Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Champaign
Criminal Appeal from Common Pleas Court No. 2018-CR-209
TALEBI, Atty. Reg. No. 0069198, Attorney for
K. SHAW, Atty. Reg. No. 0073124, Attorney for
1} James Lee Kendall pled guilty in the Champaign
County Court of Common Plea to one count of domestic
violence, in violation of R.C. 2919.25(A), a third-degree
felony. In exchange for the plea, the State dismissed a
charge of burglary, a felony of the second degree. After a
presentence investigation, the trial court imposed a maximum
36-month sentence and ordered Kendall to pay court costs and
legal fees and expenses. For the following reasons, the trial
court's judgment will be affirmed.
Anders Appeal Standard
2} Kendall's appellate counsel has filed a brief
pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 87
S.Ct. 1396, 18 L.Ed.2d 493 (1967), indicating that he found
"no valid appellate issues." Counsel stated that
Kendall's plea and conviction "involved a plea that
was knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily given with full
understanding of his constitutional rights prior to
sentencing accordingly." We informed Kendall that his
attorney had filed an Anders brief on his behalf and
granted him 60 days from that date to file a pro se brief. To
date, no pro se brief has been filed.
3} Pursuant to Anders, we must determine,
"after a full examination of all the proceedings,"
whether the appeal is "wholly frivolous."
Id. at 744; Penson v. Ohio, 488 U.S. 75,
109 S.Ct. 346, 102 L.Ed.2d 300 (1988). An issue is not
frivolous merely because the prosecution can be expected to
present a strong argument in reply. State v. Pullen,
2d Dist. Montgomery No. 19232, 2002-Ohio-6788, ¶ 4.
Rather, a frivolous appeal is one that presents issues
lacking arguable merit, which means that, "on the facts
and law involved, no responsible contention can be made that
it offers a basis for reversal." State v.
Marbury, 2d Dist. Montgomery No. 19226, 2003-Ohio-3242,
¶ 8, citing Pullen at ¶ 4. If we find that
any issue - whether presented by appellate counsel, presented
by the defendant, or found through an independent analysis -
is not wholly frivolous, we must appoint different appellate
counsel to represent the defendant. Id. at ¶ 7.
Factual and Procedural History
4} According to the municipal court complaint, at
10:54 a.m. on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, two Urbana police
officers responded to the residence of Andrea Huffman, with
whom Kendall has a minor child. When the officers arrived,
they saw Huffman shoving Kendall out the back screen door of
her home. Kendall told the officers that Huffman was
"crazy." The officers noticed that Kendall was
unsteady on his feet and had a strong odor of an alcoholic
beverage coming from his person. Approximately a week prior
to this incident, the officers had told Kendall that Huffman
did not want him at her house, and the officers inquired why
Kendall had returned. Kendall reported that Huffman had
called him and asked him to come over.
5} One of the officers spoke with Huffman in her
residence. The officer observed that a coffee table and the
dining room table were flipped over, a tub of Halloween
decorations was dumped on its side, and a cabinet in the
dining room was "shoved over." Huffman reported
that she had gotten out of the shower and found Kendall
sitting in her kitchen; she had not invited him over. She
told the officer that Kendall "keeps coming to my house
and just walking in." Kendall had told Huffman that he
wanted to see his daughter, who was at school. Huffman stated
to the officer that, when she had asked Kendall to leave,
Kendall began arguing with her and starting flipping over
furniture. Huffman also reported that Kendall threw a
Halloween decoration at her, hitting her in the arm, and he
"smacked her in the head with an open hand."
Kendall also threw Huffman's purse at her in the dining
room and threw a glass sugar container at her in the kitchen,
barely missing her. Huffman's hair was still wet, and she
had a bruise on the back of her left arm. Huffman told the
officer that she had tried for ten years to get Kendall to
"sober up and quit drinking."
6} The officers arrested Kendall and charged him
with domestic violence, burglary, and criminal damaging. In
December 2018, Kendall was indicted for burglary with a
specification that he had a prior conviction for burglary,
and for domestic violence with a specification that he had
three prior convictions for domestic violence. The trial
court set a $20, 000 cash or surety bond; it denied
Kendall's subsequent request for a personal recognizance
bond or a reduction in bond. Kendall remained in custody
while his case was pending.
7} A jury trial was scheduled for January 29, 2019.
At a January 3, 2019 pretrial conference, the parties
indicated that they wished to have a plea hearing. At the
time, Kendall pled guilty to domestic violence as a
third-degree felony; pursuant to the parties' agreement,
the State requested dismissal of the burglary charge. The
trial court ordered a presentence investigation.
8} On January 28, 2019, the trial court sentenced
Kendall to a maximum 36-month sentence; the trial court
informed Kendall that he would receive 84 days of jail time
credit. The court told Kendall that he "may be eligible
to earn days of credit for productively participating in
certain prison programming." The court recommended that
Kendall serve a risk reduction sentence if he were eligible
for the program, but stated that it did not recommend and
disapproved of Kendall's placement in an intensive
program prison "[a]fter considering the seriousness and
recidivism factors," which it had previously discussed.
The court further told Kendall:
In addition, the Court would favorably consider you to
judicial release to the West Central Community-Based
Correctional Facility Program after you've served 12
months of your sentence. And as long as you've not
committed prison rule infractions to such a degree that the