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State v. Reed

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

August 2, 2018

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
RONALD J. REED DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

          Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-16-605771-A

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Steve W. Canfil

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor By: Andrew T. Gatti Anne Mikhaiel Assistant County Prosecutors

          BEFORE: Kilbane, P.J., Boyle, J., and Keough, J.

          MARY EILEEN KILBANE, PRESIDING JUDGE

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant, Ronald J. Reed ("Reed"), appeals from his convictions for attempted felonious assault, abduction, and domestic violence. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

         {¶2} In May 2016, Reed was charged with one count each of felonious assault, abduction, and domestic violence. These charges arose out of a physical altercation with his girlfriend.

         {¶3} In August 2016, Reed pled guilty, pursuant to a plea agreement with the state, to attempted felonious assault, abduction, and domestic violence. At the outset of the plea hearing, the assistant county prosecutor outlined the state's plea offer. Reed's defense counsel then explained that he "had numerous, numerous conversations with [Reed] regarding the plea," and it was his opinion that "[Reed will] make a knowing, intelligent and voluntary change of plea."

         {¶4} The trial court then asked Reed if he had heard and understood the plea offer. In response, Reed was reluctant:

[REED]: I think. I think so.
THE COURT: Was there anything that you have a question about?
[REED]: The situation that happened at my residence, just that I don't know what my rights was [sic]. You know, when I asked her to leave, she wouldn't leave. I don't know.
[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Judge, if I might clarify, many times Mr. Reed and I have talked about his potential defenses of self-defense, and being at his own property at the time this event occurred and we've talked about that a lot. And he understands in my opinion, that by entering this plea, we're not going to be talking about self-defense anymore.
[REED]: No, I don't, sir.
[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Or defense of property or anything along that line.
[REED]: Okay.

         {¶5} Next, the trial court asked Reed how far he went in school, to which Reed replied, "[n]ot far because I have learning disabilities." In response to further questioning, Reed replied that he went as far in school as sixth or seventh grade, could read and write, and that he was satisfied with defense counsel's representation. The trial court then advised Reed of the constitutional rights he would waive by entering a guilty plea, and Reed acknowledged that he understood he was giving up these rights. The trial court further advised Reed of the possible penalties for the charges outlined in the plea agreement as well as postrelease control. Reed replied that he understood each of these concepts.

         {¶6} After the trial court read the charges in the amended indictment, Reed again interjected, asking to comment. The trial court instructed Reed to speak with counsel, allowing a short recess off the record. After the recess, defense counsel explained Reed's concern about the abduction count, and his own belief that this offense would likely merge with the attempted felonious assault conviction for purposes of sentencing. The state agreed these offenses would merge at sentencing.

         {¶7} The trial court then continued on with the plea colloquy, and accepted Reed's guilty plea to the amended indictment. The trial court referred Reed to the probation department for a presentence investigation report ("PSI"), and set the matter for sentencing. At sentencing, the trial court determined that Count 1 (attempted felonious assault) and Count 2 (abduction) constituted allied offenses of similar import that merged for purposes of sentencing. The state elected to proceed on Count 1. The trial court sentenced Reed to two years of community control sanctions for Counts 1 and 3.

         {¶8} In June 2017, Reed moved this court, pro se, for leave to file a delayed appeal and for appointment of appellate counsel. We granted Reed leave to file a delayed appeal and appointed him counsel.

         {¶9} In September 2016, Reed's original appellate counsel filed a brief and moved to withdraw pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 87 S.Ct. 1396, 18 L.Ed.2d 493 (1967) ("[I]f counsel finds his case to be wholly frivolous, after a conscientious examination of it, he should so advise the court and request permission to withdraw." Id. at 744). Our independent review of the record found that "a nonfrivolous issue exists regarding the knowing nature of Reed's guilty plea." Accordingly, we granted original appellate counsel's motion to withdraw, but we declined to dismiss Reed's appeal, appointed him new counsel, and ordered this case returned to the active docket for briefing.

         {¶10} Reed now raises the following two assignments of error for our review:

Assignment of Error One
The trial court violated [Reed's] federal and state constitutional rights to due process of law and Crim.R. 11 when it accepted [Reed's] guilty plea[].
Assignment of Error Two
[Reed] was deprived of his federal and state constitutional rights to effective assistance of counsel.
Guilty Plea

         {¶11} In the first assignment of error, Reed challenges the validity of his guilty plea, arguing that the record demonstrates that he did not ...


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