Court of Appeals of Ohio, Sixth District, Sandusky
Court No. 18CR792
Timothy Braun, Sandusky County Prosecuting Attorney, and
Joseph H. Gerber, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for
A. Klimkowsky, for appellant.
DECISION AND JUDGMENT
1} Appellant Nathan T. Cooks appeals the November 6,
2018 judgment of the Sandusky County Court of Common Pleas
sentencing him to 18 months in prison following his
conviction for trafficking in cocaine, in violation of R.C.
2925.03(A)(2) and (C)(4)(b). Because Cooks's sentence is
not contrary to law, we affirm.
and Procedural History
2} The Sandusky County Drug Task Force, acting on a
tip, conducted a search of Cooks's Fremont, Ohio home on
March 8, 2018, pursuant to a search warrant. Cooks was found
in a bathroom, attempting to flush drugs down a toilet. A law
enforcement officer was able to retrieve the drugs before
they were flushed, and they were later identified as .95
grams of cocaine. A bag of marijuana was found next to the
toilet, and a second bag was located in a kitchen drawer. The
police confiscated the drugs, as well as video recording
equipment, six cell phones, $187 in cash, and two guns that
were alleged to have been used in the commission of the
offense(s). According to the record, Cooks's two young
children were seen "wandering" in the home at the
time of the search.
3} No charges were brought against Cooks until July
30, 2018, when he was indicted for tampering with evidence,
in violation of R.C. 2921.12(A)(1), a felony of the third
degree (Count 1); possession of cocaine, in violation of R.C.
2925.11(A) and (C)(4)(a), a felony of the fifth degree (Count
2); and trafficking in cocaine, in violation of R.C.
2925.03(A)(2) and (C)(4)(b), a felony of the fourth degree
(Count 3). The indictment included specifications for
committing the crimes within the vicinity of children and a
nearby school. At his August 1, 2017 arraignment, Cooks pled
not guilty, was appointed counsel, and was released on his
4} At the change-of-plea hearing on September 5,
2018, the parties agreed that Cooks would plead guilty to the
drug trafficking offense (Count 3), and the state would nolle
prosequi Counts 1 and 2. Before accepting the plea, the court
advised Cooks of his rights, as set forth in Crim.R. 11. Of
particular relevance to this case, the court advised Cooks
that he faced up to 18 months in prison, a $5, 000 fine,
forfeiture of the property confiscated from his home, a
five-year driver's license suspension, and postrelease
control. The trial court accepted Cooks's plea, found him
guilty, and referred the matter for a presentence
5} By decision dated November 6, 2018, following a
hearing, the trial court sentenced Cooks to 18 months in
prison, the costs of prosecution and confinement, three years
of discretionary postrelease control, forfeiture of the items
previously described, and a 24-month driver's license
suspension. Cooks was assigned appellate counsel and raises a
single assignment of error for our review.
OF ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR 1: The Trial
Court's sentence of Nathan T. Cooks
("Appellant") is excessive and violates the law
insofar as the Trial Court penalized Appellant in part due to
6} We review sentencing challenges under R.C.
2953.08(G)(2). The statute allows an appellate court to
increase, reduce, or otherwise modify a sentence or vacate
the sentence and remand the matter for resentencing only if
it clearly and convincingly finds either of the following:
(a) That the record does not support the sentencing
court's findings under division (B) or (D) of section
2929.13, division (B)(2)(e) or (C)(4) of section 2929.14, or
division (I) of section 2929.20 of ...