Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Butler
CRIMINAL APPEAL FROM BUTLER COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS Case
Michael T. Gmoser, Butler County Prosecuting Attorney, Willa
Concannon, Government Services Center, for appellee
Christopher Paul Frederick, for appellant
1} Appellant, John J. Hutchinson, appeals the
decision of the Butler County Court of Common Pleas
sentencing him to serve 17 months in prison after he pled
guilty to one count of assault of a peace officer. For the
reasons outlined below, we affirm the trial court's
2} On August 3, 2018, Hutchinson pled guilty to one
count of assault of a peace officer. The charges arose after
Hutchinson elbowed and repeatedly punched a police officer in
the face during an altercation at a public utilities'
office in the presence of both his fiancé and his
young child. After engaging Hutchinson in the necessary plea
colloquy, the trial court accepted Hutchinson's guilty
plea. Upon accepting Hutchinson's guilty plea, the trial
court then sentenced Hutchinson to serve 17 months in prison
with 152 days of jail-time credit. The trial court also
ordered Hutchinson to pay a fine of $500 and notified
Hutchinson he would subject to an optional postrelease
control term of up to three years upon his release from
3} Hutchinson now appeals the trial court's
sentencing decision, raising the following single assignment
of error for review.
4} THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED ERROR WHEN IT SENTENCED
MR. HUTCHINSON TO A TERM OF 17 MONTHS IN ODRC.
5} In his single assignment of error, Hutchinson
argues the trial court erred by sentencing him to serve 17
months in prison. We disagree.
6} As with all felony sentences, we review the trial
court's sentencing decision under the standard of review
set forth in R.C. 2953.08(G)(2). State v. Marcum,
146 Ohio St.3d 516, 2016-Ohio-1002, ¶ 1. Pursuant to
that statute, this court may modify or vacate a sentence only
if, by clear and convincing evidence, "the record does
not support the trial court's findings under relevant
statutes or that the sentence is otherwise contrary to
law." State v. Harp, 12th Dist. Clermont No.
CA2015-12-096, 2016-Ohio-4921, ¶ 7. A sentence is not
clearly and convincingly contrary to law where the trial
court "considers the principles and purposes of R.C.
2929.11, as well as the factors listed in R.C. 2929.12,
properly imposes postrelease control, and sentences the
defendant within the permissible statutory range."
State v. Ahlers, 12th Dist. Butler No.
CA2015-06-100, 2016-Ohio-2890, ¶ 8. This court may
therefore "increase, reduce, or otherwise modify a
sentence only when it clearly and convincingly finds that the
sentence is (1) contrary to law or (2) unsupported by the
record." State v. Brandenburg, 146 Ohio St.3d
221, 2016-Ohio-2970, ¶ 1, citing Marcum at
7} Hutchinson argues the trial court's
sentencing decision must be reversed because the sentence
imposed does not align with the purposes and principles of
felony sentencing. Hutchinson also argues the trial
court's sentencing decision was improper because it was
not commensurate with the seriousness of his conduct.
Hutchinson supports this argument by noting the allegations
set forth during mitigation that he had suffered significant
physical abuse as a child, as well as purported
life-threatening injuries after he was hit by a car in the
summer of 2002. Hutchinson also notes the fact that he had
already served 152 days in jail prior to the sentencing
hearing, that he showed genuine remorse for his conduct by
entering a guilty plea, and that the police officer he
assaulted was not seriously injured. Therefore, because he
had been plagued by various issues throughout his life, and
because the police officer he assaulted did not suffer
serious physical harm, Hutchinson argues the trial
court's sentencing decision was not supported by the
8} Contrary to Hutchinson's claim, we find
nothing improper in the trial court's sentencing
decision. The trial court had discretion to determine the
most effective way to comply with the purposes and principles
of sentencing set forth in section 2929.11 after considering
the serious and recidivism factors listed in R.C. 2929.12.
Those purposes and principles are (1) to protect the public
from future crime by the offender and others, (2) to punish
the offender, and (3) to promote the effective rehabilitation
of the offender using the minimum sanctions that the court
determines accomplish those purposes without imposing an
unnecessary burden on state or local government resources.
The trial court properly exercised its discretion by finding
a 17-month prison sentence was the minimum sanction necessary
to accomplish those purposes and principles in light of the
crime charged. This is true despite the fact that the trial
court had the option of sentencing Hutchinson to a shorter
prison term or to a period of community control.
9} It is clear that Hutchinson disagrees with the
trial court's decision in determining the most effective
way to comply with the purposes and principles of sentencing
set forth in section 2929.11. It is also clear that
Hutchinson disagrees with the trial court's analysis and
balancing of the seriousness and recidivism factors in R.C.
2929.12. However, rather than this court, it is the trial
court that, "in imposing a sentence, determines the
weight afforded to any particular statutory factors,
mitigating grounds, or other relevant circumstances."
State v. Steger, 12th Dist. Butler No.
CA2016-03-059, 2016-Ohio-7908, ¶ 18, citing State v.
Stubbs, 10th Dist. Franklin No. 13AP-810,
2014-Ohio-3696, ¶ 16. The fact that the trial court
chose to weigh the various sentencing factors differently
than how Hutchinson would have liked does not mean the trial
court erred in imposing Hutchinson's sentence. State
v. Liming, 12th Dist. Clermont Nos. CA2018-05-028 and
CA2018-05-029, 2019-Ohio-82, ¶ 33, citing State v.
Abrams, 12th Dist. Clermont Nos. CA2017-03-018 and
CA2017-03-019, 2017-Ohio-8536, ¶ 17. Hutchinson's
claim otherwise lacks merit.
10} Hutchinson also argues the trial court's
sentencing decision must be reversed because the trial court
failed to give proper consideration to either the principles
and purposes of felony sentencing as set forth in R.C.
2929.11 or the serious and recidivism factors listed in R.C.
2929.12. Hutchinson cites nothing in the record to support
his argument. See App.R. 16(A)(7) (appellant must
include in his or her brief "citations to the
authorities, statutes, and parts of the record on which
appellant relies"). However, even if he did, the record
indicates the trial court considered the ...