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State v. Grant

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

May 3, 2018

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
ANTHONY GRANT DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

          Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case Nos. CR-15-598262-A, CR-15-598310-A, and CR-15-599943-A

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Thomas A.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor By: Blaise D. Thomas Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

          BEFORE: S. Gallagher, J., Keough, P.J., and Stewart, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          SEAN C. GALLAGHER, JUDGE

         {¶1} Appellant Anthony Grant appeals the sentence imposed in three underlying cases, Cuyahoga C.P. Nos. CR-15-598262-A, CR-15-598310-A, and CR-15-599943-A, as well as the imposition of court costs. Upon review, we affirm.

         Background

         {¶2} Appellant was indicted and charged on multiple counts in each of the three underlying cases. He ultimately entered a plea agreement with the state and pleaded guilty to the following charges: in CR-15-598262-A, involuntary manslaughter in violation of R.C. 2903.03 with a three-year firearm specification; in CR-15-598310-A, attempted aggravated robbery in violation of R.C. 2911.01with a one-year firearm specification; and in CR-15-599943-A, to the indictment as charged, which included two counts of having weapons while under disability and one count of carrying a concealed weapon, each with a forfeiture of weapon specification.

         {¶3} With regard to the first two cases, CR-15-598262-A and CR-15-598310-A, there was an agreement to a sentencing range for the two offenses in the aggregate to a term of between 6 and 20 years, which is down from the maximum of up to 26 years. There was no agreement to a sentence in CR-15-599943-A, which was to be in addition to the other two cases.

         {¶4} At sentencing, the trial court indicated it had reviewed the presentence investigation report and appellant's sentencing memorandum. The trial court heard from defense counsel, appellant, persons on appellant's behalf, members of the victims' families, and the assistant prosecutor. The trial court indicated it had considered all the information presented, all the principles and purposes of felony sentencing, and the appropriate recidivism and seriousness factors. The trial court reviewed appellant's criminal history, including his juvenile record. Further, the trial court considered the plea agreement and made the requisite findings for consecutive sentences.

         {¶5} The trial court sentenced appellant as follows.

         {¶6} In CR-15-598262-A, to eight years in prison for involuntary manslaughter, plus three years on the firearm specification to run prior to and consecutive with the eight-year sentence, for a total of 11 years.

         {¶7} In CR-15-598310-A, to eight years in prison for attempted aggravated robbery, plus one year on the firearm specification to run prior to and consecutive with the eight-year sentence, for a total of nine years.

         {¶8} In CR-15-599943-A, to 18 months in prison on each of the three counts, to run concurrent to each other.

         {¶9} The trial court ordered the sentences in CR-15-598262-A and CR-15-598310-A to run consecutive to each other for an aggregate sentence of 20 years. The cases were also run consecutive with CR-15-599943-A, for a total of 21 and one-half years. The court imposed postrelease control and also found appellant responsible for court costs.

         {¶10} Appellant timely filed this appeal.

         Law and Analysis

         R.C. 2953.08(D)(1) Reviewability - CR-15-598262-A and CR-15-598310-A

         {¶11} Before reaching the assignments of error, we must first determine the reviewability of the sentence imposed in two of the underlying cases, CR-15-598262-A and CR-15-598310-A. In these two cases, there was an agreement to an aggregate sentence of 6 to 20 years, which is below the statutory maximum of 26 years. The trial court imposed an aggregate sentence of 20 years.

         {¶12} R.C. 2953.08(D)(1) limits our ability to review an agreed sentence. R.C. 2953.08(D)(1) states:

A sentence imposed upon a defendant is not subject to review under this section if the sentence is authorized by law, has been recommended jointly by the defendant and the prosecution in the case, and is imposed by a sentencing judge.

         {¶13} The initial question we must answer is whether an agreement to a sentencing range, as opposed to a specific term of incarceration, is a jointly recommended sentence for purposes of R.C. 2953.08(D)(1).

         Jointly Recommended Sentencing Range

         {¶14} Examining some basic realities from our current criminal justice system helps resolve the above question.

         {¶15} As the number of trials has reduced over the past decade, criminal practitioners on both sides have increasingly turned their focus to sentencing proceedings. The uncertainty over what sentence a particular offender might receive has created a negotiation process involving sentencing that now ...


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