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. Triplett

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Third District, Logan

June 24, 2019

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JONATHAN L. TRIPLETT, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT. STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JONATHAN L. TRIPLETT, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

          Appeals from Logan County Common Pleas Court Trial Court Nos. CR 18 02 0029 and CR 18 04 0107

          Eric J. Allen for Appellant

          Sarah J. Warren for Appellee

          OPINION

          ZIMMERMAN, P.J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant, Jonathan L. Triplett ("Triplett"), appeals the September 4, 2018 judgment entry of the Logan County Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, in case number CR18-02-0029 finding him guilty of two counts of trafficking in crack cocaine and one count of possession of crack cocaine (with a forfeiture specification) and the September 4, 2018 judgment entry of the Logan County Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, in case number CR18-04-0107 finding him guilty of one count of trafficking in powder cocaine (with a forfeiture specification). On appeal, Triplett asserts three assignments of error. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the rulings of the trial court.

         {¶2} The relevant facts in this appeal are not in dispute and reveal that shortly after Triplett was released from prison (for time served as a result of a drug trafficking conviction in Logan County), Triplett sold cocaine to two confidential informants working in collaboration with the Logan County Joint Drug Task Force ("Task Force"). (August 28, 2018 Tr. at 102-121, 123-126); (September 4, 2018 Tr. at 4, 9, 10, 17). On February 3, 2018, Triplett was arrested as a result of the controlled drug buys and was found to be in possession of two hundred and eighty-four dollars ($284.00) in cash and two (2) cell phones. (August 28, 2018 Tr. at 177, 190). Thereafter, the Task Force obtained a search warrant for Triplett's apartment (where he cohabitated with his girlfriend), wherein crack cocaine was discovered in an upstairs bedroom dresser drawer. (August 28, 2018 Tr. at 132, 133, 135, 136, 141, 144, 180, 206, 207, 211, 215, 218). Finally, subsequent to his indictment in case number CR18-02-0029 and while he was released on bond, Triplett was arrested for another controlled drug buy for selling powder cocaine to a CI. (August 28, 2018 Tr. at 154-165, 187, 189); (September 4, 2018 Tr. at 9, 11). During that arrest, Triplett was found in possession of four hundred and thirty-eight dollars ($438.00) in cash. (August 28, 2018 Tr. at 177, 190).

         {¶3} On February 13, 2018, the Logan County Grand Jury indicted Triplett in case number CR18-02-0029 on: Count One, trafficking in cocaine, in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(1), (C)(4)(a), a felony of the fifth degree; Count Two, trafficking in cocaine, in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(1), (C)(4)(a), a felony of the fifth degree; and Count Three, possession of cocaine, in violation of R.C. 2925.11(A), (C)(4)(b), a felony of the fourth degree, with a specification for forfeiture of money in a drug case in violation of R.C. 2941.1417(A). (Case No. CR18-02-0029, Doc. No. 4). Triplett was later indicted by the Logan County Grand Jury on April 10, 2018 in case number CR18-04-0107 for one count of trafficking in cocaine, in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(1), (C)(4)(a), a felony of the fifth degree, with a specification for forfeiture of money in a drug case in violation of R.C. 2941.1417(A). (Case No. CR18-04-0107, Doc. No. 2).

         {¶4} The trial court consolidated Triplets cases and the matters proceeded to trial on August 28, 2018 with the jury returning a guilty verdict on all counts in case number CR18-02-0029 and finding the two hundred and eight-four dollars ($284.00) was subject to forfeiture. (August 28, 2018 Tr. at 286-290); (Case No. CR18-02-0029, Doc. Nos. 94-97). Additionally, the jury found Triplett guilty on the single count indicted in case number CR18-04-0107 with a finding that the four hundred and thirty-eight dollars ($438.00) was also subject to forfeiture. (August 28, 2018 Tr. at 290, 291); (Case No. CR18-04-0107, Doc. Nos. 66, 67).

