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State v. Bland

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Lorain

December 9, 2019

STATE OF OHIO Appellee
v.
NICHOLAS BLAND Appellant

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF LORAIN, OHIO CASE Nos. 17CR095455 17CR095819 17CR095926 17CR096095 17CR096381

          GIOVANNA V. BREMKE, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          DENNIS P. WILL, Prosecuting Attorney, and BRIAN P. MURPHY, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          CALLAHAN, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         {¶1} Appellant, Nicholas Bland, appeals his convictions by the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas. This Court affirms.

         I.

         {¶2} Mr. Bland entered guilty pleas to numerous charges in five separate cases. On the written plea agreements, a notation appears that there were "[n]o sentencing agreements with the State of Ohio." On the third page, however, in response to the question "Have any other promises or representations been made to you?" a handwritten notation read "YES. 9yrs." The trial court judge accepted Mr. Bland's plea, but later acknowledged that he had failed to strictly comply with the constitutional requirements of Crim.R. 11(C)(2)(c) during the plea colloquy. The parties agreed, but disagreed about the appropriate remedy. In the meantime, the State moved the trial court judge to recuse himself from further proceedings, arguing that he had assumed an inappropriate role in the plea negotiations. The trial court judge granted the motion, and the matter was reassigned to another judge of the same court.

         {¶3} The second trial court judge resumed proceedings at the point where the first had left off, and the parties appeared for argument regarding the appropriate remedy for the violation of Crim.R. 11(C)(2)(c). Mr. Bland also filed a motion for specific performance of the plea agreement. The second trial court judge denied Mr. Bland's motion for specific performance, concluded that the previous judge had failed to strictly comply with the requirements of Crim.R. 11(C)(2)(c), and vacated the plea sua sponte. Mr. Bland entered no contest pleas in each of the cases, and the trial court sentenced him to prison terms totaling fifteen years. Mr. Bland filed this appeal.

         II.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR NO. 1

         THE VOLUNTARY JUDICIAL RECUSAL WAS AN ABUSE OF DISCRETION.

         {¶4} In his first assignment of error, Mr. Bland argues that the first trial court judge erred by recusing himself. This Court, however, does not have jurisdiction to review a trial court judge's decision to grant a motion for recusal. State v. Chapman, 9th Dist. Lorain No. 11CA009973, 2012-Ohio-640, ¶ 6, citing State ex rel Hough v. Saffold, 131 Ohio St.3d 54, 2012-Ohio-28, ¶ 2. Even if this Court could consider Mr. Bland's argument that the first trial court judge's decision affected the voluntariness of his later no contest plea, that argument relies on facts that are outside of the record on appeal, and we are unable to review this issue. See State v. Walter, 9th Dist. Wayne Nos. 16AP0009, 16AP0010, 2017-Ohio-236, ¶ 19, citing State v. Zupancic, 9th Dist. Wayne No. 12CA0065, 2013-Ohio-3072, ¶ 4-5.

         {¶5} Mr. Bland's first assignment of error is overruled.

         ASSIGNMENT ...


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