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State v. Lechuga

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Third District, Paulding

August 26, 2019

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
RUDOLFO LECHUGA, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

          Appeal from Paulding County Common Pleas Court Trial Court No. CR-97-515

         Judgment Reversed and Cause Remanded

          Timothy C. Holtsberry for Appellant

          Joseph R. Burkard for Appellee

          OPINION

          SHAW, J.

         {¶1} 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.

         Procedural History

         {¶2} 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.

         {¶3} 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.

         {¶4} 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 Walsh Act.
Upon due consideration and for good cause shown, the Court ORDERS that Defendant's Motion for ...

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