         {¶5} At Triplett's sentencing on September 4, 2018, the trial court sentenced him in case number CR18-02-0029 to 12 months in prison on Count One, 12 months in prison on Count Two, and 18 months in prison on Count Three of the indictment. (Case No. CR18-02-0029, Doc. No. 103). The trial court further ordered Triplett to serve the terms consecutively for an aggregate of 42 months in prison. (Id.). The trial court, then, sentenced Triplett to 12 months in prison on the single count of the indictment in case number CR18-04-0107 and ordered that term to run consecutive to the 42-month sentence (in case number CR18-02-0029) totaling 54 months in prison. (Case No. CR18-04-0107, Doc. No. 73).

         {¶6} Triplett filed his notice of appeal in both cases on September 14, 2018, which we consolidated for purposes of appeal. (Case No. CR18-02-0029, Doc. No. 111); (Case No. CR18-04-0107, Doc. No. 82). Triplett raises three assignments of error for our review.

         Assignment of Error No. I

         The court erred by imposing a sentence unsupported by the record per O.R.C. § 2929.14 (sic).

         Assignment of Error No. II

         The verdict in this case is against the sufficiency of the evidence and should be reversed because it violates the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth amendments to the United States Constitution, and Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution of the State of Ohio.

         Assignment of Error No. III

         The verdict in this case is against the manifest weight of the evidence and should be reversed because it violates the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution of the State of Ohio.

         For the reasons that follow, we affirm the trial court.

         Assignment of Error No. I

         The court erred by imposing a sentence unsupported by the record per O.R.C. § 2929.14 (sic).

         Standard of Review

         {¶7} "Under R.C. 2953.08(G)(2), an appellate court will reverse a sentence 'only if it determines by clear and convincing evidence that the record does not support the trial court's findings under relevant statutes or that the sentence is otherwise contrary to law.'" State v. Taflinger, 3d Dist. Logan No. 8-17-20, 2018- Ohio-456, ¶ 14, citing State v. Nienberg, 3d Dist. Putnam Nos. 12-16-15 and 12-16- 16, 2017-Ohio-2920, ¶ 8 quoting State v. Marcum, 146 Ohio St.3d 516, 2016-Ohio- 1002, 59 N.E.3d 1231, ¶ 1.

Clear and convincing evidence is that measure or degree of proof which is more than a mere 'preponderance of the evidence,' but not to the extent of such certainty as is required 'beyond a reasonable doubt' in criminal cases, and which will produce in the mind of the trier of facts a firm belief or conviction as to the facts sought to be established.

State v. Sullivan, 3d Dist. Hancock No. 5-17-09, 2017-Ohio-8937, ¶ 12, quoting Cross v. Ledford, 161 Ohio St. 469, 120 N.E.2d 118, (1954), paragraph three of the syllabus.

         {¶8} "Except as provided in * * * division (C) of section 2929.14, prison term, jail term, or sentence of imprisonment shall be served concurrently with any other prison term, jail term, or sentence of imprisonment imposed by a court of this state, another state, or the United States." R.C. 2929.41(A).

         Revised Code 2929.14(C) provides:

(4) If multiple prison terms are imposed on an offender for convictions of multiple offenses, the court may require the offender to serve the prison terms consecutively if the court finds that the consecutive service is necessary to protect the public from future crime or to punish the offender and that consecutive sentences are not disproportionate to the seriousness of the offender's conduct and to the danger the offender poses to the public, and if the court also finds any of the following:
(a) The offender committed one or more of the multiple offenses while the offender was awaiting trial or sentencing, was under a sanction imposed pursuant to section 2929.16, 2929.17, or 2929.18 of the Revised Code, or was under post-release control for a prior offense.
(b) At least two of the multiple offenses were committed as part of one or more courses of conduct, and the harm caused by two or more of the multiple offenses so committed was so great or unusual that no single prison term for any of the offenses committed as part of any of the courses of conduct adequately reflects the seriousness of the offender's conduct.
(c) The offender's history of criminal conduct demonstrates that consecutive sentences are necessary to protect the public from future crime by the offender.

