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State v. Huffman

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

March 29, 2018

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
SAVONTE D. HUFFMAN DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

          Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-16-605264-A

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Allison S. Breneman

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor By: Mahmoud S. Awadallah Anthony Thomas Miranda Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys Justice Center - 9th Floor

          Before: S. Gallagher, J., McCormack, P.J., and Boyle, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          SEAN C. GALLAGHER, JUDGE

          {¶1} Appellant Savonte D. Huffman appeals from the sentence imposed in Cuyahoga C.P. No. CR-16-605264-A. Upon review, we vacate the sentence and remand the case to the trial court to resentence appellant under the plea agreement or to allow appellant to withdraw his guilty plea.

         {¶2} Appellant was charged under a nine-count indictment in Cuyahoga C.P. No. CR-16-605264-A, an aggravated murder case. On March 14, 2017, the state and appellant reached a plea agreement pursuant to which appellant would plead guilty to Count 1, aggravated murder in violation of R.C. 2903.01(A), with a three-year firearm specification. All remaining counts were nolled. While placing the plea on the record, the prosecutor stated the following:

There is also an additional plea condition that the agreed sentencing range would be from 23 to life to 33 years to life, and that the defendant will forfeit all items seized in this matter. We believe that if this plea is forthcoming, we ask that the remaining counts in this case number be dismissed or nolled. I believe the plea will be forthcoming.

         {¶3} The court proceeded to inquire about a separate case, Cuyahoga C.P. No. CR-16-611587-B, an aggravated robbery case. The prosecutor indicated he was not the prosecutor on that case and then represented that the sentence would merge and there would be no additional time, stating the following:

[T]he state of Ohio would also accept a plea of guilty to that indictment, and the sentence would merge with the sentencing in the aggravated murder; there will be no additional time for that case. It will just be on the aggravated murder count.

         {¶4} After a brief recess, which permitted the prosecutor to contact his supervisor, the state placed on the record the plea offer in Cuyahoga C.P. No. CR-16-611587-B, pursuant to which appellant would plead guilty to two counts of aggravated robbery and one count of receiving stolen property. With regard to the sentence, the prosecutor again represented there would be no additional time on the case, stating as follows:

It's also the State's recommendation that Case [No. CR-16-611587-B] be run concurrent with the sentence in Case [No. CR-16-605264-A]. So there would be no additional time on [Case No. CR-16-611587-B].

         {¶5} The parties then negotiated the firearm specifications in the aggravated robbery case. The prosecutor again represented to the court that "whatever sentence [is imposed] would run concurrent with * * * the homicide case, so there would be no additional time." Defense counsel expressed that he "appreciate[d] the attempts of the state at the last minute to guarantee that [the defendant] doesn't do any additional time." It was then agreed that case No. CR-16-611587-B would be amended to remove the one-and three-year gun specifications to make sure the defendant would not serve any additional time. Defense counsel expressed that "[w]ith those amendments, we believe the plea is forthcoming." Defense counsel then indicated the following on the record:

We would ask that Case [No. CR-16-611587-B] be run concurrent with Case [No. CR-16-605264-A], a sentence of 23 to life through 33 to life. We believe that plea ...

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