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State v. Baldwin

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Summit

June 26, 2019

STATE OF OHIO Appellee
v.
MALIK S. BALDWIN Appellant

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CR-2017-11-3938

          DONALD R. HICKS, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          MALIK SHABAZZ BALDWIN, pro se, Appellant.

          SHERRI BEVAN WALSH, Prosecuting Attorney, and JACQUENETTE S. CORGAN, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          CALLAHAN, JUDGE

         {¶1} Appellant, Malik Baldwin, appeals his sentence following a guilty plea. His appointed counsel filed a brief pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967), and Mr. Baldwin responded by proposing three issues for this Court's review. Having independently reviewed the record, counsel's Anders brief, and the issues proposed by Mr. Baldwin, this Court grants counsel's motion to withdraw and affirms the judgment of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas.

         I.

         {¶2} Mr. Baldwin pleaded guilty to one count of voluntary manslaughter in violation of R.C. 2903.03(A), with an attendant firearm specification, and one count of kidnapping in violation of R.C. 2905.01(A)(2). His written plea agreement reflected an agreed sentence consisting of a ten-year prison term for the voluntary manslaughter conviction, a three-year prison term for the firearm specification, and a seven-year prison term for the kidnapping conviction. The plea agreement provided that all of the prison terms would be served consecutively "for [a] 20 year total" term. The trial court sentenced Mr. Baldwin in accordance with the plea agreement.

         {¶3} This Court granted Mr. Baldwin leave to file a delayed appeal. Appointed counsel filed a motion for leave to withdraw accompanied by an Anders brief. Consistent with the guidelines in Anders, counsel asserted that, after a review of the record, he was unable to find any issues that might support an appeal. Anders, 386 U.S. at 744. Mr. Baldwin responded, proposing three issues that he alleged were not wholly frivolous. The State of Ohio filed a response to Mr. Baldwin's brief.

         II.

         {¶4} Upon the filing of an Anders brief, this Court conducts a full examination of the proceedings to decide whether the case is wholly frivolous. Id. One court has elaborated on the nature of a "frivolous" appeal for Anders purposes:

Anders equates a frivolous appeal with one that presents issues lacking in arguable merit. An issue does not lack arguable merit merely because the prosecution can be expected to present a strong argument in reply or because it is uncertain whether an appellant will ultimately prevail on that issue on appeal. "An issue lacks arguable merit if, on the facts and law involved, no responsible contention can be made that it offers a basis for reversal."

State v. Moore, 2d Dist. Greene No. 07-CA-97, 2009-Ohio-1416, ¶ 4, quoting State v. Pullen, 2d Dist. Montgomery No. 19232, 2002-Ohio-6788, ¶ 4. If this Court's independent review reveals that any issue presented is not wholly frivolous or that there are other arguable issues, we must appoint different appellate counsel to represent the appellant. Pullen at ¶ 2.

         {¶5} Mr. Baldwin has suggested that there are three non-frivolous issues for appeal: that the trial court committed plain error by failing to merge his sentences for voluntary manslaughter and kidnapping, that trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to advise him that his sentences ...


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