September 18, 2015.

         {¶17} Appellant moved for, and was granted, the services of a private investigator at public expense. Appellant also moved for, and was granted, the services of an expert crash investigator/reconstructionist.

         {¶18} On May 16, 2016, the trial court filed a Judgment Entry indicating appellant requested a new trial at a status conference and the request was granted. The Office of the Ohio Public Defender was appointed to represent appellant.

         {¶19} On October 18, 2016, appellant entered negotiated pleas of guilty to Count I, felonious assault of a police officer and the second accompanying firearm specification;[2]Count III, improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle; Count IV, violation of a protection order; Count V, forgery; and Count VI, possession of criminal tools. Appellant entered an Alford plea to Count II, which was amended to attempted felonious assault pursuant to R.C. 2903.11(A)(1) and 2923.02, a felony of the third degree, and the accompanying firearm specification. The Entry of Guilty Pleas filed October 18, 2016, states the parties' agreement "[t]hat the parties will jointly recommend that on the charges in this case the Court impose a prison sentence not less than ...


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