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State v. North

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Butler

August 12, 2019

STATE OF OHIO, Appellee,
v.
JOSEPH B. NORTH, JR., Appellant.

          CRIMINAL APPEAL FROM BUTLER COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS Case No. CR2017-12-2072.

          Michael T. Gmoser, Butler County Prosecuting Attorney, Michael Greer, for appellee.

          Scott N. Blauvelt, for appellant.

          OPINION

          RINGLAND, P.J.

         {¶ 1} Appellant, Joseph North, appeals the sentence imposed by the Butler County Court of Common Pleas. For the reasons detailed below, we affirm.

         {¶ 2} On August 16, 2018, North pled guilty to one count of receiving stolen property in violation of R.C. 2913.51(A), a fourth-degree felony, one count of tampering with evidence in violation of R.C. 2921.12(A)(1), a third-degree felony, and one count of receiving stolen property in violation of R.C. 2913.51(A), a fifth-degree felony.

         {¶ 3} The trial court sentenced North to an 18-month prison term for the fourth-degree stolen property offense and a 24-month prison term for the third-degree tampering offense. The trial court ordered those terms to be served consecutively. The remaining count was ordered concurrent and therefore the trial court sentenced North to an aggregate prison term of 42 months. North now appeals, raising a single assignment of error for review:

         {¶ 4} THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN IMPOSING A PRISON TERM WHERE THE FINDING THAT THE VICTIMS SUFFERED PSYCHOLOGICAL HARM AS A RESULT OF APPELLANT'S OFFENSES WAS UNSUPPORTED BY THE RECORD.

         {¶ 5} In his sole assignment of error, North alleges the trial court erred in its sentencing decision by finding the victims suffered psychological harm. North's argument is without merit.

         {¶ 6} This court reviews felony sentences pursuant to the standard of review set forth in R.C. 2953.08(G)(2) to determine whether the imposition of those sentences is clearly and convincingly contrary to law. State v. Julious, 12th Dist. Butler No. CA2015-12-224, 2016-Ohio-4822, ¶ 8. Pursuant to that statute, an appellate court may modify or vacate a sentence only if, by clear and convincing evidence, '"the record does not support the trial court's findings under relevant statutes or that the sentence is otherwise contrary to law.'" State v. Harp, 12th Dist. Clermont No. CA2015-12-096, 2016-Ohio-4921, ¶ 7, quoting State v. Marcum, 146 Ohio St.3d 516, 2016-Ohio-1002, ¶ 1.

         {¶ 7} A sentence is not clearly and convincingly contrary to law where the trial court considers the purposes and principles of sentencing as set forth in R.C. 2929.11, as well as the seriousness and recidivism factors listed in R.C. 2929.12, and sentences a defendant within the permissible statutory range. State v. Brandenburg, 12th Dist. Butler Nos. CA2014-10-201 and CA2014-10-202, 2016-Ohio-4918, ¶ 9. The factors set forth in R.C. 2929.12 are nonexclusive, and R. C. 2929.12 explicitly permits a trial court to consider any relevant factors in imposing a sentence. State v. Stamper, 12th Dist. Butler No. CA2012-08-166, 2013-Ohio-5669, ¶ 11. According to R.C. 2929.12(B)(2), conduct may be considered more serious when "[t]he victim of the offense suffered serious physical, psychological, or economic harm as a result of the offense." State v. Rich, 12th Dist. Butler No. CA2014-01-002, 2014-Ohio-4623, ¶ 18.

         {¶ 8} Pursuant to R.C. 2929.14(C)(4), a trial court must engage in a three-step analysis and make certain findings before imposing consecutive sentences. State v. Dillon, 12th Dist. Madison No. CA2012-06-012, 2013-Ohio-335, ¶ 9. First, the trial court must find that the consecutive sentence is necessary to protect the public from future crime or to punish the offender. Id. Second, the trial court must find that consecutive sentences are not disproportionate to the seriousness of the offender's conduct and to the danger the offender poses to the public. Id. Third, the trial court must find that one of the following applies:

(a) The offender committed one or more of the multiple offenses while the offender was awaiting trial or sentencing, was under a sanction imposed pursuant to section 2929.16, 2929.17, or 2929.18 of the Revised Code, or was under post-release control for a prior offense.
(b) At least two of the multiple offenses were committed as part of one or more courses of conduct, and the harm caused by two or more of the multiple offenses so committed was so great or unusual that no single prison term for any of the offenses committed as part of any of the courses of conduct ...

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