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State v. Lantz

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Sixth District, Fulton

August 16, 2019

State of Ohio Appellee
v.
David A. Lantz Appellant

          Trial Court No. 18CR87

          Scott A. Haselman, Fulton County Prosecuting Attorney, for appellee.

          Sarah R. Anjum, for appellant.

          DECISION AND JUDGMENT

          MAYLE, P.J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, David A. Lantz, appeals the October 16, 2018 judgment of the Fulton County Court of Common Pleas, solely with respect to the court's imposition of certain costs. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

         I. Background

         {¶ 2} David Lantz entered a plea of guilty and was convicted of five counts of pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor, along with specifications for two previous convictions, and one count of pandering obscenity involving a minor. At his October 12, 2018 sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed a total prison term of 12 years, 5 years' postrelease control, and "the costs of this action," and it classified Lantz a Tier II sex offender. Lantz's sentence was memorialized in a judgment entry journalized on October 16, 2018. With respect to costs, the sentencing entry indicated that Lantz was to pay "all prosecution costs, and any fees permitted pursuant to O.R.C. § 2929.18(A)(4)."

         {¶ 3} Lantz appealed, and assigns the following error for our review:

1. The trial court erred when it ordered the imposition of new costs and fees in its Sentencing Judgment Entry outside of Appellant's presence and never determined Appellant's present and future ability to pay such costs and fees as required by R.C. 2929.19(B)(5).
A. The trial court erred when it failed to notify Appellant on the record and in open court that it imposed costs of prosecution, and costs pursuant to 2929.18(A)(4)[.]
B. The trial court erred when it imposed the costs of the action because the trial court never made a finding on the record that Appellant has the present or future ability to pay these fees and costs.

         II. Law and Analysis

         {¶ 4} At Lantz's sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered him "to pay the costs of this action." In its sentencing entry, however, the trial court ordered Lantz "to pay all prosecution costs, and any fees permitted pursuant to O.R.C. § 2929.18(A)(4)." Lantz argues that because the trial court failed to specify at the hearing which costs it was imposing-"court costs, appointed counsel fees, costs of prosecution, etc."-the imposition of costs was ambiguous. He also claims that the court failed to specify which fees or costs it deemed permitted under R.C. 2929.18(A)(4). He insists that any costs and fees referenced in the sentencing entry were, therefore, imposed outside his presence in violation of Crim.R. 43(A). He also argues that the trial court failed to find that he has the present or future ability to pay costs. He asks that we "vacate the trial court's imposition of court appointed counsel fees, supervision costs, confinement costs, [and] costs and fees pursuant to R.C. 2929.18

         {¶ 5} The state argues that "prosecution costs" are synonymous with and encompass "all court costs and those costs and fees authorized by the terms of R.C. 2929.18(A)(4)." It maintains that the imposition of these costs is mandatory and not conditioned upon a finding that the defendant is, or will be, able to pay. It contends that the information contained in Lantz's PSI-which the court read and considered-provided it with information evidencing Lantz's ability to pay. And it responds that "there is simply nothing in the trial court's statement at the sentencing hearing * * * or in the Judgment Entry ...


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