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State v. Dawson

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fourth District, Pickaway

March 23, 2018

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DWAYNE C. DAWSON, Defendant-Appellant.

          Matthew L. O'Leary, Circleville, Ohio, for defendant-appellant.

          Judy C. Wolford, Pickaway County Prosecuting Attorney, and Heather MJ Armstrong, Pickaway County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Circleville, Ohio, for plaintiff-appellee.

          DECISION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY

          Marie Hoover, Presiding Judge

         {¶1} This is an appeal from a judgment of conviction and sentence entered by the Pickaway County Court of Common Pleas following a guilty plea by Dwayne C. Dawson ("Dawson"), appellant herein, to one count of involuntary manslaughter and one count of trafficking in heroin. On appeal, Dawson contends that his sentence was clearly and convincingly contrary to law. Specifically, Dawson claims that the record does not support the trial court's consideration of R.C. 2929.11 and R.C. 2929.12.

         {¶2} For the reasons discussed more fully below, we overrule Dawson's sole assignment of error and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

          {¶3} In June 2016, the Pickaway County Grand Jury returned an indictment charging Dawson with one count of involuntary manslaughter, in violation of R.C. 2903.04(A), a felony of the first degree, and one count of trafficking in heroin, in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(1)/(C)(6)(a), a felony of the fifth degree. In August 2016, Dawson pleaded not guilty at his arraignment.

         {¶4} The charges stemmed from the death of Jessica Lillie, a twenty-seven year old woman. Jessica had been in an accident for which a doctor prescribed pain killers. She had become addicted to the pills; and when they ran out, she did heroin. On the evening of the crime, Dawson had left a dose of heroin outside of Jessica's home for her to retrieve. Early the next morning, Jessica was found cross-legged on the floor, dead.

         {¶5} In December 2016, the matter was scheduled for a jury trial. On the day of trial, the parties presented the trial court with a "Petition to Enter Plea of Guilty." Dawson petitioned the trial court to accept his pleas of guilty to the two counts of the indictment. The petition specified that the maximum penalty for the involuntary manslaughter charge was eleven years; and the maximum penalty for the trafficking in heroin charge was twelve months. Although the petition specifically stated that the State would recommend a three year sentence, the petition, that Dawson executed, also stated:

I also understand that if I plead "Guilty" to the charges against me, the Court may impose the same punishment as if I had plead "Not Guilty, " stood trial and had been convicted by a jury.

         {¶6} The trial court accepted the guilty pleas to both counts, entered a finding of guilt, and passed the case for sentencing until such time that the pre-sentence investigation report could be completed and reviewed.

          {¶7} In March 2017, Dawson was sentenced. Although the State had recommended a sentence of three years in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, the trial court sentenced Dawson to eleven years on the offense of involuntary manslaughter and twelve months on the offense of trafficking in heroin. The sentences were ordered to run concurrent with one another.

         {¶8} Dawson appealed his conviction.

         II. ...


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