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State v. Allen

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

February 15, 2018

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
SHARONIKA D. ALLEN DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

         Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case Nos. CR-15-600080-A and CR-16-607905-B

          David L. Doughten David L. Doughten, ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT

          Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Holly Welsh Assistant County Prosecutor ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE

          BEFORE: Blackmon, J., S. Gallagher, P.J., and Celebrezze, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          PATRICIA ANN BLACKMON, J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant, Sharonika D. Allen ("Allen"), appeals from her guilty pleas in two cases. Allen assigns the following error for our review:

[Allen's] guilty plea was not entered knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily as the trial court misinformed her that the charged offense included mandatory time, resulting in the appellant accepting a plea to a lesser offense which did not require a mandatory term of incarceration.

         {¶2} Having reviewed the record and pertinent law, we affirm. The apposite facts follow.

         {¶3} On October 23, 2015, Allen was indicted in Case No. CR-15-600080 for one count of escape in violation of R.C. 2921.34(A)(3) for failing to report as required under the terms of postrelease control ordered in Case No. CR-11-548831. On July 12, 2016, Allen and two codefendants were also indicted in Case No. CR-16-607905. As is relevant herein, Allen was charged with four counts of trafficking in persons in violation of R.C. 2905.32 (Counts 1, 4, 9 and 17), three counts of compelling prostitution in violation of R.C. 2907.21(A)(2)(A) (Counts 2, 10, and 18), five counts of kidnapping in violation of R.C. 2905.01(A)(2) (Counts 3, 6, 11, 16, and 19), one count of promoting prostitution in violation of R.C. 2907.22(A)(2) (Count 5), one count of rape in violation of R.C. 2907.02(A)(2) (Count 13), and one count of robbery in violation of R.C. 2911.02(A)(2) (Count 15).

         {¶4} Allen subsequently entered into a plea agreement with the state whereby she pled guilty to the escape charge in Case No. CR-15-600080, and one count of trafficking in persons in Case No. CR-16-607905, that was amended from a first-degree felony to a second-degree felony (reduced Count 1). All remaining charges were dismissed.

         {¶5} Allen was subsequently sentenced to a six-month term for escape, to be served consecutively to an eight-year term for attempted trafficking in persons.

         Guilty Plea

         {¶6} In her sole assigned error, Allen argues that her guilty plea was not knowingly and voluntarily made because the trial court improperly informed Allen that as originally charged, first-degree felony trafficking in persons carried a mandatory term of incarceration, and that by pleading to a lesser included offense that did not require a mandatory sentence, she could also avail herself of programs in the prison and possibly judicial release.

         {¶7} With regard to the procedural law, we note that if a guilty plea is not made knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily, then it is unconstitutional under both the United States Constitution and the Ohio Constitution. State v. Engle,74 Ohio St.3d 525, 527, 1996-Ohio-179, 660 N.E.2d 450. Under Crim.R. 11(C)(2), the trial court ...


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