from Logan County Common Pleas Court Trial Court No. CR 17 06
Gatterdam and David F. Hanson for Appellant
C. Stewart for Appellee
Defendant-appellant Jasmine D. Lewis ("Lewis")
appeals the judgment of the Logan County Court of Common
Pleas, alleging that that trial court erred in dismissing her
petition for postconviction relief ("petition").
For the reasons set forth below, the judgment of the trial
court is affirmed.
and Procedural History
On June 13, 2017, Lewis was indicted on one count of
complicity to aggravated burglary in violation of R.C.
2911.11(A)(1), R.C. 2923.03; one count of complicity to
aggravated robbery in violation of R.C. 2911.01(A)(1), R.C.
2923.03; and one count of complicity to murder in violation
of R.C. 2903.02, R.C. 2923.03. Doc. 1. These charges came
with a firearm specification. Doc. 1. On June 19, 2017, Lewis
pled not guilty to these charges. Doc. 10.
On August 14, 2017, Lewis appeared before the trial court for
a change of plea hearing. Change of Plea Hearing Tr. 1.
Pursuant to a plea agreement, the State offered to dismiss
the charge of complicity to aggravated burglary, the charge
of complicity to aggravated robbery, and the firearm
specification if Lewis agreed to plead guilty to one count of
complicity to murder in violation of R.C. 2903.02. Change of
Plea Hearing Tr. 3, 14. Doc. 55, 56. The penalty for the
offense of complicity to murder is set forth in R.C.
2929.02(B)(1), which reads, in its relevant part, as follows:
whoever is convicted of or pleads guilty to murder in
violation of section 2903.02 of the Revised Code shall be
imprisoned for an indefinite term of fifteen years
At her change of plea hearing, the trial court explained the
penalty for her crime in the following colloquy:
The Court: The offense carries with it a maximum fine of $15,
000. It is a life sentence with eligibility for parole
after 15 years. Do you understand the maximum
[Lewis]: Yes, sir.
of Plea Hearing Tr. at 9. (Emphasis added.) Lewis
subsequently pled guilty to one count of complicity to murder
in violation of R.C. 2903.02. Doc. 56. The trial court then
found Lewis guilty and ordered a presentence investigation
("PSI"). Change of Plea Hearing Tr. 14. Doc. 56.
On September 21, 2017, Lewis appeared before the trial court
for sentencing. Sentencing Hearing Tr. 1. At this hearing,
defense counsel stated the following:
And the agreed-upon plea is 15 years to life. We would
ask for a lesser amount if the Court can see fit so that
she may possibly entertain the possibility of parole at an
(Emphasis added.) Id. at 5. The trial court then
sentenced Lewis to a term of life in prison with parole
eligibility after fifteen years. Doc. 58.
On October 24, 2017, Lewis filed her direct appeal with this
Court. Doc. 69. In this previous appeal, Lewis argued
"that her counsel was ineffective for not informing her
that she could not get a sentence lower than life in prison
with parole eligibility after fifteen years." State
v. Lewis, 3d Dist. Logan No. 8-17-43, 2018-Ohio-1911,
¶ 6. The Supreme Court of Ohio has applied the
Strickland test for ineffective assistance of
counsel in the context of guilty pleas. State v.
Xie, 62 Ohio St.3d 521, 524, 584 N.E.2d 715 (1992),
citing Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687,
104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984). In such a situation,
"a defendant must show that (1) counsel's
performance was deficient, and (2) there is a reasonable
probability that, but for counsel's errors, the defendant
would not have pled guilty." State v. Conley,
3d Dist. Marion No. 9-16-10, 2016-Ohio-8408, ¶ 10,
citing Xie at 524.
To substantiate this claim, Lewis pointed to the fact that
her defense counsel asked the trial court for a sentence that
would allow for Lewis to be eligible for parole before she
had served fifteen years when R.C. 2929.02(B)(1) mandates
"an indefinite term of fifteen years to life." R.C.
2929.02(B)(1). Thus, this request was predicated on an
erroneous understanding of the law. Lewis asserted that her
attorney had promised her that she could receive a sentence
of less than fifteen years in prison. She further claimed
that she would not have pled guilty if ...