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State v. Gault

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Third District, Logan

April 30, 2018

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
CHRISTOPHER GAULT, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

          Appeal from Logan County Common Pleas Court Trial Court No. CR17-06-0187

          Eric J. Allen for Appellant

          Eric C. Stewart for Appellee

          OPINION

          SHAW, J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant, Christopher Gault ("Gault"), appeals the September 12, 2017, judgment of the Logan County Common Pleas Court sentencing him to serve a 6-year prison term after he pled no contest to, and was found guilty of, Aggravated Vehicular Assault in violation of R.C. 2903.08(A)(1)(a)/(B)(1)(a), a felony of the second degree, and OVI in violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(a), a misdemeanor of the first degree. On appeal, Gault argues that the record did not support his sentence.

         Relevant Facts and Procedural History

         {¶2} On June 10, 2017, at approximately 11:25 p.m., Gault was entering U.S. 33 from County Road 270 in Logan County when he drove into the path of an oncoming motorcycle. The motorcycle operator hit the side of Gault's vehicle and suffered serious injuries, including, inter alia, a broken vertebra. Deputies that responded to the scene met with Gault and found him to have very bloodshot, glassy eyes and his speech was very slurred. Gault admitted to drinking alcohol and he did poorly on field sobriety tests. Witnesses at the scene indicated that Gault had pulled into the path of the motorcycle.

         {¶3} On June 14, 2017, Gault was indicted for Driving Under Suspension in violation of R.C. 4510.11, a first degree misdemeanor, Failure to Yield in violation of R.C. 4511.43, a minor misdemeanor, OVI in violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(a), a first degree misdemeanor, and Aggravated Vehicular Assault in violation of R.C. 2903.08(A)(1)(a)/(B)(1)(a), a felony of the second degree. Gault originally pled not guilty to the charges.

         {¶4} On August 10, 2017, Gault entered into a written, negotiated plea agreement wherein he agreed to plead no contest to Aggravated Vehicular Assault and OVI as indicted, and in exchange the State agreed to dismiss the remaining charges against Gault. The parties also agreed to jointly recommend a mandatory 4-year prison term.

         {¶5} The trial court engaged in a Criminal Rule 11 colloquy with Gault, determining that his plea was knowing, voluntary, and intelligent. As part of the colloquy, the trial court ensured that Gault understood that the court was not bound by the parties' sentencing recommendation. Afterward, the trial court had the State recite a factual basis for the crimes, found Gault guilty of Aggravated Vehicular Assault and OVI as charged, and set sentencing for a later date.

         {¶6} On September 12, 2017, Gault's case proceeded to sentencing. The State and Gault's attorney reiterated their recommended prison term. Then, the trial court recited portions of Gault's criminal history, including multiple felony convictions, some of which dealt with drugs and alcohol.

         {¶7} The trial court indicated that due to the nature of the crime, the serious injuries to the victim, and Gault's criminal history, it would not impose the recommended prison term. Gault was sentenced to serve a 6-year prison term on the Aggravated Vehicular Assault charge and a 30-day jail term for the OVI, consecutive to each other, with credit for time served. A judgment entry memorializing Gault's sentence was filed that same day. It is from this judgment that Gault appeals, asserting the following assignment of error for our review.

         Assignment of Error No. 1 The record in this matter does not support the imposition of consecutive sentences pursuant to state law R.C. 2929.14.

         {¶8} In the statement of the assignment of error, Gault argues that the record does not support the imposition of consecutive sentences. However, in the body of the argument, Gault seems to be indicating that the trial court's imposition of a 6-year prison term was not supported by the record. The body of his argument contains no actual claims with regard to consecutive sentences. He appears to ...


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