Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
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.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
Defendant Michael Hanford appeals his conviction for murder
following a guilty plea. For the reasons that follow, we
affirm and remand.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
IV. Michael Hanford's bail was excessive; cruel and
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.
Under R.C. 2967.191, a defendant is entitled to jail-time
credit for confinement that is related to the offense ...