Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common
Pleas No. CR-18-627031-A
Michael C. O'Malley, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting
Attorney, and Brandon A. Piteo, Assistant Prosecuting
Attorney, for appellee.
Stanton, Cuyahoga County Public Defender, and David M. King,
Assistant Public Defender, for appellant
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
RAYMOND C. HEADEN, JUDGE
1} Appellant Cornell Grayer ("Grayer")
appeals from the trial court's judgment, entered after
guilty pleas, sentencing him to five years incarceration.
Grayer contends his pleas were not knowingly, voluntarily, or
intelligently made, in violation of Crim.R. 11. For the
reasons that follow, we affirm.
2} In March 2018, Grayer was named in a six-count
indictment for charges stemming from two robberies that
occurred on February 23, 2018, and March 9, 2018. Grayer
pleaded not guilty to the indictment on March 28, 2018.
3} On July 9, 2018, Grayer withdrew his previously
entered not guilty plea, and he pleaded guilty as follows:
(1) amended Count 1 - robbery, in violation of R.C.
2911.02(A)(2), with forfeiture specifications pursuant to
R.C. 2941.1417, and (2) amended Count 4 - aggravated robbery,
in violation of R.C. 2911.01(A)(1), with a one-year firearm
specification pursuant to RC. 2941.141 and forfeiture
specifications pursuant to R.C. 2941.1417. In exchange for
his guilty pleas, the state agreed to remove the firearm
specifications on Count 1, the three-year firearm
specification on Count 4, and to dismiss Counts 2, 3, 5, and
6. The court accepted Grayer's plea and found him guilty.
The court ordered a presentence investigation report; drug,
alcohol, and mental health assessments; and scheduled a
During the sentencing hearing, the court imposed a five-year
sentence - four years on Count 1, robbery, to be served
concurrently with a four-year sentence on Count 4, aggravated
robbery, in addition to Count 4's one-year firearm
specification to be served prior to and consecutive to the
four-year base sentence under Count 4.
5} Grayer now appeals, raising two assignments of
error for our review:
I. The trial court erred when it did not determine that the
defendant understood the nature of the offenses, the effects
of the plea, and that he was waiving certain constitutionally
guaranteed trial rights by pleading guilty in violation of
the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S.
Constitution and Article I Section 10 of the Ohio
Constitution and Ohio Crim.R. 11.
II. Defendant Cornell Grayer was denied effective assistance
of counsel in violation of the Sixth and Fourteenth
Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Article I, Section 10
of the Ohio Constitution.
6} The purpose of Crim.R. 11(C) is to provide the
defendant with relevant information so that he can make a
voluntary and intelligent decision whether to plead guilty.
State v. Ballard, 66 Ohio St.2d 473, 480, 423 N.E.2d
115 (1981). Before accepting a guilty plea in a felony case,
a court must comply with Crim.R. 11(C) and "conduct an
oral dialogue with the defendant to determine that the plea
is voluntary and the defendant understands the nature of the
charges and the maximum penalty involved, and to personally
inform the defendant of the constitutional guarantees he is
waiving by entering a guilty plea." State v.
Martin, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga Nos. 92600 and 92601,
2010-Ohio-244, ¶ 5.
7} A trial court must strictly comply with the
Crim.R. 11(C)(2)(c) requirements that relate to the waiver of
constitutional rights. State v. Veney, 120 Ohio
St.3d 176, 2008-Ohio-5200, 897 N.E.2d 621, ¶ 18. With
respect to the nonconstitutional requirements of Crim.R. 11,
set forth in Crim.R. 11(C)(2)(a) and (b), reviewing courts
consider whether there was substantial compliance with the
rule. State v. Hill, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 106542,
2018-Ohio-4327, ¶ 8. "'Substantial compliance
means that under the totality of the circumstances the
defendant subjectively understands the implications of his
plea and the rights he is waiving.'" Id.,
quoting State v. Nero, 56 Ohio St.3d 106, 108, 564
N.E.2d 474 (1990); State v. Stewart, 51 Ohio St.2d
86, 364 N.E.2d 1163 (1977). Additionally, before a plea will
be vacated due to a violation of the defendant's
nonconstitutional rights, the defendant must show prejudice.
Martin at ¶ 7. "The test for prejudice is
whether the plea would have otherwise been made."
Id., citing Nero at 108.
8} "The standard for reviewing whether the
trial court accepted a plea in compliance with Crim.R. 11(C)
is a de novo standard of review." State v.
Cardwell, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 92796, 2009-Ohio-6827,
¶ 26, citing Stewart. "'It requires an
appellate court to review the totality of the circumstances
and determine whether the plea hearing was in compliance with
Crim.R. 11(C).'" State v. Hudson-Bey, 8th
Dist. Cuyahoga No. 104245, 2016-Ohio-7722, ¶ 7, quoting
Cardwell at ¶ 26, citing Stewart.
9} In his first assignment of error, Grayer contends
his pleas were not made knowingly, voluntarily, and
intelligently because prior to accepting his pleas, (1) the
trial court did not ask Grayer whether he understood the
constitutional rights he was being asked to waive, (2) the
trial court did not ask whether Grayer waived each individual
constitutional right, but enumerated all of the applicable
constitutional protections and then asked whether the