R.C. 2929.14(C)(4)(a)-(c).

         {¶9} Revised Code 2929.14(C)(4) requires the trial court to make specific findings on the record when imposing consecutive sentences. State v. Hites, 3d Dist. Hardin No. 6-11-07, 2012-Ohio-1892, ¶ 11; State v. Peddicord, 3d Dist. Henry No. 7-12-24, 2013-Ohio-3398, ¶ 33. Specifically, the trial court must find: (1) consecutive sentences are necessary to either protect the public or punish the offender; (2) the sentences would not be disproportionate to the offense committed; and (3) one of the factors in R.C. 2929.14(C)(4)(a), (b), or (c) applies. (Id.; Id).

         {¶10} The trial court must state the required findings at the sentencing hearing when imposing consecutive sentences and incorporate those findings into its sentencing entry. State v. Sharp, 3d Dist. Putnam No. 12-13-01, 2014-Ohio-4140, ¶ 50, citing State v. Bonnell, 140 Ohio St.3d 209, 2014-Ohio-3177, 16 N.E.3d 659, ¶ 29. A trial court "has no obligation to state reasons to support its findings" and is not "required to give a talismanic incantation of the words of the statute, provided that the necessary findings can be found in the record and are incorporated into the sentencing entry." Bonnell at ¶ 37.

         Analysis

         {¶11} In sentencing Triplett, the trial court considered the overriding principles and purposes of felony sentencing at the sentencing hearing and again in each of its judgment entries. (September 4, 2018 Tr. at 12-15); (Case No. CR18-02-0029, Doc. No. 103); (Case No. CR18-04-0107, Doc. No. 73). Further, the sentences imposed by the trial court were within the statutory ranges for each offense. See R.C. 2929.14(A)(3)(b)(4)-(5). The record demonstrates that the trial court determined that Triplett had a history of committing drug offenses, including while he was under probation and parole supervision, within thirty (30) days of being released from prison, and while he was awaiting trial on the instant offenses. (August 28, 2018 Tr. at 102-121, 123-126); (September 4, 2018 Tr. at 4, 9, 10, 17).

         {¶12} Nevertheless, Appellant contends that the trial court erred by using Triplett's presentence investigation report ("PSI") from 2016. We disagree. To this contention, the record reflects that the trial court was in the process of ordering a new PSI after Triplett was convicted, when Triplett requested to proceed (with sentencing) to "get it over with." (August 28, 2018 Tr. at 292, 293). Even though an updated PSI may have flushed out more facts related to the instant offenses, the failure to order an updated PSI was not contrary to law, especially, in light of the fact that, Triplett had just been released from prison when some of his new charges were committed, and while he was released on bond when he committed the other charge. Thus, Triplett has not provided us with how he was prejudiced by the trial court's failure to order an updated PSI in light of these facts.

         {¶13} Finally, the appellant argues that the trial court erred in its finding (that) he showed no remorse during the course of the sentencing hearing. Specifically, Appellant opines:

[t]he lack of remorse was mentioned time and time again by the Court, despite the fact that Triplett actively showed a sense of remorse and willingness to be accountable for his action, especially for the sake of his four children.

(Emphasis added.) (Appellant's Brief at 4). In our review, we note that the appellant failed to direct us to specific instances in the record to support his assertion that the trial court erred by failing to consider Triplett's remorse. We recognize that the trial court stands in the best position to determine the earnestness of those that stand before the bench and to weigh their credibility. State v. Nutter, 3d Dist. Wyandot No. 16-01-06, 2001-Ohio-2253, 2001 WL 961748, *2. Here, we cannot find that the trial court's determination that Triplett's reoffending, both within thirty (30) days of his ...


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.