Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Martin

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Lake

June 24, 2019

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ZACHARY A. MARTIN, Defendant-Appellant.

          Criminal Appeal from the Lake County Court of Common Pleas. Case No. 2017 CR 001260.

          Charles E. Coulson, Lake County Prosecutor, and Karen A. Sheppert, Assistant Prosecutor, OH 44077 (For Plaintiff-Appellee).

          Richard J. Perez, OH 44094 (For Defendant-Appellant).

          OPINION

          TIMOTHY P. CANNON, J.

         {¶1} Appellant, Zachary A. Martin, appeals from the April 23, 2018 judgment entry of the Lake County Court of Common Pleas, following a guilty plea, sentencing him on one count of sexual battery and one count of attempted sexual battery against a minor and classifying him a Tier III sex offender. At issue on appeal are various constitutional challenges and appellant's 60-month prison sentence. The judgment is affirmed.

         {¶2} Appellant was a full-time information technology employee of Mentor Schools and an assistant girls' basketball coach at Mentor High School. In June 2017, on three separate occasions, appellant engaged in sexual conduct with a female student on his basketball team. Appellant was 28 years old; the victim was 16 years old. The encounters took place twice at appellant's home and once at the victim's home; they were arranged via text message and social media.

         {¶3} On November 17, 2017, appellant was secretly indicted on ten counts of sexual battery, felonies of the third degree: five counts in violation of R.C. 2907.03(A)(7) and five counts in violation of R.C. 2907.03(A)(9).

         {¶4} On March 7, 2018, appellant pled guilty, in writing and in open court, to one count of sexual battery, a third-degree felony, in violation of R.C. 2907.03(A)(9); and one lesser-included count of attempted sexual battery, a fourth-degree felony, in violation of R.C. 2907.03(A)(9) & R.C. 2923.02(A). The state agreed to move for dismissal of the remaining counts of the indictment at sentencing. Sentencing was deferred for preparation of a presentence investigation report, sexual offender evaluation, and victim impact statements.

         {¶5} Appellant filed written objections to the statutory reporting requirements as a Tier III sex offender under R.C. 2950.01, arguing the statute violates the Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, the Separation of Powers Doctrine, and Article I, Sections 9, 10, and 16, of the Ohio Constitution. The state filed a response in opposition.

         {¶6} A sentencing hearing was held April 18, 2018, at which time the trial court overruled appellant's objections to the statutory reporting requirements. Appellant was classified a Tier III sex offender, pursuant to R.C. 2950.01, and was notified of his lifetime duty to register in person with the appropriate law enforcement officials every 90 days. The trial court sentenced appellant to 18 months in prison on the lesser-included offense of attempted sexual battery and 60 months in prison on the offense of sexual battery, to be served concurrent with each other.

         {¶7} The judgment entry of sentence was filed April 23, 2018, in which the trial court entered a nolle prosequi on the remaining counts in the indictment. Appellant noticed an appeal from this entry and raises four assignments of error for our review:

[1.] Ohio Revised Code Section 2950.01 is in violation of appellant's constitutional rights under the Ohio and United States Constitution, as such, R.C. 2950.01 is unconstitutional.
[2.] Ohio Revised Code Section 2950.01 is in violation of appellant's Due Process rights under the Ohio and United States Constitution, as such, R.C. 2950.01 is unconstitutional.
[3.] Ohio Revised Code Section 2950.01 is in violation of appellant's Eighth Amendment Rights under the Ohio and United States Constitutions, as such R.C. 2950.01 is unconstitutional.
[4.] The trial court erred when it sentenced appellant in a manner inconsistent and disproportionate with other, similar Ohio cases and the sentences of [his] co-defendants.

         {¶8} Under his first three assignments of error, appellant argues R.C. 2950.01, the sex offender classification statute, is in violation of appellant's constitutional rights under both the Ohio and United States Constitutions.

         {¶9} "The constitutionality of a statute is a matter of law which an appellate court reviews de novo. Under this standard, this court conducts an independent review, giving no deference to the trial court's determination. Further, we bear in mind that legislative enactments enjoy a presumption of constitutionality. This means that courts must avoid an unconstitutional construction where it is reasonably possible to do so." State v. Jenson, 11th Dist. Lake No. 2005-L-193, 2006-Ohio-5169, ¶5 (internal citations omitted).

         {¶10} Under his first assignment of error, appellant asserts R.C. 2950.01 violates the Equal Protection Clauses of the Ohio and United States Constitutions, facially and as applied, because the manner in which the "tiers" of sex offenders are assigned to individuals is not rationally related to the statute's intended purpose. Appellant asserts, under his second assignment of error, that R.C. 2950.01 violates his Due Process rights under the Ohio and United States Constitutions because he was designated a Tier III sex offender without a hearing pursuant to R.C. 2950.01 (G)(1)(a). Under his third assignment of error, appellant asserts R.C. 2950.01 violates his constitutional Eighth Amendment rights, proscribing all excessive and cruel and unusual punishments, because the tier designations are not proportioned to the offenses.

         {¶11} These exact arguments were raised and rejected in the recent case of State v. Merkle, 11th Dist. Geauga No. 2016-G-0103, 2017-Ohio-8802. The defendant in Merkle was convicted of violations of R.C. 2907.03(A)(7); appellant was convicted of violations of R.C. 2907.03(A)(9). The statute provides:

(A) No person shall engage in sexual conduct with another, not the spouse of the offender, when any of the following apply:
(7) The offender is a teacher, administrator, coach, or other person in authority employed by or serving in a school for which the state board of education prescribes minimum standards pursuant to division (D) of section 3301.07 of the Revised Code, the other person is enrolled in or attends that ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.