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State v. Williams

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Third District, Seneca

December 23, 2019

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JOSHUA D. WILLIAMS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT. STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JOSHUA D. WILLIAMS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT. STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JOSHUA D. WILLIAMS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

          Appeals from Seneca County Common Pleas Court Trial Court Nos. 18-CR-0021, 17-CR-0033 and 18-CR-0178

          Sarah R. Anjum for Appellant

          Derek W. DeVine Appellee

          OPINION

          WILLAMOWSKI, J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant Joshua D. Williams ("Williams") brings this consolidated appeal from judgments of the Court of Common Pleas of Seneca County convicting him of multiple counts of trafficking in cocaine and one count of possessing criminal tools. On appeal, Williams claims that the trial court erred by 1) denying his motion for a continuance and 2) sentencing him to consecutive sentences. For the reasons set forth below, the judgments are affirmed.

         Procedural Background

         Trial Case No. 17 CR 0033

         {¶2} On February 22, 2017, the Seneca County Grand Jury indicted Williams on one count of trafficking in cocaine in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(1), (C)(4)(a), a felony of the fifth degree. ADoc.[1] 1. This charge stemmed from an incident that allegedly occurred on March 24, 2016. Id. Williams initially entered pleas of not guilty to the indictment. ADoc. 9. The matter was originally scheduled for a jury trial on September 28-29, 2017. ADoc. 13. The trial was sua sponte rescheduled to begin on January 25, 2018. ADoc. 16 and 18. On January 19, 2018, Williams filed a motion for a continuance of the trial as new charges were pending for Williams. ADoc. 23. The trial court granted the motion and set the January 25, 2018, date for a change of plea hearing. ADoc. 24. At the change of plea hearing, Williams again asked for a continuance, which was granted and the hearing was rescheduled for February 2, 2018. ADoc. 25. At that hearing, the trial court was informed that no agreement had been reached and the matter was set for trial on February 12, 2018. ADoc. 26. On February 12, 2018, Williams changed his plea from not guilty to guilty. ADoc. 29. As part of the plea agreement, the parties entered a joint sentencing recommendation for three years of community control, which would include 90 days in jail. Id. The trial court accepted the plea of guilty and immediately sentenced Williams to the jointly recommended sentence. ADoc. 30. Additionally, the trial court ordered that a violation of the community control would result in "a prison term of twelve (12) months to be served consecutively to twenty- four (24) months reserved for a violation of community control in Seneca County Case No. 18 CR 0021." Id.

         {¶3} On April 27, 2018, the State filed a motion to suspend supervision of Williams because he had absconded from supervision. ADoc. 34. Williams was apprehended on June 27, 2018, and his supervision was reinstated. ADoc. 39. Once Williams was apprehended, the State served him notification of alleged community control violations. ADoc. 37. On August 3, 2018, Williams filed for a continuance of the revocation hearing because further charges were pending. ADoc. 45. This motion was granted by the trial court. ADoc. 47.

         {¶4} On August 16, 2018, the State filed a second notification of community control violations alleging that Williams had violated the terms of his community control by selling cocaine to a confidential informant in four separate transactions and by possessing cocaine. ADoc. 49. The original alleged violations were dismissed by the State on August 15, 2018. ADoc. 51. A full revocation hearing on the August notification of violation was set for November 2, 2018. ADoc. 55. On November 2, 2018, Williams filed a motion for a continuance claiming that there were technical issues with the discovery discs. ADoc. 56. The trial court granted this motion and set the revocation hearing for November 28, 2018. ADoc. 57. On November 26, 2018, Williams again filed for a continuance to allow for additional time to review discovery. ADoc. 58. The trial court again granted the motion. ADoc. 59. On March 20, 2019, Williams again requested a continuance due to health issues of counsel and the trial court granted the motion. ADoc. 63-64.

         {¶5} On March 28, 2019, counsel for Williams filed a motion to withdraw. ADoc. 66. The motion stated that the attorney client relationship had broken down and that counsel may be called as a witness as to the probation violation. Id. The trial court granted the motion on March 29, 2019. ADoc. 67. No further continuances appear on the record in this case.

         {¶6} The revocation hearing was held on June 14, 2019, and Williams was represented by counsel. ADoc. 72. At the hearing, Williams admitted that he violated the terms of his community control. Id. The trial court ordered Williams to serve 12 months in prison for the community control violation and ordered it to be served consecutive to the sentences in case numbers 18 CR 0021 and 18 CR 0178. Id. Williams filed a timely notice of appeal from this judgment. ADoc. 74. On appeal, it was assigned appellate case number 13-19-24.

         Trial Case No. 18 CR 0021

         {¶7} On February 12, 2018, Williams waived indictment and agreed to be charged by bill on information on two counts of trafficking in cocaine in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(1), (C)(4)(a), a felony of the fifth degree. BDoc. 2. These charges stemmed from alleged sales on November 9, 2016 and on June 19, 2017. Id. Williams entered a plea of guilty to the charges. BDoc. 4. The parties made a jointly recommended sentencing recommendation of three years on community control with 90 days of that to be served in jail. Id. The agreed sentence included the following.

Defendant to serve a stated prison term of twelve (12) months as to Count One and twelve (12) months as to Count Two to be served consecutively for a total of twenty-four (24) months for a violation of community control to be served consecutively to twelves (12) months reserved ...

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