Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common
Pleas Case No. CR-16-607989-A
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Stephen L. Miles, Also Listed Kareem
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor BY: Blaise D. Thomas Kerry A. Sowul
Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys.
BEFORE: Celebrezze, J., S. Gallagher, P.J., and Keough, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
D. CELEBREZZE, JR., J.
Defendant-appellant, Kareem Walton ("appellant"),
brings the instant appeal challenging his guilty plea and the
sentence imposed by the trial court. Appellant's
attorney, pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S.
738, 87 S.Ct.1396, 18 L.Ed.2d 493 (1967), filed a motion to
withdraw as counsel and dismiss the appeal. After a thorough
examination of the record, we affirm the trial court's
judgment and grant appointed counsel's motion to
Factual and Procedural History
The instant matter arose from a July 9, 2016 incident during
which appellant crashed his vehicle into a tree in the
Glenville neighborhood on Cleveland's east side. Five
victims were injured during the crash, and three of the five
victims died from the injuries they sustained.
On July 26, 2016, in Cuyahoga C.P. No. CR-16-607989-A,
appellant was indicted with three counts of aggravated
vehicular homicide, second-degree felonies in violation of
R.C. 2903.06(A)(1)(a); three counts of aggravated vehicular
homicide, third-degree felonies in violation of R.C.
2903.06(A)(2)(a); two counts of aggravated vehicular assault,
third-degree felonies in violation of R.C. 2903.08(A)(1)(a);
two counts of aggravated vehicular assault, fourth-degree
felonies in violation of R.C. 2903.08(A)(2)(b); and driving
under the influence of alcohol or drugs, a first-degree
misdemeanor in violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(a).
The parties reached a plea agreement. On June 13, 2017,
appellant pled guilty to the indictment. Pursuant to the plea
agreement, Counts 1, 2, and 3 would merge with Counts 4, 5,
and 6 for sentencing purposes; Counts 7 and 8 would merge
with Counts 9 and 10. Furthermore, the state agreed to
advocate for a sentence that did not exceed 25 years in
On June 16, 2017, the trial court sentenced appellant to an
aggregate 25-year prison term. The state elected to sentence
appellant on Counts 1, 2, 3, 7, and 8. The trial court
sentenced appellant to six years on Counts 1, 2, and 3; three
years on Count 7; four years on Count 8; and time served on
Count 11. The trial court ordered Counts 1, 2, 3, 7, and 8 to
run consecutively. The trial court ordered appellant's
25-year prison sentence to run concurrently with his
three-year prison sentence in Cuyahoga C.P. No.
On August 9, 2017, appellant, acting pro se, filed an appeal
challenging the trial court's judgment and a motion for
appointment of appellate counsel. On August 24, 2017, this
court granted appellant's motion and appointed counsel to
On December 3, 2017, appointed counsel filed an
Anders brief and a motion for leave to withdraw as
counsel. Therein, appointed counsel identified two potential
issues to raise on appeal: (1) whether appellant knowingly,
intelligently, and voluntarily pled guilty; and (2) did the
trial court abuse its discretion in imposing consecutive
sentences. Counsel ultimately determined that
proceeding with an appeal relating to appellant's guilty
plea or the trial court's sentence would be frivolous.
On December 4, 2017, this court held counsel's motion to
withdraw in abeyance pending an independent review of the
record. This court ordered appellant to file a pro se brief
before January 18, 2018.
Appellant filed a pro se appellate brief on February 20,
2018. Therein, he raised two assignments of error:
I. The [s]tate breached the plea agreement it had entered
into with [appellant] when, during sentencing, the [s]tate
asked that the maximum consecutive sentence be imposed, in
violation of [appellant's] Due Process protections under
the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Article
I, Section 10 of the Ohio Constitution.
II. The trial court erred, and violated Hand, in
using [appellant's] juvenile record in support of
imposing greater than minimum sentences and in support of
imposing consecutive sentences, in violation of his Due
Process protections under the Fourteenth Amendment to the