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In re P.R.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton

November 20, 2019


          Appeals From: Hamilton County Juvenile Court Trial Nos. 08-9871x 08-9874x

         Judgments Appealed From Are: Affirmed

          Joseph T. Deters, Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney, and Alex Scott Havlin, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee State of Ohio,

          McKinney & Namei Co., LPA, and David L. Dawson, for Appellant P.R.


          Zayas, Presiding Judge.

         {¶1} P.R. appeals from the juvenile court's denial of his motions to withdraw his admissions and vacate his adjudications and his petition for declassification. P.R. contends that his admissions to conduct that would have constituted rape and gross sexual imposition, if committed by an adult, should have been set aside because the juvenile court did not advise him that his admissions could have immigration consequences as required by R.C. 2943.031. He further argues that the juvenile court erred in denying his request to be reclassified as a Tier I juvenile offender registrant. Finding his assignments of error without merit, we affirm the juvenile court's judgments.

         {¶2} In 2008, when P.R. was 14 years old, he admitted that he engaged in sexual conduct and sexual contact with a seven-year-old girl. P.R. was given suspended commitments, placed on probation, ordered to attend the residential program at Hillcrest, and classified a Tier III sex offender. At the end-of-disposition hearing, the juvenile court reclassified him a Tier II sexual offender.

         The Hearing on the Motions

         {¶3} In 2016, P.R. filed motions to withdraw his admissions pursuant to Crim.R. 32.1 and R.C. 2943.031 alleging that P.R. was not given the immigration warnings as mandated by R.C. 2943.031 before entering his admissions. Initially, P.R. argued that his adjudications for aggravated felonies rendered P.R. deportable. At the hearing, P.R.'s counsel explained that P.R. had not been placed in deportation proceedings, but, the adjudication could affect P.R.'s eligibility for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ("DACA"). He further explained that juvenile adjudications are frequently considered in evaluating an individual's good moral character for DACA eligibility.

         {¶4} The state argued that R.C. 2943.031 does not apply to juvenile adjudications, and that if the legislature had intended to apply the statute to juveniles, it would have included the term "adjudicated." The state further argued that the withdrawal of the admissions would prejudice the state because the juvenile court would no longer have jurisdiction over P.R. because he is 25, the DACA pathway occurred long after P.R.'s adjudication, and the seven-year delay was problematic and prejudicial to the state.

         {¶5} The juvenile court found that R.C. 2943.031, the advisement it requires, and the remedy for a failure to provide the advisement do not apply to juvenile adjudications because the statute refers to guilty pleas and convictions and does not include admissions or adjudications. Further, Crim.R. 32.1, which allows for the withdrawal of a plea in a criminal case, does not apply to juvenile proceedings.

         {¶6} Instead, the juvenile court reviewed the record to determine whether the magistrate complied with Juv.R. 29(D) when accepting P.R.'s admissions. The court concluded that the magistrate properly advised P.R. of the nature of the allegations and consequences of the admissions.

         {¶7} Finally, the juvenile court found that the decision to continue P.R.'s classification as a Tier II offender was supported by sufficient evidence. The court reviewed all relevant factors, including the nature of the offenses, the age of the victim, subsequent treatment, the risk assessment, and P.R.'s criminal history and determined that P.R. did not present sufficient evidence to support a declassification.

         {¶8} On appeal, P.R. raises two assignments of error. In his first assignment of error, P.R. argues that the court erred by denying his motion to withdraw his admissions because P.R. was not advised of any potential immigration consequences pursuant to R.C. 2943.031, the juvenile court should have allowed him to withdraw the admissions because he was not advised of the potential immigration consequences of the admissions, and his motion to vacate should be remanded to consider whether P.R.'s trial counsel was ineffective for ...

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