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State v. Hudson

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

December 12, 2019

State of Ohio, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Michael A. Hudson, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas (C.P.C. No. 17CR-5869)

         On brief:

          Ron O'Brien, Prosecuting Attorney, and Barbara A. Farnbacher, for appellee.

         On brief:

          Brian J. Rigg, for appellant.

          DECISION

          KLATT, P.J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Michael A. Hudson, appeals from a judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas convicting him, following entry of a guilty plea, to one count of obstructing official business. Before this court is a counseled brief filed pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967). For the reasons outlined below, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         {¶ 2} On October 27, 2017, a Franklin County Grand Jury indicted appellant on two counts of assault in violation of R.C. 2903.13, both felonies of the fourth degree, and one count of obstructing official business in violation of R.C. 2921.31, a felony of the fifth degree. The charges arose out of an October 18, 2017 incident involving an altercation between appellant and two Columbus police officers.

         {¶ 3} During the course of the criminal proceedings, the issue of appellant's competency arose. As a result, the trial court ordered appellant to submit to a psychiatric evaluation at Netcare Forensic Psychiatry Center. Following that evaluation, the trial court held an evidentiary hearing on September 12, 2018 to determine appellant's competency. The parties stipulated to the results of the competency evaluation, which found appellant competent to stand trial. Based upon that stipulation and its own observations of appellant's demeanor during the criminal proceedings, the trial court found appellant competent to stand trial.

         {¶ 4} On the same day, appellant entered a plea of guilty to one count of obstructing official business as charged in the indictment in exchange for a nolle prosequi on the assault charges. According to the prosecution's recitation of facts at the plea hearing, on October 18, 2017, Officers Derdzinski and Nowalk were dispatched to transport a vehicle from the scene of a reported assault on Marion Road. During the investigation, appellant was handcuffed and placed in the rear of a police cruiser. In an effort to mollify appellant's complaints of pain in his back and shoulders, the officers put two sets of handcuffs on him so the handcuffs would not be so tight. During this process, appellant managed to slip the handcuffs to the front of his body. The officers then opened the rear door of the cruiser, and a struggle ensued. When appellant bit the arm of one of the officers, the other officer removed appellant from the cruiser and attempted to gain control of him by placing him on the ground. Appellant and that officer engaged in a scuffle which resulted in the officer being struck in the left leg. The officers eventually gained control of appellant and transported him to jail.

         {¶ 5} Following the recitation of facts and a Crim.R. 11 colloquy, the trial court found appellant guilty of one count of obstructing official business, ordered a presentence investigation ("PSI"), and set a sentencing date. At the November 1, 2018 sentencing hearing, the parties and the trial court discussed much of the information contained in the PSI report, including the fact that appellant was currently awaiting trial in the Franklin County Municipal Court on charges of assault and aggravated menacing stemming from an alleged domestic violence incident that immediately preceded, and was the apparent impetus for, the incident involving the officers in the instant case. The court and the parties also discussed appellant's interview with the PSI writer, during which appellant expressed hostility toward police officers, stating, among other things, that "I understand why people shoot cops in the face at stop signs now." (Nov. 1, 2018 Sentencing Tr. at 10; PSI report at 14.) The court expressed apprehension about this comment, particularly noting concerns about police safety and the negative impression such a comment might have on appellant's ten-year old child. The court also noted that appellant was currently attending weekly mental health treatment sessions. In this regard, the PSI report indicated that appellant admitted that he had been diagnosed with "extreme depression and anxiety." (PSI report at 11.) Although not discussed extensively at the sentencing hearing, the PSI report also indicated that appellant was incarcerated at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction from May 1997 to August 2006 following convictions for felonious assault, breaking and entering, and vandalism, all felonies. During the course of the sentencing hearing, counsel for appellant advocated for the imposition of community control sanctions rather than prison time. In contrast, the prosecution requested that the trial court impose a term of imprisonment.

         {¶ 6} At the conclusion of the sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed a four-year period of community control under direct placement and intensive supervision on the mental health caseload, provided appellant had no new convictions. The court also ordered that appellant abide by the rules and regulations of the probation department, stay linked with mental health treatment and follow any recommended treatment, and possess no firearms. The trial court memorialized its judgment in an entry filed November 2, 2018.

         {¶ 7} Through his appointed appellate counsel, appellant filed a timely appeal to this court. Counsel advised this court that he had reviewed the record and could not find a meritorious claim for appeal. As a result, counsel filed a brief pursuant to Anders and, by a notice filed on April 19, 2019, certified that a copy of the appellate brief was mailed to appellant. In a journal entry filed April 29, 2019, this court notified appellant of his right to file a supplemental brief and granted counsel's January 22, 2019 motion to withdraw as counsel. Appellant did not file a supplemental brief. Accordingly, the matter is before this court upon the Anders brief filed by appellant's former appellate counsel and the response brief filed by plaintiff-appellee, State of Ohio.

         {¶ 8} In Anders, the United States Supreme Court held that if, after a conscientious examination of the record, appellate counsel concludes that a defendant's case is wholly frivolous, counsel should so advise the court and request permission to withdraw. Id. at 744. Counsel must accompany the request to withdraw with a brief outlining anything in the record that arguably could support the defendant's appeal. Id. Counsel must also: (1) furnish the defendant with a ...


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