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State v. Singletary

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Butler

March 26, 2018

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JAMES A. SINGLETARY, Defendant-Appellant.

          CRIMINAL APPEAL FROM BUTLER COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS Case No. CR2016-07-0986

          Michael T. Gmoser, Butler County Prosecuting Attorney, Willa Concannon, for plaintiff-appellee.

          Michele Temmel, for defendant-appellant.

          OPINION

          RINGLAND, J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, James Singletary, appeals from his conviction in the Butler County Court of Common Pleas after he pled no contest to one count of failure to verify a current residence, school, institution of higher education, or place of employment address in violation of R.C. 2950.06. For the reasons detailed below, we affirm.

         {¶ 2} In 1987, Singletary was convicted of rape and aggravated robbery, both first-degree felonies and was sentenced to a prison term of eight to 25 years. While Singletary was still in prison, Chapter R.C. 2950, "Megan's Law" became effective. This act provided for judicial classification of sex offenders and instituted registration and reporting requirements for each category of offender.

         {¶ 3} Due to the enactment of that law, in June 1997, while Singletary was serving his prison sentence, the trial court held an offender classification hearing. Thereafter, the trial court found that Singletary was a sexual predator "by clear and convincing evidence after carefully considering all relevant factors including those enumerated in R.C. 2950.09(B)(2)." However, the trial court declined to classify Singletary as a sexual predator after finding that the classification, as applied to him, violated the ex post facto clause of the United States Constitution and the retroactive clause of the Ohio Constitution.

         {¶ 4} The state appealed and the trial court's decision was reversed by this court in State v. Jones, 12th Dist. Butler Nos. CA97-05-103, CA97-05-106, CA97-05-111, CA97-05-112, CA97-06-122, CA97-06-124, and CA97-06-131, 1998 Ohio App. LEXIS 1079 (Mar. 23, 1998). In so doing, this court remanded the matter to the trial court with directions to issue a new order classifying Singletary as a sexual predator. On December 16, 1998, the trial court ordered that Singletary was adjudicated as a sexual predator and, upon his release from prison, pursuant to R.C. Chapter 2950, he was required to register and verify his address every 90 days for life, and was also subject to the community notification provisions. Singletary was released from prison on September 27, 2006.

         {¶ 5} On September 21, 2016, Singletary was indicted on one count of failure to verify a current residence, school, institution of higher education, or place of employment address in violation of R.C. 2950.06. Singletary moved to dismiss the indictment, again raising the same arguments from his prior appeal, i.e., that his sexual predator classification violated ex post facto and retroactivity principles. In addition, Singletary raised additional constitutional challenges, arguing that his classification was cruel and unusual punishment, and violated principles of equal protection and due process. The trial court denied Singletary's motion to dismiss.

         {¶ 6} Thereafter, Singletary pled no contest to the charges and was found guilty of one count of failure to verify. Singletary was sentenced to community control. Singletary now appeals, raising three assignments of error for review.

         {¶ 7} Assignment of Error No. 1:

         {¶ 8} THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT DENIED MR. SINGLETARY'S MOTION TO DISMISS THE INDICTMENT.

         {¶ 9} Assignment of Error No. 2:

         {¶ 10} THE COURT WAS STATUTORILY UNAUTHORIZED TO CLASSIFY MR. ...


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