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State v. Watkins

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

May 8, 2018

State of Ohio, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Clarence J. Watkins, Defendant-Appellee.

          APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, .P.C. No. 05CR-5611

         On brief:

          Ron O'Brien, Prosecuting Attorney, and Valerie Swanson, for appellant.

          Colin E. McNamee, for appellee.

          Argued:

          Colin E. McNamee.

          Valerie Swanson.

          DECISION

          TYACK, J.

         {¶ 1} The State of Ohio is pursuing an appeal from the trial court's granting of judicial release for Clarence J. Watkins. It assigns a single error for our consideration:

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GRANTING JUDICIAL RELEASE IN THE ABSENCE OF RECORD SUPPORT FOR THE NECESSARY FINDING RELATED TO SERIOUSNESS.

         {¶ 2} In April 2006, Watkins pled guilty to two charges of aggravated robbery with accompanying firearm specifications. He was sentenced to 20 years of incarceration. Six of the years were for the firearm specifications. The remaining 14 years were for the aggravated robbery charges.

         {¶ 3} Over 11 years later, Watkins filed for judicial release.

         {¶ 4} Some of the underlying facts of the crimes are not in serious dispute. Watkins was one of four men who entered a home seeking money. Watkins smashed the primary victim in the head with a pool cue, requiring 18 stitches and hospitalization. Later, the primary victim was shot in the leg. At the time of his guilty pleas, Watkins did not deny being the shooter.

         {¶ 5} At the hearing on the motion for judicial release, the State of Ohio argued that the trial court had no basis for two essential findings if Watkins were to meet the standards for receiving judicial release. The State argued that the public could not be protected from future criminal offenses and that reducing the ...


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