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State v. Sprachmann

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

December 12, 2019

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
COURTNEY SPRACHMANN, Defendant-Appellant.

          Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-18-633490-A

          Michael C. O'Malley, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney, and Blaise D. Thomas, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for appellee.

          Thomas A Rein, for appellant.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          EILEEN A. GALLAGHER, JUDGE

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant Courtney Sprachmann was charged with two counts of obstructing justice for twice obstructing a homicide investigation. Sprachmann pleaded no contest to violations of R.C. 2921.32(A)(3) and 2921.32(A)(5), both third-degree felonies. The court found her guilty and sentenced Sprachmann to 36 months in prison for each count. It ordered consecutive sentences for a total of 72 months in prison. We affirm Sprachmann's convictions and sentence, but remand the case for a nunc pro tunc entry reflecting that the court waived court costs.

         Factual Background and Procedural History

         {¶ 2} As discussed at the change of plea and sentencing hearings, Sprachmann's obstructing justice counts arose from her efforts to disrupt a homicide investigation. One afternoon in September 2018, Sprachmann invited her boyfriend, Dettrick Walker, to a gathering at the victim's house. Sprachmann knew that Walker and the victim did not get along and that Walker was not welcome at the victim's house.

         {¶ 3} An altercation ensued between the victim and Walker. Walker drew a firearm and shot the victim several times, killing him. Walker fled and Sprachmann remained at the house.

         {¶ 4} Police arrived at the scene and proceeded to investigate the crime. A detective interviewed Sprachmann during which Sprachmann gave a materially false narrative of the events leading to the shooting in an attempt to shield Walker and provide him a potential defense. She told the detective that the shooting occurred in a different room than it did, claimed that she had witnessed it when she had not and represented that the victim was himself armed.

         {¶ 5} Officers asked Sprachmann to let them know if she knew, or learned, of Walker's location. Instead, and substantiating the second obstructing justice count, Sprachmann communicated with Walker and sent him text messages informing him that he was a suspect and that the police were looking for him. She instructed him to turn his phone off and told him to stay away. Approximately two days later, police located Walker at his grandfather's home, in bed with Sprachmann.

         {¶ 6} Before Sprachmann pleaded no contest, the court conducted a Crim.R. 11 colloquy. The court explained the penalty range that Sprachmann faced including the possibility of consecutive sentences. Sprachmann confirmed that she understood and did not have any questions and she proceeded to plead no contest.

         {¶ 7} The state provided the factual basis underlying the two counts. The court confirmed with Sprachmann's counsel that the state's account comported with the discovery provided. The court accepted Sprachmann's no contest pleas and found her guilty of both offenses.

         {¶ 8} Prior to sentencing, Sprachmann filed a "motion to disqualify counsel" on the basis that "counsel has a conflict of interest or is otherwise disqualified from participation in the case." The attached memorandum contained the statement that "I would like to withdraw my plea deal due to ineffective counsel asap." The court held a hearing on the motion and described it as "a motion to disqualify counsel and withdraw a guilty plea." At the hearing, the court gave Sprachmann the opportunity to substantiate her claims. The court denied the motion.

         {¶ 9} At sentencing, the court addressed Sprachmann and discussed the factors it considered in determining the ...


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