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State v. Lewis

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fourth District, Adams

August 5, 2019

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DINA LEWIS, Defendant-Appellant.

          Robert Shawn Stratton, Portsmouth, Ohio, for Appellant.

          David Kelley, Adams County Prosecuting Attorney, and Kris D. Blanton, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, West Union, Ohio, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY

          JASON P. SMITH, PRESIDING JUDGE

         {¶1} Appellant, Dina Lewis, appeals her conviction and sentence for Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, a first-degree felony in violation of R.C. 2923.32. On appeal, she contends that the trial court erred by sentencing her to a ten-year prison term on a first-degree felony. However, because we find Appellant's guilty plea waived any defect in the indictment and also served as an admission to the predicate acts underlying her Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity charge, we find no merit to her argument that the trial court erred in sentencing her. Accordingly, Appellant's sole assignment of error is overruled and the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

         FACTS

         {¶2} Appellant was indicted on three felony drug charges as well as one count of Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity on March 23, 2018. This matter was ultimately disposed of by a plea agreement that involved Appellant's agreement to plead guilty to count four of the four-count indictment, which charged her with first-degree felony Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, in exchange for the dismissal of counts one through three of the indictment. Counts one through three of the indictment contained the following charges: 1) Aggravated Possession of Drugs with major drug offender and forfeiture specifications, a first-degree felony in violation of R.C. 2925.11(A); 2) Aggravated Possession of Drugs with a forfeiture specification, a second-degree felony in violation of R.C. 2925.11(A); and 3) Aggravated Trafficking in Drugs with major drug offender and forfeiture specifications, a first-degree felony in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(1).[1] There was no agreement regarding sentencing.

         {¶3} At the change of plea hearing held on June 4, 2018, Appellant testified at length regarding the offenses she had committed. She testified that between the time period of approximately March 1, 2017 until March 9, 2018 she sold methamphetamine in Adams County, Ohio. She testified that she would mail money to a friend in Bakersfield, California and in return her friend would mail her methamphetamine. She testified that she initially only bought an ounce at a time, but over time she worked up to buying fifteen ounces at a time. She testified that she paid $3800.00 for fifteen ounces and sold it for $675.00 an ounce on the street. She explained that she and her friend utilized several different shipping companies, including Fed Ex and UPS. She testified that she received a shipment about once a week. She further testified that sometimes people came to her house to buy methamphetamine, and sometimes she met them in public places such as McDonald's, Walmart parking lots, or a church. She also testified that when she was initially arrested, she had $2810.00 with her that she had received from trafficking sales.

         {¶4} Before accepting Appellant's guilty plea and orally dismissing counts one through three, the trial court inquired as to whether defense counsel believed that each and every essential element of the underlying offense and specification warranted the court's acceptance of her guilty plea. Defense counsel responded in the affirmative. Thereafter the following exchange took place on the record:

COURT: * * * Ms. Lewis acknowledging that the underlying events would have been set forth originally in counts I and III,
Aggravated Possession of Drugs and Aggravated Trafficking in Methamphetamine. Uh, Ms. Lewis uh, still while under oath provided a factual basis touching upon each and every essential element of the offense of Count IV.
State of Ohio do you stipulate that Methamphetamine is a Schedule II Controlled Substance and that the amounts in this period of Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity equaled or exceed, exceeding 100 times the bulk amount?
PROSECUTOR KELLEY: Yes, Your Honor.
COURT: Mr. Cornely do you stipulate to that ...

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