Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Portage
Criminal Appeal from the Portage County Court of Common
Pleas, Case No. 2018 CR 00373.
V. Vigluicci, Portage County Prosecutor, and Theresa M.
Scahill, Assistant Prosecutor, For Plaintiff-Appellee.
B. Bruner, Harvey B. Bruner Co., LPA, For
Defendant-appellant, Heather M. Stephens, appeals from her
five-year sentence for Attempted Rape and Gross Sexual
Imposition in the Portage County Court of Common Pleas. The
issue to be determined in this case is whether a trial court
errs when it sentences a defendant to serve a prison term for
Attempted Rape and a maximum prison term for Gross Sexual
Imposition when she has no criminal record, is not a risk for
recidivism, and the court does not state at sentencing that
it considered the required sentencing factors. For the
following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the lower court.
On April 19, 2018, Stephens was indicted by the Portage
County Grand Jury for five counts of Rape, felonies of the
first degree, in violation of R.C. 2907.02(A)(1)(b), and
three counts of Gross Sexual Imposition, felonies of the
third degree, in violation of R.C. 2907.05.
On August 14, 2018, a plea hearing was held at which Stephens
pled guilty to two amended counts of Attempted Rape, pursuant
to R.C. 2923.02 and 2907.02, felonies of the second degree,
and two counts of Gross Sexual Imposition as charged in the
indictment. A Nolle Prosequi was entered by the State on the
remaining counts. The guilty plea was accepted by the trial
court and a Written Plea of Guilty was filed on the same
A sentencing hearing was held on October 22, 2018. Defense
counsel argued that Stephens had no criminal record, was
presently employed as an assistant manager at a gas station,
and had family support as well as letters attesting to her
good character. He argued that a sex offender evaluation was
favorable to her and no factors were present indicating a
high risk for recidivism. The State requested a sentence of
one year in prison. The court noted that this was an
"egregious case" and that Stephens was old enough
to understand what she had done was wrong. Stephens
apologized to her family and the victim and stated that she
accepted responsibility for her actions. The court observed
that the prosecutor would have asked for a more severe
penalty if Stephens were a man. The court stated that
"this type of behavior is not going to be
tolerated" and found she was not amenable to community
control sanctions. The court stated: "I took into
consideration if - - if you didn't have a glowing history
and the psychological report did not come back favorable for
you, * * * you could've been looking at at least eight
years in prison, at least." It sentenced her to four
years in prison for each count of Attempted Rape and five
years for each count of Gross Sexual Imposition, with the
sentences to run concurrently.
The court issued an October 24, 2018 Order and Journal Entry
in which it memorialized its sentence and stated that it had
considered the purpose of felony sentencing and the evidence,
statements, and presentence report.
Stephens timely appeals and raises the following assignments
"[1.] The Trial Court Erred in Sentencing Appellant to a
"[2.] The Trial Court Erred in Sentencing Appellant to a
Maximum Term of Imprisonment on Her Convictions for Gross
In her first assignment of error, Stephens argues that the
record does not support the trial court's decision to
order her to serve ...