Court of Appeals of Ohio, Third District, Paulding
from Paulding County Common Pleas Court Trial Court No.
Reversed and Cause Remanded
Timothy C. Holtsberry for Appellant
R. Burkard for Appellee
Defendant-Appellant, Rudolfo Lechuga ("Lechuga")
appeals the April 2, 2019 judgment of the Paulding County
Court of Common Pleas overruling his Motion for
Reclassification to change his sex offender classification
under the Adam Wash Act ("AWA"). On appeal, Lechuga
claims he was never given notice of his sex offender
reclassification from "Megan's Law" to the AWA,
and therefore could not properly challenge the
reclassification by requesting a hearing under R.C.
2950.031(E) within 60 days.
On July 24, 1997, Lechuga was found guilty of committing one
count of Gross Sexual Imposition, in violation of R.C.
2907.05(A)(1), a felony of the fourth degree. Lechuga was
classified as a sexual predator and ordered to comply with
the sex offender registration requirements under Megan's
Law. Lechuga was also sentenced to a non-mandatory term of
seventeen months in prison.
On January 28, 2019, Lechuga filed a "Motion for
Reclassification" under R.C. 2950.031(E) claiming that
he had been improperly reclassified as a Tier III sex
offender under the AWA. Lechuga requested a hearing on his
motion. The State filed a response opposing the motion.
On April 2, 2019, the trial court issued a judgment entry
overruling the motion. Specifically, the trial court stated
the following in its judgment entry:
Upon review of the Motion and Response and the court file,
the Court finds that the Defendant was convicted of Gross
Sexual Imposition, in violation of R.C. 2907.05(A)(1), a
felony of the fourth degree, on or about July 23, 1997. At
that time, the court classified him as a sexual predator.
Following the passage of the Adam Walsh Act and presumably in
accordance with R.C. 2950.031, he was classified as a Tier
III sex offender.
The Defendant is classified as a Tier III offender based upon
his prior designation as a sexual predator. The court notes,
however, that if this Defendant were convicted of the same
offense when the Adam Walsh Act was in place, it appears that
he may have been classified as a Tier I offender due to his
conviction under R.C. 2907.05(A)(1). R.C. 2950.031(E)
provides that a reclassified offender may request a hearing
with the Court to challenge his or her reclassification by
filing a petition with the court within sixty (60) days after
receiving the registered letter from the attorney general.
There is no evidence in the present case that the Defendant
requested such a hearing.
Upon due consideration and for good cause shown, this Court
sees no provision in the statute, beyond the (60) day window
referenced above, that would allow the court to reclassify
this Defendant following an initial classification by the
Court and a reclassification after the passage of the Adam
Upon due consideration and for good cause shown, the Court
ORDERS that Defendant's Motion for ...