Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Butler
CRIMINAL APPEAL FROM HAMILTON MUNICIPAL COURT Case No.
D. Schuett, City of Hamilton Prosecuting Attorney, for
& Martin, LLC, Mary K. Martin, for appellant.
1} Appellant, Michelle Smith, appeals a decision of
the Hamilton Municipal Court finding her in contempt.
2} Smith used her cell phone to record proceedings
in the Hamilton Municipal Court, which is a violation of the
court's local rules. The court found Smith in contempt
after she pled no contest, and ordered her to serve four days
in jail. The court also imposed a fine and two years of
nonreporting community control. Smith now appeals the
municipal court's decision, raising the following
assignments of error.
3} Assignment of Error No. 1:
4} APPELLANT'S DUE PROCESS RIGHTS WERE VIOLATED
AND THUS HER PLEA WAS UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
5} Smith argues in her first assignment of error
that her plea was invalid.
6} According to Crim.R. 11(E), "in misdemeanor
cases involving petty offenses the court may refuse to accept
a plea of guilty or no contest, and shall not accept such
plea without first informing the defendant of the effect of
the pleas of guilty, no contest, and not guilty."
7} Before Smith pled no contest, the municipal court
explained the effect of her plea. "Ms. Smith, if you
plead No Contest that means you're admitting the facts
that is [sic] set forth in the complaint. A lot of times when
people plead No Contest[, ] you know, they are found to be
Guilty. Do you understand that?" The court then went
forward to address the facts and that Smith used her cell
phone during court proceedings, which was a violation of
Loc.R. 23. The court then continued, "One video on the
phone. If you plead No Contest you would be admitting those
facts. Did you understand that?" Smith answered that she
did understand and did not object to the facts as read or to
the municipal court's explanation of the effect of her
8} The municipal court went on to explain the
sentence it would impose, including four days in jail, a
fine, and two years of nonreporting community control. Smith
indicated that she understood the punishment she would
receive upon her plea. Smith further confirmed that she
wished to move forward with her plea after the court asked if
she wanted to "go ahead today" with the plea.
9} The record indicates that the municipal court
complied fully with Crim.R. 11(E) by explaining the effect of
Smith's no contest plea. As such, Smith's first
assignment of error is overruled.