Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common
Pleas Case No. CR-17-615460-A
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Patrick S. Lavelle.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor, Eleina Thomas Racheal Fuller Assistant
County Prosecutors Justice.
BEFORE: Stewart, J., McCormack, P.J., and Boyle, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
J. STEWART, JUDGE.
Defendant-appellant Dominique Scott appeals his sentence
after he pleaded guilty to multiple crimes he committed while
on community control sanctions. In his assignment of error,
Scott challenges the court's imposition of consecutive
sentences. We find no error and affirm.
One afternoon, near a busy street and with people around,
police attempted to stop a vehicle after observing suspected
drug activity. Scott, who was behind the wheel of the subject
vehicle, attempted to flee by reversing at a high rate of
speed. He lost control and crashed into a nearby building.
With the passenger side of the car pinned against the side of
the building, Scott attempted to run. A foot chase ensued,
after which the police apprehended Scott. There was a
passenger in the car who was not injured in the crash, and he
was able to exit the car from the driver side. Police
searched the car and found quantities of heroin and cocaine,
a scale, and a loaded firearm.
Scott pleaded guilty to four crimes: two counts of
trafficking in drugs, one count of having weapons while under
disability, and one count of failure to comply with order or
signal of police officer. Each trafficking count was in
violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(2) and contained a firearm
specification; however, one count was a second-degree felony
and the other was a fourth-degree felony. Having weapons
while under disability, in violation of R.C. 2923.13(A)(3),
was a third-degree felony. Failure to comply, in violation of
R.C. 2921.331(B), was also a third-degree felony.
The trial court sentenced Scott to a total term of seven
years in prison. It sentenced him to 3 years for one
trafficking count and 18 months for the other. It sentenced
him to three years for having weapons while under disability
and three years for failure to comply. The court ran the
terms for trafficking and having weapons while under
disability concurrent to each other for a total of three
years. The court ran Scott's one-year firearm terms
concurrent to each other, but consecutive to their predicate
offenses. Finally, the court ran his failure to comply
sentence consecutive to the other terms.
On appeal, Scott argues that the trial court abused its
discretion by imposing consecutive sentences without making
findings pursuant to R.C. 2929.14(C)(4). Before addressing
the substance of Scott's argument, we note that according
to R.C. 2953.08(G)(2), this court does not review felony
sentences for abuse of discretion. Instead, as relevant here,
that statute permits us to disturb a felony sentence only if
we "clearly and convincingly find that either (1)
"the record does not support the sentencing court's
findings" under specified divisions of R.C. 2929.13,
2929.14, or 2929.20, or (2) "the sentence is otherwise
contrary to law." R.C. 2953.08(G)(2). Nevertheless, we
now address Scott's claim that the trial court erred by
imposing consecutive sentences without making findings
pursuant to R.C. 2929.14(C)(4).
As a general rule in Ohio, there is a presumption in favor of
concurrent sentences unless the trial court makes the
specified findings required by R.C. 2929.14(C)(4). State
v. Bonnell, 140 Ohio St.3d 209, 2014-Ohio-3177, 16
N.E.3d 659, ¶ 22-23. There are, however, relevant
exceptions to this general rule that are dispositive of
Scott's claim. In this case, and irrespective of R.C.
2929.14(C)(4), the trial court was statutorily required to
impose consecutive sentences for Scott's firearm
specification and failure to comply violation. His assertion
that a court may only impose consecutive sentences pursuant
to R.C. 2929.14(C)(4) is incorrect.
By law, and without consideration of R.C. 2929.14(C)(4), a
court must impose the prison sentence for a firearm
specification "'consecutively to and prior to any
prison term imposed for the underlying felony * * * and
consecutively to any other prison term or mandatory prison
term previously or subsequently imposed upon the
offender.'" State v. Lewis,2017-Ohio-4300,
92 N.E.3d 325, ¶ 37 (8th Dist), quoting R.C.
2929.14(C)(1)(a). Because that statute required Scott's
sentences for his firearm specifications be served
consecutive to the underlying offenses, the court was not
required to make R.C. 2929.14(C)(4) findings before imposing
a consecutive sentence. See State v. Goins, 8th
Dist. Cuyahoga No. ...