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State v. Salett

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Third District, Logan

July 1, 2019

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JOSHUA E. SALETT, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

          Appeal from Logan County Common Pleas Court Trial Court No. CR 17 11 0406

          Samantha L. Berkhofer for Appellant

          Sarah J. Warren for Appellee

          OPINION

          SHAW, J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant, Joshua E. Salett ("Salett"), brings this appeal from the October 1, 2018, judgment of the Logan County Common Pleas Court revoking his community control after Salett refused to enter a community-based correctional facility ("CBCF") as ordered under the specific terms and conditions of his community control. On appeal, Salett argues that his failure to complete the program at the CBCF was a "technical" violation of his community control, which should not have allowed the imposition of his entire previously reserved prison term of twenty-four months.

         Relevant Facts and Procedural History

         {¶2} On November 9, 2017, a traffic stop was conducted in Bellefontaine, Ohio, of a vehicle in which Salett was backseat passenger. During the course of the traffic stop, officers learned that Salett had an outstanding warrant for his arrest. Salett was removed from the vehicle and arrested on the outstanding warrant. He was then searched incident to that arrest, and at that time Salett was found to be in possession of a rock-like substance consistent with crack-cocaine and nine Schedule II Adderall 30 mg pills.

         {¶3} On April 10, 2018, Salett was indicted for Aggravated Possession of Drugs in violation of R.C. 2925.11(A), a felony of the fifth degree, and Possession of Cocaine in violation of R.C. 2925.11(A), a felony of the fifth degree. Salett originally pled not guilty to the charges.

         {¶4} On June 21, 2018, Salett entered into a written, negotiated plea agreement wherein he agreed to plead guilty to the charges as indicted, and in exchange the State agreed to stand silent at sentencing. It was also agreed that the discretionary post-release control would not be imposed by the trial court. A change-of-plea hearing was then held, wherein Salett knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently entered his guilty pleas and he was found guilty of the charges as indicted.

         {¶5} On July 31, 2018, the matter proceeded to sentencing. At the sentencing hearing, the State remained silent as to any recommendation per the plea agreement; however, the pre-sentence investigation writer indicated that Salett was not amenable to community control because he committed the offenses in this case while on post-release control for a prior felony, and because he had a "high" Ohio Risk Assessment System ("ORAS") score.

         {¶6} Salett made a statement on his own behalf, indicating that he had already been in jail for this crime awaiting trial and that he had also served time for violating his post-release control in his prior case out of Cleveland. He argued that a lengthy prison term would not assist in his rehabilitation. Therefore, he requested a prison term of six months or less. In addition, though Salett acknowledged that he had the drugs on him at the time of the traffic stop, he denied that they were his, stating that the other people in the vehicle with him must have put them in his pocket in the vehicle while he was sleeping.

         {¶7} The trial court analyzed the applicable sentencing factors and indicated that it was primarily concerned with Salett's rehabilitation, being that Salett was relatively young. The trial court thus disagreed with the pre-sentence investigation, stating that providing further rehabilitative opportunity for Salett would be the optimal outcome rather than prison. The trial court then placed Salett on community control for five years on each count, to run concurrent with each other. As part of Salett's community control, the trial court ordered Salett to the West Central CBCF to complete programming there.

         {¶8} When the trial court stated that Salett would be sent to the CBCF, Salett indicated that he felt like he did not need to go to West Central. He asked the trial court if he would be punished if he withdrew from West Central, and the trial court stated, "when you're thinking about signing yourself out of West Central, I want you to understand that is my goal: To get you back in Cleveland with a job, starting a new life. If you sign yourself out, you're telling me that you can't do that. Do you understand - so you asked me, are you going to be punished? I'm telling you that's the message you're sending me." (July 31, 2018, Tr. at 32).

         {¶9} The trial court indicated that failure to complete a residential program as ordered at West Central would be a violation of Salett's community control. (Id. at 30). The trial court further stated that the other remaining option other than the CBCF was prison, but the trial court wanted to focus on rehabilitation rather than punishment. Finally, Salett was notified that if he violated his community control, he would be subject ...


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