Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common
Pleas Case No. CR-18-625450-A
Michael C. O'Malley, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting
Attorney, and Glen Ramdhan, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney,
Stanton, Cuyahoga County Public Defender, and David Martin
King, Assistant Public Defender, for appellant.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
A. JONES, SR., J.
1} Defendant-appellant William Reed
("Reed") appeals his drug trafficking convictions
that were entered after a plea. For the reasons that follow,
2} In January 2018, Reed was arrested by the
Cleveland police. The police knew him to be a drug dealer and
human trafficker and, prior to his arrest, had been
conducting surveillance of him.
3} On the day of the arrest, the police saw
Reed's minivan in the driveway of a house that drug
addicts and prostitutes were known to frequent. Reed came out
of the house and left in his minivan. Later that day, he
picked up his codefendant, T.T., whom the state described as
a "prostitute for him in his enterprise," and she
drove the minivan and Reed was a passenger.
4} The police watched as T.T., whose license they
knew was suspended, drove the vehicle to a bank, where they
observed Reed engage in what appeared to be a
"hand-to-hand drug transaction" in the parking lot.
After the transaction, T.T. and Reed left the parking lot,
with T.T. still driving, and the police stopped her for a
traffic infraction, i.e., making several turns without
signaling, and for driving under a suspended license.
5} When the stop was effectuated, Reed got out of
the vehicle and attempted to leave the scene. The police
arrested him for wrongful entrustment of a vehicle and
searched him incident to arrest. They recovered 16
individually wrapped bags of crack cocaine and nine
individually wrapped bags of heroin from his jacket pockets.
The heroin was gray in color, which indicated to the police
that it was likely mixed with Fentanyl. The police also
seized $323 and two cell phones from Reed.
6} In February 2018, Reed was charged in an
eight-count indictment with various drug-related offenses and
specifications. In June 2018, after negotiations with the
state, Reed pled guilty to three amended counts of drug
trafficking, with forfeiture of the $323, one of the cell
phones, and the minivan. The court sentenced Reed to a
46-month prison term. He was also sentenced for probation
violations that resulted in two other cases because of this
case. Reed now appeals, and in his sole assignment of error
he contends that his plea was not knowingly and voluntarily
made. We disagree.
7} Crim.R. 11(C) governs the process by which a
trial court must inform a defendant of certain constitutional
and nonconstitutional rights before accepting a felony plea
of guilty or no contest. The underlying purpose of Crim.R.
11(C) is to convey certain information to a defendant so that
he or she can make a voluntary and intelligent decision
regarding whether to plead guilty. State v. Schmick,
8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 95210, 2011-Ohio-2263, ¶ 5.
8} To ensure that a defendant enters a plea
knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently, a trial court must
engage in an oral dialogue with the defendant in accordance
with Crim.R. 11(C)(2). State v. Engle, 74 Ohio St.3d
525, 527, 660 N.E.2d 450 (1996). Crim.R. 11(C)(2) requires
that a trial court determine from a colloquy with the
defendant whether the defendant understands (1) the nature of
the charge and maximum penalty, (2) the effect of the guilty
plea, and that upon acceptance of the plea, the court may
proceed with judgment and sentence, and (3) the
constitutional rights waived by a guilty plea. State v.
Hussing, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 97972, 2012-Ohio-4938,
¶ 18. The constitutional rights include the rights to a
jury trial, to confront witnesses, to have compulsory process
to obtain witnesses in the defendant's favor, and to
require the state to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a
reasonable doubt at a trial at which the defendant cannot be
compelled to testify against himself or herself. Crim.R.
11(C)(2)(c); State v. Hinton, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No.
102710, 2015-Ohio-4907, ¶ 21.
9} Our review of a plea depends on the alleged
violation. Reed raises an alleged constitutional violation.
Strict compliance is required if an appellant raises a
violation of a constitutional right delineated in Crim.R.
11(C)(2)(c). When the trial court fails to explain the
constitutional rights set forth in Crim.R. 11(C)(2)(c), it is
presumed the plea was entered involuntarily and unknowingly
and therefore the plea was invalid. State v. Clark,
119 Ohio St.3d 239, 2008-Ohio-3748, 893 N.E.2d 462, ¶
10} According to Reed, the trial court misinformed
him of his constitutional ...