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State v. Price

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fourth District, Athens

July 17, 2018

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
TERRENCE M. PRICE (aka TERRANCE M. PRICE), Defendant-Appellant.

          Timothy Young, Ohio Public Defender, and Carly M. Edelstein, Ohio Assistant Public Defender, Columbus, Ohio, for appellant.

          Keller J. Blackburn, Athens County Prosecuting Attorney, and Merry M. Saunders, Athens County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Athens, Ohio, for appellee.

          DECISION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY

          Marie Hoover, Presiding Judge.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant, Terrence M. Price, aka Terrance M. Price ("Price"), appeals from the judgments of the Athens County Court of Common Pleas revoking his community control and imposing the underlying prison sentence in one case; and convicting him of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs of abuse, or a combination of them and aggravated vehicular assault and sentencing him in another case.

         {¶2} In this consolidated appeal, Price asserts that the trial court erred in revoking his community control and imposing the underlying sentence for two of his three offenses because his original sentence on those offenses was void. As the State concedes, when the trial court originally sentenced Price to community control, it erred because it imposed one lump-sum community control sentence for two of the three offenses instead of imposing a specific community control sentence for each count.

         {¶3} For his remedy, Price is entitled to vacation of that part of the revocation entry involving these offenses because the trial court's disregard of statutory requirements when initially imposing a lump-sum community control term for separate offenses rendered that part of his sentence void. He could challenge his void sentence at any time; and neither res judicata nor the plain-error doctrine barred it. Therefore, we sustain his assignment of error and reverse the judgment in Case No. 17CA30 insofar as it revokes his community control for those offenses and imposes concurrent 36-month prison terms; and we remand the cause to the trial court to vacate that part of his sentence and to resentence him in the underlying case for these offenses. For the remainder of the judgment in Case No. 17CA30 and the judgment in Case No. 17CA31, which Price does not challenge in his appeals, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

         I. Facts and Procedural Posture

         A. Case No. 17CA30

         {¶4} In April 2014, the Athens County Grand Jury returned an indictment charging Price with one count of domestic violence in violation of R.C. 2919.25(A), a felony of the fourth degree, one count of intimidation in violation of R.C. 2921.03(A), a felony of the third degree, and one count of intimidation of an attorney, victim, or witness in a criminal case in violation of R.C. 2921.04(B)(1), a felony of the third degree. The case stemmed from Price's dragging of his girlfriend by her hair down a series of stairs and his threatening of her and a responding police officer.

         {¶5} Price ultimately pleaded guilty to the charges; and the trial court accepted his plea and found him guilty. The trial court sentenced him to 18 months in prison for his domestic violence conviction and entered the following five-year lump-sum community control sanction for his intimidation convictions:

For Counts Two and Three, the Court sentences Defendant to five (5) years of community control, subject to the general supervision and control of the Adult Parole Authority, under any terms and conditions that they deem appropriate, and shall abide and faithfully follow all the minimum general conditions of probation as journalized on August 15, 2013, by the Athens County Probation Department. Defendant's community control on Counts Two and three shall begin upon his release from the State Penal System on Count One.

         The trial court additionally specified that one of the conditions of community control was that he shall remain a law-abiding citizen during the five-year term. The court finally noted that any violation of his community control conditions could lead to a prison commitment of 36 months for each of the intimidation counts to run consecutively to each other for a total underlying sentence of 72 months.

         {¶6} In November 2014, the trial court granted Price's motion for judicial release from his prison term on his domestic violence conviction and placed him on a five-year term of community control for that conviction. One of his conditions was that he be a law-abiding citizen; the trial court reserved the right to reimpose his sentence for the conviction if he committed a new criminal offense.

         {¶7} Over two years later, in March 2017, the State notified the trial court that Price had violated the terms of his community control by committing the following offenses, which are the subject of his appeal in Case No. 17CA31: operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a listed controlled substance or a listed metabolite of a controlled substance, in violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(j)(ii), a misdemeanor of the first degree, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or combination of them, in violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(a), a misdemeanor of the first degree, and aggravated vehicular assault in violation of R.C. 2903.08(A)(1)(a), a felony of the third degree. These new offenses were caused by Price when he drove a car too fast around a curve, hit a guardrail, and slammed into a car traveling in the opposite direction, causing minor injuries to the driver of the other car and her two young daughters; Price tested positive for alcohol, cocaine, and opiates.

         {¶8} Price admitted to committing the three violations of his community control arising from his new offenses; and the trial court held a first-stage revocation hearing at which it found him guilty of violating his community control. In the second-stage revocation hearing, the trial court terminated Price's judicial release on his domestic violence conviction and sentenced him to serve the remainder of his previously suspended 18-month prison sentence on that conviction. For his intimidation convictions for which the trial court had previously placed him on one lump-sum, five-year term of community control, the court sentenced him to concurrent 36-month prison sentences for ...


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