from Putnam County Common Pleas Court Trial Court No. 2016 CR
Michael J. Short for Appellant.
Katherine G. Porter for Appellee.
Defendant-appellant, Rene Valdez ("Valdez"),
appeals the October 25, 2017 judgment of the Putnam County
Common Pleas Court sentencing him to twelve (12) years in
prison after he was found guilty of Possession of Drugs (3
Counts), Trafficking in Drugs, Illegal Assembly or Possession
of Chemicals for the Manufacture of Drugs, and Having Weapons
While Under Disability.
and Procedural History
On November 2, 2016, Valdez was indicted on seven criminal
charges in Putnam County: Count One, Possession of Drugs
(Cocaine), in violation of R.C. 2925.11(A) & (C)(4)(e), a
felony of the first degree; Count Two, Possession of Drugs
(Methamphetamine), in violation of R.C. 2925.11(A) &
(C)(1)(b), a felony of the third degree; Count Three,
Possession of Drugs (Oxycodone), in violation of R.C.
2925.11(A) & (C)(1)(b), a felony of the third degree;
Count Four, Trafficking in Drugs, in violation of R.C.
2925.03(A)(2) & (C)(4)(f), a felony of the third degree;
Count Five, Illegal Assembly or Possession of Chemicals for
the Manufacture of Drugs, in violation of R.C. 2925.041, a
felony of the third degree; Count Six, Tampering with
Evidence, in violation of R.C. 291.12(A)(2), a felony of the
third degree; and Count Seven, Having Weapons While Under a
Disability, in violation of R.C. 2923.13(A)(3), a felony of
the third degree. A forfeiture specification, in violation of
R.C. 2941.1417, was also contained in Count Four. The charges
stem from an October 15, 2016 traffic stop in Putnam County,
Ohio. Valdez was a passenger in the vehicle involved in the
Valdez pled not guilty to all charges and a jury trial was
scheduled. On September 25, 2017 the case proceeded to a jury
trial. At trial, in its case in chief, the State called
Deputy Jared West ("Dep. West"), Det. Marvin
Schweibert ("Det. Schweibert"), Todd Pingle,
("Pingle"), Deputy Troy Stevenson ("Dep.
Stevenson"), Roy Sargent ("Sargent"), Aaron
Giesige ("Giesige"), all with the Putnam County
Sheriffs Office. The State's witnesses also included:
Samuel Fortener "(Fortener"), with the Ohio
Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation;
Agent Ben Williams ("Williams"), with the
Multi-Area Narcotics task force; Investigator Steven Mueller
("Mueller"), with the Defiance County Sheriff s
Office; and Colleen Wiseman, with the Multi-Area Narcotics
After the State presented its case, Valdez made a Rule 29
motion for acquittal on all counts. The trial court granted
the motion only as to Count 6. Thereafter, Valdez presented
his defense through the testimonies of Christina Valdez
("Christina"), Dakota Valdez ("Dakota"),
Tasha Ellis ("Ellis") and Chelsea Campbell
("Campbell"). However, Valdez did not testify.
The jury found Valdez guilty on all of the remaining charges,
including the forfeiture specification and the case was
scheduled for sentencing. Ultimately, the trial court
sentenced Valdez to an aggregate prison term of twelve years,
journalized by its journal entry of October 25, 2017. It is
from this judgment entry that Valdez appeals asserting the
following assignments of error for our review.
of Error No. I
CONVICTIONS ARE AGAINST THE MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE
of Error No. II
PROSECUTOR'S COMMENTS DURING CLOSING ARGUMENT ...