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State v. Ali

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Champaign

August 9, 2019

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
SIDIQ NAJIM ALI Defendant-Appellant

          Criminal Appeal from Common Pleas Court Trial Court Case No. 2018-CR-173

          KEVIN TALEBI, Atty. Attorney for Plaintiff-Appellee.

          RENEE D. BUSSE, Atty. Attorney for Defendant-Appellant.


          DONOVAN, J.

         {¶ 1} Sidiq Najim Ali appeals from a judgment entry of conviction, entered following his plea of guilty to one count of domestic violence. Appellate counsel filed a brief pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 87 S.Ct. 1396, 18 L.Ed.2d 493 (1967), asserting that there were no meritorious issues for appeal. We have independently reviewed the record, and we hereby affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         {¶ 2} After Ali's case was bound over from the municipal court, Ali was indicted on September 4, 2018, on one count of domestic violence, in violation of R.C. 2919.25(A)(D)(3), a felony of the fourth degree, and one count of criminal damaging or endangering, in violation of R.C. 2909.06(A)(1)(B), a misdemeanor of the second degree. Ali pled not guilty on September 6, 2018.

         {¶ 3} A plea agreement was reached, and a hearing was held on October 12, 2018. The prosecutor requested that the court accept Ali's guilty plea to an amended Count 1, domestic violence, with the following language deleted from the indictment: "And the offender knew that the victim was pregnant at the time of the offense." The prosecutor indicated that the State agreed to the dismissal of the remaining count. The prosecutor made the following statement with respect to sentencing:

State has agreed to recommend a pre-sentence investigation report. We will agree to review said report. If the Defendant has no further criminal history record than what is already known and disclosed in the Prosecutor's discovery packet or by the Defendant's discovery packet, the State agrees to recommend at sentencing community control. Along with the special conditions including alcohol and drug counseling, anger management counseling, and placement at West Central Community-Based correctional facility.
If the pre-sentence investigation report or other source reveals an additional criminal record either not previously known to the State or not discussed prior to the entrance of the plea; or if the Defendant is charged with an additional criminal offense either while out on bond or from the date of entering the plea to the final date for which the Defendant is sentenced for this offense; or if the Defendant, after entry of the plea is found to have violated a condition of bond, the parties agree that the State is not bound to its recommendations noted above.

         {¶ 4} Ali responded affirmatively when asked if he had "received enough information to make decisions about this case and to enter his plea of guilt knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily. Ali indicated to the court that he believed he was released from probation in July before his August offense. The court advised Ali that the maximum sentence for his offense was 18 months, that the amendment to the indictment removed the mandatory prison provision, and that the Court "then would have to analyze [Ali's] sentence as it would any other felony four domestic violence offense." The court advised Ali that it was free to accept the State's sentencing recommendation but was not required to do so. The court also advised Ali about post-release control. The court ascertained that Ali understood the charge against him and the maximum penalty, and that a plea of guilty was a complete admission of guilt. The court conducted a thorough Crim.R. 11 colloquy with Ali.

         {¶ 5} On October 29, 2018, the trial court sentenced Ali to 18 months in prison. At the start of the hearing, the court noted that Ali was wearing a yellow jumpsuit, "which is indicative of receiving some type of disciplinary sanction at the jail usually." Ali stated that it was due to "an argument," and that another inmate "called me a n***** and he tried to spit at me so I moved out of the way and I slapped him." When asked what discipline he received, Ali responded, "20 days in this jumpsuit and max."

         {¶ 6} When asked to make a statement regarding sentencing, the prosecutor responded as follows:

Consistent with the plea agreement, the State is recommending that the Defendant receive community control with placement at West Central Community-Based Correctional Facility. State makes that recommendation after having consulted with the victim, who is present here in the courtroom. And also having extensive conversation with Defense Counsel.
Had the opportunity to review the pre-sentence investigation report. Would note the Defendant's Ohio Risk Assessment Score was 26, which places him in the high category. And despite both the arguments for community control that were made by both the victim and Defense Counsel, the State noted it was significant that the Defendant indicated that he was open to receive a prison sentence because he believed that would give him the best opportunity for, the State's interpretation for that request, it would give him the best opportunity for programming to address his issues.
His issues, which he primarily identifies as being due to alcohol. He blames all his criminal behavior to his substance abuse problems as it relates to alcohol. He indicates, in his opinion, that he would probably not have changed - - or changed but for the intervention of the Court and the victim actually calling for law enforcement.
He does have a history of prior criminal convictions. Most notably, a prior domestic violence conviction in 2011. Prior menacing in 2016 that was reduced to menacing as a charge of domestic violence. There are other criminal offenses in the Defendant's criminal history. All of which seem to be related to - - many of which are related to violent or turbulent behavior. And many of which that have criminal convictions due to alcohol or substance abuse.
He self-reports alcohol and Ecstasy as being his prior drugs of abuse that he has used. The alcohol abuse seems to be a regular incident. And the facts of this particular case involve the Defendant coming home. He was living with the victim. The victim was pregnant. I believe she was 13 weeks with their child. And they engaged in an argument surrounding the Defendant's alcohol use.
The argument escalated. The Defendant told the victim to leave the residence. And there are reports that he pushed the victim down inside the residence, followed her outside, pushed her again as she was getting into her friend's vehicle where she struck her head. And then once outside the vehicle he punched the window of the car shattering the glass. And the glass cut the victim's mouth.
The victim was taken to the hospital and no significant injuries were reported. She did have a minor injury on her mouth. The victim has indicated that she would like to address the Court at this time, Judge. Before I conclude my comments though, I would indicate it is a difficult case. It's a difficult case because there are a lot of factors which do support a prison sentence. The State felt that community control was appropriate, but only at the residential setting. And only because this Defendant, in the State's opinion, is not going to be able to succeed without significant intervention at the residential setting.
The Defendant has no housing set up. The Defendant seems to have a history of mental health issues and will need some counseling. The Defendant has substance abuse problems that cannot be addressed, in the State's opinion, successfully on an outpatient basis. At least not initially. He will need something more intensive than outpatient community control. And the state views this as this is ...

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