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State v. Miller

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Lake

June 10, 2019

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
OTIS S. MILLER, Defendant-Appellant.

          Criminal Appeal from the Lake County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2017 CR 001304.

          Charles E. Coulson, Lake County Prosecutor, and Jennifer A. McGee, Assistant Prosecutor (For Plaintiff-Appellee).

          Vanessa R. Clapp, Lake County Public Defender, and Melissa Ann Blake, (For Defendant-Appellant).

          OPINION

          CYNTHIA WESTCOTT RICE, J.

         {¶1} Appellant, Otis. S. Miller, appeals from his judgment of the Lake County Court of Common Pleas, sentencing him to an aggregate term of 12 years imprisonment. We affirm.

         {¶2} The instant matter arose from a lengthy investigation by the Lake County Narcotics Agency ("LCNA") which culminated in one of the largest drug arrests in the county's recent history. On November 14, 2017, LCNA conducted a controlled drug buy from appellant. During the buy, appellant sold a confidential informant an ounce of methamphetamine in exchange for $900. Agents subsequently secured a search warrant for appellant's residence. The search resulted in the seizure of cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, alprazolam, methadone, as well as firearms and ammunition.

         {¶3} Appellant was indicted on a total of 14 charges, 12 of which were felonies. All counts included forfeiture specifications and seven included major drug offender specifications. Appellant originally pleaded not guilty, but withdrew the plea and entered pleas of guilty to one count of trafficking in cocaine, a felony of the first degree and one count of aggravated trafficking in drugs, a felony of the second degree. After holding a hearing, appellant was sentenced to 10 years on the trafficking in cocaine charge and two years on the aggravated trafficking in drugs charge. The trial court ordered the sentences to be served consecutively for an aggregate prison term of 12 years. He now appeals and assigns the following as error:

         {¶4} "The trial court erred by sentencing the defendant-appellant to mandatory and consecutive prison sentences totaling 12 years."

         {¶5} An appellate court generally reviews felony sentences under the standard of review set forth in R.C. 2953.08(G)(2), which states:

         {¶6} The court hearing an appeal under division (A), (B), or (C) of this section shall review the record, including the findings underlying the sentence or modification given by the sentencing court.

         {¶7} The appellate court may increase, reduce, or otherwise modify a sentence that is appealed under this section or may vacate the sentence and remand the matter to the sentencing court for resentencing. The appellate court's standard for review is not whether the sentencing court abused its discretion. The appellate court may take any action authorized by this division if it clearly and convincingly finds either of the following:

         {¶8} (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 the Revised Code, whichever, if any, is relevant;

         {¶9} (b) That the sentence is otherwise contrary to law.

         {¶10} Appellate courts "'may vacate or modify any sentence that is not clearly and convincingly contrary to law'" only when the appellate court clearly and convincingly finds that the record does not support the sentence. State v. Wilson, 11th Dist. Lake No. 2017-L-028, 2017-Ohio-7127, ...


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