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State v. Crawford

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

March 29, 2018

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
JOHN CRAWFORD DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

          Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-15-596358-A

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Myriam A. Miranda.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor BY: Mary Weston Assistant County Prosecutor.

          BEFORE: Jones, J., McCormack, P.J., and Keough, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          LARRY A. JONES, SR., J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant John Crawford ("Crawford") appeals his conviction and sentence for sexual battery, rape, and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. Finding no merit to the appeal, we affirm.

         {¶2} In 2015, Crawford was charged in a 18-count indictment with multiple counts of rape, kidnapping, complicity to commit rape, and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. The matter proceeded through a long and arduous pretrial process related to Crawford's desire to switch attorneys. Crawford finally agreed to plead guilty to one count of sexual battery, with the named victim J.G.; one count of rape, with the named victim L.R.; and one count of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, with the named victim S.T. As part of the plea agreement, Crawford agreed to be classified as a sexual predator for purposes of his sex offender registration duties under Megan's Law, and was advised that upon his release from prison he will have to register as a sex offender every 90 days for the rest of his life. Crawford also agreed that he would not be eligible for judicial or any other type of early release.

         {¶3} During the plea hearing, the state explained that Crawford's convictions for sexual battery and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor were subject to the sexual offender registration requirements under Megan's Law because the crimes occurred before January 1, 2008. The state further explained that his conviction for rape was subject to the registration requirements under the Adam Walsh Act because the crime occurred after January 1, 2008.

         {¶4} The trial court engaged in a colloquy with Crawford and informed him of his constitutional rights, the nature of the charged offenses, and the consequences of the plea agreement, including the maximum possible penalties. The trial court advised Crawford of: (a) the right to counsel; (b) the right to a trial by jury; (c) the right to confront witnesses; (d) the right to compulsory process via the subpoena power; (e) the right to have the state prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt; and (f) the right not to testify against himself.

         {¶5} When asked, Crawford informed the court that he understood his rights and the penalties that he was facing, he could read and write, and he was not under the influence of any drugs, medication, or alcohol. He further stated he had not been promised anything, threatened, or coerced in connection with the plea, and was satisfied with the representation of his attorney.

         {¶6} At the sentencing hearing, the trial court reviewed the state's sentencing memorandum, which requested the maximum possible penalty and informed the parties that the maximum possible penalty was 17½ years incarceration, not 18½ years as had been indicated at the time of the plea.

         {¶7} J.G. was present in court at the time of the sentencing. The state told the court that J.G. had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the assault, suffered from nightmares and had trouble sleeping, and still needed counseling more than ten years after the assault occurred in 2004. The state read into the record J.G.'s and L.R.'s victim impact statements. J.G. described herself as "broken" and emotionally damaged. L.R.'s statement noted that she suffered to this day as a result of the assault, had difficulty communicating and having relationships with males, was afraid of the dark, crowds, and cars that looked like Crawford's, and could not talk about the assault with her family or therapist.

         {¶8} The court stated that it had considered the record, the presentence investigation report, the statements made at the sentencing hearing, the state's sentencing memorandum, the victim impact statements, and all other information provided to the court.

         {¶9} In sentencing Crawford, the trial court stated the following:

My role here today is to punish you for the crimes that you pled to, to protect the public from future crimes.
* * *
The court must and has formulated its decision based upon the overriding principles and purposes of felony sentencing, namely to protect the public from future crime by the defendant and to punish the offender using the minimum sanctions the court determines accomplishes those purposes without imposing an unnecessary burden on state or local government.
To achieve these purposes, the court has considered the need for incapacitation, deterrence and rehabilitation. This court has also considered the seriousness and recidivism factors relevant to the offense and the offender. * * * The court has considered the offender's conduct is more serious than conduct normally constituting the offense, because of the physical and mental injuries suffered by the victim[s] of the offense, due to the conduct of the offender, was exacerbated because of the physical and mental condition or age of the victims. The victims of the offenses suffered serious physical, psychological harm as a result of the offense.
* * * You have a lengthy history of committing such crimes and have admittedly stated that you've "wronged a thousand women." You have a high likelihood to re-offend.
The court must and has insured that the sentence being imposed does not demean the seriousness of the crime and the impact that it has on the victims, and is consistent with ...

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