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State v. Brazina

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Mahoning

June 26, 2019

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ERIC J. BRAZINA, Defendant-Appellant.

          Criminal Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of Mahoning County, Ohio Case No. 2014 CR 457

          Atty. Paul J. Gains, Mahoning County Prosecutor, Atty. Ralph M. Rivera, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Plaintiff-Appellee and

          Atty. Rhys B. Cartwright-Jones, for Defendant-Appellant.

          BEFORE: Carol Ann Robb, Gene Donofrio, David A. D'Apolito, Judges.

          OPINION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY

          Robb, J.

         {¶1} Defendant-Appellant Eric Brazina appeals the decision of the Mahoning County Common Pleas Court imposing consecutive sentences for his telecommunications harassment, impersonating a peace officer, and disrupting public services convictions. The issue in this case is whether the trial court made the necessary consecutive sentence findings and whether the record supports the imposition of consecutive sentences. For the reasons expressed below, the aggregate sentence imposed is affirmed.

         Statement of the Facts and Case

         {¶2} In 2013, Appellant committed seven counts of fifth-degree felony telecommunication harassment. While he was in the Mahoning County Jail awaiting trial on those charges, Appellant was reprimanded by Deputy Hawkins, one of the deputies supervising him. According to Appellant, he felt Deputy Hawkins treated him unfairly. A plea agreement was reached in that case and in March 2014, Appellant was released from jail and sentenced to community control sanctions.

         {¶3} In April 2014, Deputy Hawkins, while working at the jail, received two calls from an individual named "Brian Myers" claiming to be a Struthers police officer and/or detective. This person told Deputy Hawkins somebody called and complained about her, and he was investigating the complaint. This person set a date and time to meet with the deputy. Deputy Hawkins informed her supervisors of the calls immediately after each call occurred and wrote incident reports. The Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force was notified of the calls and meeting. It provided surveillance for the meeting, but "Brian Myers" did not show up for the meeting.

         {¶4} In May 2014, Deputy Hawkins, while working at the jail, received a phone call from a person claiming to be from the Trumbull County Administration Office or the Trumbull County Sheriffs Office named "Kevin Bryant." This person told Deputy Hawkins he was setting a meeting for workers from jails to talk about jail operations. Deputy Hawkins recognized his voice as the same person claiming to be "Brian Myers" and immediately advised her supervisors of the telephone call and wrote a report. When "Kevin Bryant" called the next day, Deputy Hawkins recorded the conversation. "Kevin Bryant" told her the meeting was going to take place the following morning and she was to wear dress clothes and heels. The Task Force accompanied Deputy Hawkins to the meeting. No one appeared for the meeting.

         {¶5} An investigation of these incidents pursued and Deputy Hawkins was shown a picture of Appellant and asked if she knew him. She responded she did from his earlier stay in the Mahoning County jail. She listened to telephone calls he made from the jail and identified Appellant's voice as "Brian Myers" and "Kevin Bryant."

         {¶6} Appellant was on probation at the time and agreed to cooperate with the investigation. He made a statement admitting to using a computer to make the phone calls and stated he did these things to "mess" with Deputy Hawkins because of how she treated him when he was in jail.

         {¶7} Thereafter, Appellant was indicted for four counts of telecommunication harassment in violation of R.C. 2917.21(B)(C)(1)(2), fifth-degree felonies; four counts of impersonating a peace officer in violation of R.C. 2921.51(E)(G), third-degree felonies; and four counts of disrupting public services in violation of R.C. 2919.04(B)(C), fourth-degree felonies. 5/22/14 Indictment. A jury found Appellant guilty of four counts of telephone harassment, four counts of impersonating a peace officer, and one count of disrupting public services. Appellant received an aggregate sentence of 144 months (12 years). Appellant received 12 months for each telecommunication harassment conviction (counts 1-4), 36 months for each impersonating a peace officer conviction (counts 5-8), and 18 months for disrupting public services (count 9). The sentences for counts 1, 5, and 9 ran concurrently. The sentences for counts 2 and 6 ran concurrently. The sentences for counts 3 and 7 ran concurrently. The sentences for counts 4 and 8 ran concurrently. Each of those concurrent sentences ran consecutively to each other and consecutively to any sentence imposed for violating community control.

         {¶8} Appellant timely appealed his convictions. State v. Brazina, 7th Dist. No. 15 MA 0191, 2017-Ohio-7500 (Brazina I). In Brazina I, we affirmed the jury's 2015 guilty verdicts for four counts of telephone harassment, four counts of impersonating a peace officer, and one count of disrupting public services. Id. However, we reversed the sentence and remanded the matter for resentencing because the trial court did not make the required consecutive sentence findings at the sentencing hearing. Id. at ¶ 1, 31-42.

         {¶9} A resentencing hearing occurred on April 13, 2018. The trial court reimposed the 144 month sentence for the nine convictions. In doing so, the trial court ...


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