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State v. Hanford

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

April 5, 2018

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
MICHAEL P. HANFORD DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

          Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-16-605749-A

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Ruth R. Fischbein-Cohen

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor By: Holly Welsh Assistant County Prosecutor

          BEFORE: McCormack, J., E.A. Gallagher, A.J., and S. Gallagher, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          TIM MCCORMACK, JUDGE.

         {¶1} Defendant Michael Hanford appeals his conviction for murder following a guilty plea. For the reasons that follow, we affirm and remand.

         Procedural History

         {¶2} On May 2, 2016, Hanford was charged in a multicount indictment: Count 1 - aggravated murder in violation of R.C. 2903.01(A); Count 2 - murder in violation of R.C. 2903.02(A); Count 3 - murder in violation of R.C. 2903.02(B); Count 4 -felonious assault in violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(1); Count 5 - felonious assault in violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(2); Count 6 - carrying a concealed weapon in violation of R.C. 2923.12(A)(2); and Count 7 - tampering with evidence in violation of R.C. 2921.12(A)(1). Each count contained a forfeiture of a weapon (a knife) specification. The incident stems from the stabbing of Hanford's neighbor, James Kilbane, nine times during an argument Hanford was having with his girlfriend.

         {¶3} On September 22, 2016, the court found, following a hearing, that Hanford was not competent to stand trial but could be restored to competency if provided with a course of treatment. The court ordered Hanford to Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare for inpatient treatment for competency restoration. In February 2017, Hanford was referred to the mental health and developmental disabilities court for eligibility screening, and his case was transferred to the mental health docket. Forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Megan Testa, opined that Hanford possessed the ability to understand the nature and objective of the court proceedings and had the capacity to assist in his defense.

         {¶4} On July 12, 2017, Hanford withdrew his previously entered not guilty plea. He pleaded guilty to the murder charge in Count 2 and agreed to forfeit the weapon. In exchange, the state agreed to nolle the remaining charges. After hearing from the victim's family and defense counsel, the trial court imposed a sentence of life in prison, with the opportunity for parole after 15 years. The court waived any fine but ordered Hanford to pay court costs by working community work service in prison.

         {¶5} On September 6, 2017, Hanford filed a pro se motion for leave to file a delayed appeal, which we granted. This court then appointed counsel to represent Hanford on appeal.

         {¶6} Hanford now raises four assignments of error for our review:

I. Michael Hanford was not given credit for time served.
II. It was error for trial counsel not to move the court to waive court costs.
III. Michael Hanford's plea of guilty was not made knowingly, thereby rendering the plea as invalid and unconstitutional.
IV. Michael Hanford's bail was excessive; cruel and unusual punishment.

         Jail-Time Credit

         {¶7} In his first assignment of error, Hanford claims the trial court erred in failing to give him credit for jail time served. The court's sentencing entry states, "Jail credit days to date to be calculated by the sheriff." The state concedes the error and states that Hanford is entitled to 444 days of jail-time credit.

         {¶8} Under R.C. 2967.191, a defendant is entitled to jail-time credit for confinement that is related to the offense ...


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