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State v. Rayburn

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fourth District, Jackson

May 14, 2018

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
STEPHEN I. RAYBURN, Defendant-Appellant.

          CRIMINAL APPEAL FROM COMMON PLEAS COURT

          Timothy Young, Ohio Public Defender, and Terrence K. Scott, Assistant Public Defender, Columbus, Ohio, for appellant.

          Joel King, Special Prosecutor and Assistant Attorney General, Cincinnati, Ohio, for appellee.

          DECISION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY

          PETER B. ABELE, JUDGE

         {¶ 1} This is an appeal from a Jackson County Common Pleas Court post-release control sanction. Stephen I. Rayburn, defendant below and appellant herein, assigns the following error for review:

"THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY FAILING TO VACATE STEPHEN I. RAYBURN'S POST-RELEASE CONTROL. State v. Billiter, 134 Ohio St.3d 103, 2012-Ohio-5144, 980 N.E.2d 960.

         {¶ 2} On March 28, 2008, after appellant's convictions for two counts of sexual battery, the trial court (1) sentenced appellant to serve eight years in prison, and (2) informed appellant that, after the completion of his prison sentence, he would be subject to three years of post-release control. On November 18, 2010, we considered appellant's pro se delayed appeal and acknowledged that (1) the trial court incorrectly imposed a three year post-release control term, rather than a five year term (R.C. 2967.28(B)(1); and (2) the trial court could use the R.C. 2929.191 procedure to correct the post-release control term. See State v. Rayburn, 4th Dist. Jackson No. 09CA6, 2010-Ohio-5693.

         {¶ 3} On January 30, 2015, appellant was released from prison, but without being resentenced. Appellant subsequently filed a motion for resentencing based upon a void judgment. The trial court denied appellant's motion and this appeal followed.

         {¶ 4} In his sole assignment of error, appellant asserts that the trial court should have vacated his post-release control sanction. Appellant argues that, although the court correctly orally advised appellant of the five year post-release control sanction, the court's sentencing order incorrectly included a three year post-release control sanction. Furthermore, the court did not order the R.C. 2967.28(B)(1) statutorily mandated five year post-release control sanction prior to appellant's release from custody. Consequently, appellant claims that the post-release control portion of his sentence is void. See State v. Grimes, 151 Ohio St.3d 19, 2017-Ohio-2927; see also State v. Billiter, 134 Ohio St.3d 103, 2012-Ohio-5144, 980 N.E.2d 960; State v. Holdcroft, 137 Ohio St.3d 526, 2013-Ohio-514, 1 N.E.3d 382.

         {¶ 5} In its brief, the appellee concedes that the trial court erred when it failed to vacate appellant's post-release control sanction. Appellee states that (1) appellant's sentencing entry did not include the correct post-release control sanction, and (2) the court did not correct its order prior to appellant's release from prison. Thus, citing State v. Qualls, 131 Ohio St.3d 499, 2012-Ohio-111, appellee agrees that the post-release control portion of appellant's sentence is void and no longer correctable.

         {¶ 6} We reluctantly agree with both parties that the post-release control portion of appellant's sentence is void and no longer correctable. Although we may disagree with the Ohio Supreme Court's concept of void sentences, we, as an intermediate appellate court, are obligated to follow supreme court decisions. We also wish to emphasize that this case serves as yet another example of Ohio's overly complex and convoluted felony sentencing scheme. Ohio's tangled web of sentencing statutes continues to undermine the public's understanding and confidence in our system. Issuing a sentence for a felony violation should not be an intricate, inscrutable exercise that fails to promote the basic concepts of finality of judgments and judicial economy.

         {¶ 7} Additionally, we wish to point out that we appreciate appellee's candid and forthright concession in this matter. The ends of justice are best served when a party appropriately acknowledges the validity of an opponent's claim.

         {¶ 8} Accordingly, based upon the foregoing reasons, we hereby ...


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