United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division, Dayton
JOHNNY C. BAKER, Petitioner,
EMMA COLLINS, Warden, Pickaway Correctional Institution, Respondent.
H. Rice District Judge.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Michael R. Merz United States Magistrate Judge.
habeas corpus case under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, filed by
Petitioner Johnny C. Baker with the assistance of counsel, is
before the Court for decision on the Petition (ECF No. 1),
the State Court Record (ECF No. 5), and the Return of Writ
(ECF No. 6). Petitioner has not filed a reply and the
deadline for doing so has expired.
was indicted by the Montgomery County grand jury on one count
of felonious assault for the infliction of serious harm, one
count of domestic violence, and one count of kidnapping; the
first count had a firearm specification. After plea
negotiations, he agreed to plead guilty to the kidnapping
charge in return for dismissal of the other counts and an
agreed sentence of three years. At the plea colloquy, the
trial judge indicated he was willing to impose the agreed
sentence, provided that his prior record was as had been
represented, that he cooperate in the presentence
investigation, that he appear when required, and that he
commit no new offenses prior to sentencing. State v.
Baker, 2018-Ohio-3925 ¶ 3, citing Plea Tr. at
13(2nd Dist. Sep. 28, 2018), appellate
jurisdiction declined, 2019-Ohio-345 (2019).
he had agreed to a three-year sentence, at the time initially
set for sentencing Baker claimed he believed he was going to
receive three years of community control and was not sure
whether he wanted to withdraw his guilty plea in light of his
misunderstanding. Id. at ¶ 5. Judge Blaine
allowed him a one-week continuance to decide what he wanted
to do. Upon reconvening, Baker said he did not want to
withdraw his plea, but also did not want to be bound to the
three years, but wanted to be able to argue for community
control. Id. at ¶ 6. After hearing options of
proceeding with the three-year agreed sentence, withdrawing
the guilty plea, or arguing for a sentence within the range
allowed by statute of probation up to eleven years
imprisonment, he elected the third option, against the advice
of counsel. Id.
itself released from its agreement, the State argued for the
maximum eleven-year term. Having considered the seriousness
of the injuries inflicted and Baker's substantial prior
criminal history, Judge Blaine imposed a five-year term of
imprisonment. Id. at ¶ 7. Baker appealed, but
the Second District Court of Appeals affirmed in a divided
opinion. As noted above, the Supreme Court of Ohio declined
to exercise appellate review. Baker then timely filed his
Petition in this Court.
he labels it as a single constitutional claim, Petitioner
pleads two grounds for relief:
A trial court judge becomes impermissibly involved in plea
negotiations when that involvement impacts the voluntariness
of a defendant's plea and such judicial involvement
renders a guilty plea involuntary under United States v.
Davila, 596 U.S. 597, 133 S.Ct. 2139, 186 L.Ed.2d 139 (2013)
and violated the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and
Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
When a trial court binds itself to an agreed sentence in a
plea negotiation, fundamental fairness does not allow a judge
to impose a greater sentence than was agreed to without a
material change in the facts, in violation of the Fifth,
Eight [sic], and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States
(Petition, ECF No. 1, PageID 2).
One: Impermissible Trial Judge Involvement in Plea
First Ground for Relief, Barker argues that Judge Blaine
improperly became involved in plea negotiations, rendering
the guilty plea void because it was not knowing, intelligent,
and voluntary (Petition, ECF No. 1, PageID 7-9). He relies on
United States v. Davila, 569 U.S. 597(2013), ...