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State v. Lindsay

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

January 16, 2020

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
AARON LINDSAY, JR., Defendant-Appellant.

          Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case Nos. CR-17-622296-C, CR-17-622961-C, CR-18-624793-A, CR-18-625947-A, CR-18-627504-A, CR-18-627844-B, CR-18-630756-B, and CR-18-632566-A

         JUDGMENT: AFFIRMED

          Michael C. O'Malley, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney, and David Elias, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for appellee.

          Mark A. Stanton, Cuyahoga County Public Defender, and Robert McCaleb and Jeffrey Gamso, Assistant Public Defenders, for appellant.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          MARY J. BOYLE, P.J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Aaron Lindsay, Jr., ("Lindsay"), appeals the sentences that he received in eight cases. He raises one assignment of error for our review:

The sentences imposed were contrary to law and violated due process because the trial court's failure to articulate its reasons is an abuse of discretion which makes impossible any meaningful review and leads to the appearance of arbitrariness.

         {¶ 2} Finding no merit to his arguments, we affirm.

         I. Procedural History and Factual Background

         {¶ 3} Between October 30, 2017 and September 17, 2018, Lindsay was indicted on 26 counts in eight cases.[1] Lindsay initially pleaded not guilty to the charges in each case.

         {¶ 4} In January 2019, however, the parties appeared in court for a change-of-plea hearing. The state explained at the outset of the hearing that the plea offer included "an agreed recommendation of all case numbers[, ] incarceration time being between 10 and 16 years at the court's discretion." The state then reviewed the plea offer on the record.

         {¶ 5} The trial court stated, "I believe that as part of this plea agreement, the defendant agrees that these are mandatory sentences, and that there will be no opportunity for judicial release as well as agreeing to no contact with any of the victims in these cases." Also as part of the plea agreement, Lindsay agreed to pay $251 to one of the victims. Defense counsel and the state agreed with the court that its statement was accurate.

         {¶6} The trial court informed Lindsay that it was accepting the recommended sentencing range, stating, "So, your sentence will be between 10 and 16 years, okay? So you have my assurance that I'm not going to go over that 16 years. Okay?" Lindsay responded "yes" to the court's questions.

         {¶ 7} The court stated that Lindsay was 21 years old. The court addressed Lindsay and engaged in the required plea colloquy with him. Lindsay told the court that he graduated from high school, was not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol, was not on probation or postrelease control, and no one threatened him or forced him to enter into the plea

         {¶ 8} At that point, the trial court told Lindsay again that it would impose a sentence that was between 10 and 16 years in prison and asked Lindsay, "Has anyone told you a certain number between those numbers?" Lindsay replied, "Yes," and then told the court, "ten." The court told Lindsay that it understood that he wanted 10 years but that his sentence would be between 10 and 16 years.

         {¶ 9} The court asked Lindsay if he was satisfied with the representation he had received from his lawyer. Lindsay responded, "No." The court asked why. Lindsay told the court he did not know why. The court then explained:

Well, I need you to be satisfied, so you're looking at a lot of time and a lot of counts on these cases, and I can assure you that [defense counsel] has been up here working this case with the prosecutor. So, if you have a problem with how he's represented you, now is the time that we talk about it. And you're ultimately the ...

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