Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common
Pleas Case No. CR-17-621278-A
Michael C. O'Malley, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting
Attorney, and Jeffrey Schnatter and Fallon Radigan, Assistant
Prosecuting Attorneys, for appellee.
Fischbein-Cohen, for appellant
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
C. GALLAGHER, J.
1} Defendant-appellant Carlton Hill appeals from his
convictions and sentence entered in the Cuyahoga County Court
of Common Pleas. Upon review, we affirm.
2} Appellant was charged in a 14-count indictment
with offenses involving two different victims. At his
arraignment, appellant was declared indigent and appointed
counsel. He entered a not guilty plea to all counts.
3} Pursuant to a plea agreement, appellant withdrew
his former plea and entered a plea of guilty to Count 1, as
amended, sexual battery, a felony of the third degree, having
occurred on or about April 1, 2001, to June 30, 2001, and
involving victim one; and a plea of guilty to Counts 11 and
12, each charging gross sexual imposition, a felony of the
fourth degree, having occurred on or about May 12, 2017, and
involving victim two. Because of the dates of these offenses,
appellant was subject to sex-offender classification under
both Megan's Law and the Adam Walsh Act. All remaining
counts were nolled.
4} At the change-of-plea hearing, the trial court
conducted a thorough colloquy with appellant that complied
with Crim.R. 11. The trial court informed appellant of the
nature of the charges to which he was pleading, the maximum
penalties for the charges, and the rights he would be waiving
by entering a guilty plea. The court explained to appellant
that at the time of sentencing, a hearing would be held to
determine his sexual-offender status with regard to Count 1,
which would require a determination of whether he is a
sexually violent predator, a habitual offender, or a sexually
oriented offender. The court also informed appellant that a
different law applied to the offenses for gross sexual
imposition because of the dates involved and that he would be
found a Tier I offender by operation of law with regard to
those offenses. The court informed appellant of his duties
and the registration requirements associated with the
respective laws. Appellant expressed his satisfaction with
the representation by his trial counsel. He continuously
expressed his understanding during the hearing.
5} Subsequent to entering his plea, appellant
retained his own counsel and filed a motion to vacate his
plea. The trial court conducted a hearing on the motion.
Appellant testified that he works as a security guard and has
a license. He stated he was concerned about his employment.
He acknowledged that there were a number of pretrials that he
attended during the pendency of the case. He claimed he was
rushed into the plea agreement and that he did not know about
the registration requirements until the change-of-plea
hearing. He acknowledged that the court went through all of
the registration requirements. He stated he was nervous and
was not in his right mind when he entered his guilty pleas,
and he maintained his innocence. Appellant's wife
testified appellant was frantic when he called her on the day
of his change-of-plea hearing. Because of attorney-client
privilege, appellant's previous counsel provided limited
testimony at the hearing. In addition to the testimony
provided, the trial court considered appellant's motion
and his affidavit, the response by the prosecutor, and the
plea transcript. The trial court denied the motion.
6} At sentencing, the parties stipulated to a
finding that appellant is a "sexually-oriented
offender" as related to Count 1. Appellant was
classified by operation of law as a Tier I sex offender on
Counts 11 and 12. The trial court imposed a prison term of 18
months on each count, with all counts run concurrent to each
other. The trial court imposed mandatory postrelease control
of five years. Appellant was declared indigent, and court
costs were waived.
7} Appellant timely filed this appeal. He raises
three assignments of error for review.
8} Under his first assignment of error, appellant
claims the trial court erred by imposing the maximum prison
term of 18 months on Counts 11 and 12. He argues that the
trial court failed to consider the relevant factors under
R.C. 2929.12 and that the sentence is not supported by the
record. Appellant points to mitigating factors in the record,
which he argues were ignored by the trial court and support a
9} When sentencing a defendant, a trial court must
consider the purposes and principles of felony sentencing set
forth in R.C. 2929.11 and the sentencing factors listed in
R.C. 2929.12. State v. Rouse, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No.
107379, 2019-Ohio-708, ¶ 9. Pursuant to RC. 2929.12, a
court sentencing a felony offender "has discretion to
determine the most effective way to comply with the purposes
and principles of sentencing." R.C. 2929.12(A). In
exercising that discretion, the sentencing court must
consider the seriousness, recidivism, and mitigating factors
set forth in R.C. 2929.12. Id. However, the court is
not required to make specific findings on the record
regarding its consideration of those factors. State v.
Townsend, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 107458, 2019-Ohio-1442,
¶ 13; see also State v. Wilson, 129 Ohio St.3d
214, 2011-Ohio-2669, 951 N.E.2d 381, ¶ 31. Furthermore,
a trial court is not required "'to make findings or
give their reasons for imposing maximum, consecutive, or more
than the minimum sentence.'" State v.
Sergent, 148 Ohio St.3d 94, 2016-Ohio-2696, 69 N.E.3d
627, ¶ 34, quoting State v. Foster, 109 Ohio
St.3d 1, 2006-Ohio-856, 845 N.E.2d 470, paragraph seven of
10} Appellate courts generally afford deference to a
trial court's broad discretion in making sentencing
decisions. State v. Rahab,150 Ohio St.3d 152,
2017-Ohio-1401, 80 N.E.3d 431, ¶ 10. Under R.C.
2953.08(G)(2), "an appellate court may vacate or modify
a felony sentence on appeal only if it determines by clear
and convincing evidence that the record does not support the