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State v. Henderson

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Sixth District, Ottawa

June 21, 2019

State of Ohio Appellee
v.
Caitlin Henderson Appellant

          Trial Court No. 17 CR 153

          James J. VanEerten, Ottawa County Prosecuting Attorney, and Barbara Gallé Rivas, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for appellee.

          Howard C. Whitcomb, III, for appellant.

          DECISION AND JUDGMENT

          PIETRYKOWSKI, J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Caitlin M. Henderson, appeals the July 18, 2018 judgment of the Ottawa County Court of Common Pleas which, following her guilty plea to attempted child endangering, sentenced her to a maximum of 18 months of imprisonment. Because we find that the sentence was supported by the record and was not contrary to law, we affirm.

         {¶ 2} The relevant facts of this case are as follows. On October 17, 2017, appellant was indicted on two counts of endangering children, third-degree felonies. The indictment included the period from July 1 to July 23, 2017, and involved appellant's infant son who had been diagnosed with a subdural chronic hemorrhage for which a shunt was implanted to relieve the pressure on the brain, an occipital skull fracture, and two rib fractures. The doctors attributed the head injuries to the child either being shaken or impacted on a surface with force. It was uncertain whether the infant would have long-term defects from the injury. The head injury likely occurred one week preceding the child's scheduled well-check visit where it was first addressed. Further, the fractured ribs were in a state of healing to indicate that they occurred prior to the head injury.

         {¶ 3} Allegedly the injuries took place while appellant was at work and the infant was in appellant's boyfriend's care. The two were the child's primary caretakers.

         {¶ 4} Appellant was arraigned on October 20, 2017. She entered not guilty pleas to the charges and was released on bond with the conditions, inter alia, that she submit to drug and alcohol testing, and that she have no contact with the co-defendant. On November 29, 2017, the state filed a motion to revoke bond based upon allegations that appellant had been in contact with the co-defendant through text messages and/or telephone calls. On December 8, 2017, appellant admitted the violation. Bond was continued with appellant being ordered to wear a GPS monitoring unit.

         {¶ 5} On March 22, 2018, appellant's probation officer filed a notice that appellant failed to provide a sample for drug and/or alcohol testing. The magistrate ordered that bond be revoked and that appellant be incarcerated. At the bond revocation hearing, appellant entered a denial.

         {¶ 6} On June 6, 2018, appellant withdrew her not guilty pleas and entered a plea of guilty to an amended Count 1 charge of attempted child endangering, a fourth-degree felony. The state then proffered a statement of the facts supporting the charge. On July 18, 2018, appellant was sentenced on Count 1 to the maximum penalty of 18 months of imprisonment. Count 2 was dismissed. This appeal followed with appellant raising the following assignment of error:

The trial court committed reversible error when it imposed a maximum sentence upon defendant-appellant as it was contrary to R.C. 2929.13(B) and against the manifest weight of the evidence.

         {¶ 7} We note that this court reviews felony sentences under the two-prong approach set forth in R.C. 2953.08(G)(2). R.C. 2953.08(G)(2) provides that an appellate court may increase, reduce, modify, or vacate and remand a disputed sentence 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 ...

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