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State v. West

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Lorain

March 30, 2018

STATE OF OHIO Appellee
v.
DAVID LEE WEST Appellant

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF LORAIN, OHIO CASE No. 16CR093382

          BRIAN J. DARLING, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          DENNIS P. WILL, Prosecuting Attorney, and NATASHA RUIZ GUERRIERI, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          DONNA J. CARR, Judge.

         {¶1} Defendant-Appellant David West appeals from the judgment of the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas. This Court affirms.

         I.

         {¶2} In March 2016, an indictment was filed alleging that West failed to register a change of address. West ultimately pleaded guilty to the charge. At the plea hearing, the trial court informed West that he needed to show the trial court that he could be successful on community control. To do so, the trial court indicated that West must do several things before he returned for sentencing, one of which was to follow the law.

         {¶3} At the sentencing hearing, prior to imposing sentence, West, West's counsel, and the State were all given an opportunity to speak. See Crim.R. 32(A). The State informed the trial court that, in the interim between the plea and sentencing hearing, West "got[] into more trouble[.]" The trial court then reminded West of what the trial court told West at the plea hearing and began discussing the relevant sentencing statutes. Immediately after the trial court began imposing a prison sentence, instead of placing West on community control, West's counsel indicated that West wished to withdraw his former plea. The trial court summarily denied the motion without a hearing. Immediately after the trial court denied the motion, defense counsel interrupted and asked to speak further for the record. The trial court told defense counsel to proceed. Defense counsel then merely reiterated that West wished to withdraw his plea but did not provide a reason why West wished to do so. Additionally, defense counsel did not request an evidentiary hearing. The trial court then proceeded to sentence West to 10 months in prison.

         {¶4} West has appealed, raising a single assignment of error for our review.

         II.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

         THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN REFUSING TO ALLOW WEST TO WITHDRAW HIS GUILTY PLEA.

         {¶5} West argues in his sole assignment of error that the trial court erred in denying West's motion to withdraw his guilty plea. While his stated assignment of error is broadly worded, the substance of his argument is actually very limited. West maintains that his motion should be viewed as a pre-sentence motion. Thus, because of that, he maintains that the trial court was required to hold a hearing on his motion. Accordingly, because the trial court failed to hold a hearing, he maintains this Court is required to remand the matter for a hearing.

         {¶6} Crim. R. 32.1 provides that, "[a] motion to withdraw a plea of guilty or no contest may be made only before sentence is imposed; but to correct manifest injustice the court after sentence may set aside the judgment of conviction and permit the defendant to withdraw his or her plea." "An appellate court reviews a trial court's order denying a motion to withdraw a guilty plea for an abuse of discretion." State v. Robinson, 9th Dist. Summit No. 28065, 2016-Ohio-8444, ¶ 9. "While a defendant does not have an absolute right to withdraw a guilty plea prior to sentencing, the trial court must conduct a hearing to ascertain whether the motion has a reasonable and legitimate basis." (Emphasis sic.) State v. Ross, 9th Dist. Summit Nos. 26523, 26524, 2013-Ohio-3220, ΒΆ 12. However, this ...


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