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State v. Smith

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Butler

August 12, 2019

STATE OF OHIO, Appellee,
v.
MICHELLE C. SMITH, Appellant.

          CRIMINAL APPEAL FROM HAMILTON MUNICIPAL COURT Case No. 18CRB03232.

          Neal D. Schuett, City of Hamilton Prosecuting Attorney, for appellee.

          Engel & Martin, LLC, Mary K. Martin, for appellant.

          OPINION

          PIPER, J.

         {¶ 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 plea.

         {¶ 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.

         {¶ 10} ...


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