Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Lake
Criminal Appeal from the Lake County Court of Common Pleas,
Case No. 2018 CR 000811.
Charles E. Coulson, Lake County Prosecutor, and Jennifer A.
McGee, Assistant Prosecutor, Lake County Administration
Building, (For Plaintiff-Appellee).
R. Hinton, Hanahan & Hinton, LLC, (For
JANE TRAPP, J.
Appellant, Donna M. Miller ("Mrs. Miller"), appeals
from the Lake County Court of Common Pleas judgment, which
sentenced her to two concurrent 24-month terms of
imprisonment after she pleaded guilty to two counts of
attempted burglary. Her sentences were ordered to be served
consecutive to other sentences imposed by courts in other
Mrs. Miller raises one assignment of error, arguing that the
trial court's sentence is contrary to law and an abuse of
discretion based on the sentencing purposes and principles
set forth in R.C. 2929.11.
After a thorough review of the record and relevant law, we
affirm the judgment of the Lake County Court of Common Pleas.
A review of the sentencing transcript and sentencing judgment
entry reveals Mrs. Miller's sentence is not contrary to
law. In imposing its sentence, the trial court clearly
considered the purposes and principles of R.C. 2929.11 and
R.C. 2929.12, specifically finding Mrs. Miller is a danger to
the public because her crimes was part of a burglary crime
spree throughout northeastern Ohio with numerous victims. The
trial court ordered her sentence to be served consecutive to
those she was already serving that arose from similar
convictions in Geauga and Portage Counties because those
sentences were not sufficient to protect the public from
future crime and to reflect the seriousness of her criminal
conduct, particularly in light of her criminal history.
and Procedural History
On August 14, 2018, Mrs. Miller was secretly indicted on two
counts of burglary, second-degree felonies in violation of
R.C. 2911.12(A)(2), and two counts of theft, fifth-degree
felonies in violation of R.C. 2913.02(A)(1).
Mrs. Miller's indictment arose from a crime spree that
spanned several counties, including Lake, Geauga, and
Portage. This particular case involved two burglaries in Lake
County. Narrative supplement reports from the Madison
Township Police Department ("MTPD") documented that
on Thursday, January 5, 2016, the MTPD received a phone call
from the Geauga County Sheriff's Office, Detective
Bureau. They informed MTPD they had Mrs. Miller in custody
for burglaries she committed in Geauga County and that Mrs.
Miller had told them she committed burglaries in Madison
Township, Ohio as well.
When MTPD detectives interviewed Mrs. Miller, she explained
that she did not go into the houses but was the
"get-away" driver for her husband, Raymond Miller,
and her daughter, Rebecca Bunch. Mrs. Miller, who the
detectives described as looking "dope sick" at the
interview, agreed to drive with the detectives to the Madison
area to identify the houses. Mrs. Miller admittedly stole a
television stand, televisions, petty cash, change, jewelry,
laptops, electronics, and a crossbow. She told the detectives
that they sold the jewelry to pawnshops and that the
"electronics went to drug dealers." She also
explained she sold tools to businesses and other people that
she knew needed them. She identified the two houses and the
particular items she stole from each.
On November 19, 2018, Mrs. Miller reached a plea deal with
the state and pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted
burglary, third-degree felonies in violation of R.C. 2923.02
and R.C. 2911.12(A)(2). On the same day, the court accepted
Mrs. Miller's plea and deferred sentencing until December
At the sentencing hearing, Mrs. Miller and her counsel spoke
on her behalf. Mrs. Miller expressed her remorse to the
After questioning Mrs. Miller about her drug abuse and
criminal history, including the most recent crime spree, the
court considered the purposes and principles of felony
sentencing set forth in R.C. 2929.11 and the seriousness and
recidivism factors of R.C. 2929.12. The court found Mrs.
Miller's conduct more serious because she caused
psychological and economic harm to the victims and acted as
part of an organized criminal activity. The court did not
find any factors that would have made Mrs. Miller's
crimes less serious. The court found recidivism more likely
because of the number of Mrs. Miller's criminal
convictions, two of ...