T. Goldberg, Cincinnati, Ohio, for appellant.
Kelley, Adams County Prosecutor, and Kris D. Blanton, Adams
County Assistant Prosecutor, West Union, Ohio, for appellee.
DECISION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY
Danielle Johnson pleaded guilty to aggravated trafficking in
drugs, a third-degree felony, and the trial court sentenced
her to 30 months in prison. Johnson maintains her sentence is
excessive. She argues she has a severe drug problem for which
she has sought treatment, has participated in a program to
obtain help with housing and other matters, accepted
responsibility by pleading guilty, and acted as only a middle
person in the drug transaction at issue. However, she failed
to establish by the requisite clear and convincing evidence
that her prison term is contrary to law or not supported by
the record. Thus, we affirm the trial court's judgment.
Johnson sold an undercover police officer approximately 6.9
grams of methamphetamine, and the Adams County grand jury
indicted her on one count of aggravated trafficking in drugs
in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(1), a third-degree felony
because the crime involved a Schedule II controlled substance
in an amount equal to or greater than the bulk amount but
less than five times the bulk amount. See R.C.
2925.03(C)(1)(c); R.C. 3719.41, Schedule II(C)(2); R.C.
2925.01(D)(1)(g). Johnson initially pleaded not guilty but
later pleaded guilty as charged. At the change of plea
hearing, Johnson told the court she acted as a "middle
man" in the drug transaction.
The trial court accepted the plea, ordered a presentence
investigation, and scheduled the sentencing hearing for June
20, 2018. Subsequently, Johnson violated the terms of her
bond because she tested positive for use of methamphetamine.
She failed to appear for the sentencing hearing, and the
trial court ordered that a capias be issued for her arrest.
The sentencing hearing ultimately took place on January 9,
2019. Johnson's counsel explained that Johnson had
entered Woodhaven Residential Center on July 13, 2018, and
had been medically discharged on August 7, 2018. She went to
the Southern Ohio Medical Center and received medical
clearance, but Woodhaven would not allow her to return.
Johnson then went to Recovery Counsel. She completed a
residential program and at the time of sentencing was
involved in a transitional program to obtain help with
housing, employment, and legal matters. Johnson told the
court that she had been clean for six months, and her father
spoke on her behalf.
The trial court noted that Johnson received a high score on
the Ohio Risk Assessment System, indicating she was likely to
reoffend. She had "eight prior felony convictions, three
misdemeanor convictions, and five felony juvenile
convictions." Her community control had been revoked on
two occasions, and she had violated conditions of bond
multiple times. The court also found that she was not
remorseful. After considering the record, oral statements,
presentence investigation report, principles and purposes of
felony sentencing in R.C. 2929.11(A), and seriousness and
recidivism factors in R.C. 2929.12, the trial court sentenced
her to 30 months in prison.
ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR
Johnson assigns the following error for our review:
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED TO THE PREJUDICE OF APPELLANT BY
IMPOSING A SENTENCE OF THIRTY MONTHS, WHEN THAT SENTENCE WAS
NOT SUPPORTED BY THE RECORD.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
When reviewing felony sentences appellate courts must apply
the standard of review set forth in R.C. 2953.08(G)(2).
State v. Marcum,146 Ohio St.3d 516, 2016-Ohio-1002,
59 N.E.3d 1231, ¶ 1, 7. R.C. 2953.08(G)(2) provides that
"[t]he appellate court's standard for review is not
whether the sentencing court abused its discretion";
rather, the appellate court may increase, reduce, modify, ...