Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common
Pleas Case No. CR-18-631763-A
Michael C. O'Malley, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting
Attorney, and Marcus A. Henry, Assistant Prosecuting
Attorney, for appellee.
L. Foster, for appellant.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
MICHELLE J. SHEEHAN, J.
1} Defendant-appellant James Abercrombie III
("Abercrombie") appeals from the trial court's
judgment denying his motion to withdraw his guilty plea. Upon
a review of the record, we find the trial court did not abuse
its discretion in denying Abercrombie's motion and we
therefore affirm the judgment.
History and Substantive Facts
2} On September 10, 2018, Abercrombie was charged in
a multiple-count indictment including charges of gross sexual
imposition, sexual battery, rape, kidnapping, and endangering
children. Several counts included sexually violent predator
specifications. The indictment stems from numerous incidents
involving the two young daughters of Abercrombie's
3} On January 9, 2019, Abercrombie entered a guilty
plea to an amended indictment. He pleaded guilty to Counts 1,
4, 6, and 8, gross sexual imposition in violation of R.C.
2907.05(A)(4); Count 11, rape in violation of R.C.
2907.02(A)(2); and Counts 17 and 18, endangering children in
violation of R.C. 2919.22(B)(1). In exchange for his plea,
all sexually violent predator specifications were removed and
the state dismissed the remaining charges.
4} On January 14, 2019, the court held a sentencing
hearing, during which both victims spoke about the abuse they
suffered at the hands of Abercrombie, a father-figure, over a
span of four years. The abuse began when one victim was 9
years old and the other victim was 13 years old.
5} After also hearing from defense counsel, the
court asked Abercrombie if he wished to speak, and the
following discourse transpired:
Abercrombie: From day one, your Honor, I want * * * I was
told to waive my rights, and I should never have waived my
Court: Well, I went through that with you at the time of the
change of plea.
Abercrombie: You never explained it to me. You never
explained it. I know you explained it, but I didn't know
what was going on. I am not a lawyer, so I didn't know
the real rights.
Court: Okay. Right. I went through them with you on actually
more than one occasion on the record. Would you like to say
anything with respect to sentencing other than ...