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In re M.F.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

January 16, 2020

IN RE M.F. A Minor Child

          Civil Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Juvenile Division Case Nos. DL16109093 and DL17114502

          Timothy Young, Ohio Public Defender, and Lauren Hammersmith, Assistant State Public Defender, for appellant.

          Michael C. O'Malley, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney, and Catherine M. Coleman, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for appellee.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          FRANK D. CELEBREZZE, JR., JUDGE.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, M.F., brings the instant appeal challenging the juvenile court's judgment denying her motions for recalculation of credit for confinement. Specifically, appellant argues that the juvenile court erred in concluding that Carrington Youth Academy ("CYA") was not a secured facility and that the juvenile court applied the wrong standard in determining whether she was entitled to credit for her confinement. After a thorough review of the record and law, this court reverses and remands the matter for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

         I. Factual and Procedural History

         {¶ 2} The instant matter pertains to two juvenile cases in which appellant was charged and adjudicated delinquent. This court previously delineated the factual and procedural history of this case as follows:

In July 2016, M.F. was charged by complaint in Cuyahoga Juvenile Court No. DL 16109093 with offenses which, if committed by an adult, would constitute tampering with evidence, with a firearm specification; conveying a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance in a school safety zone, with a firearm specification; carrying a concealed weapon; and falsification. In August 2016, M.F. admitted to and was adjudicated delinquent on all counts, and the firearm specifications were dismissed. At disposition, the court committed M.F. to the Ohio Department of Youth Services ("ODYS") for a minimum period of 6 months, maximum to her 21st birthday, and suspended the commitment on the condition that she comply with the terms of probation.
In September 2017, M.F. was charged in Cuyahoga Juvenile Court No. DL 17114502 for an offense which, if committed by an adult, would constitute domestic violence. Following trial, the juvenile court found M.F. delinquent and committed her to ODYS for a minimum period of six months, maximum to age 21. The court invoked the suspended six-month sentence in No. DL 16109093 and ordered that the sentence be served consecutive to the sentence in No. DL 17114502. The juvenile court granted M.F. 13 days credit for time served.
M.F. subsequently filed motions in both cases for recalculation of confinement credit. She asserted that she was confined for a total of 168 days relating to the two cases, including 126 days at the CYA. Without holding a hearing on the motions, the trial court granted M.F.'s motions in part and denied them in part. It granted M.F. 42 days credit for time served at the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center but denied credit for time served at the CYA.

In re M.F., 8th Dist. Cuyahoga Nos. 107452 and 107455, 2019-Ohio-709, ¶ 2-4.

         {¶ 3} Appellant filed an appeal challenging the juvenile court's ruling on her motions for recalculation of credit for confinement. Specifically, appellant asserted that she was entitled to 126 days of credit for her confinement at CYA. Id. at ¶ 5. On appeal, the state conceded that the juvenile court erred by failing to hold a hearing on appellant's motions.

         {¶ 4} This court reversed the juvenile court's judgment and remanded the matter, instructing the juvenile court to "hold a hearing to determine whether M.F. was 'confined' at CYA for purposes of R.C. 2152.18(B) so as to be entitled to credit for the time she spent there." Id. at ¶ 1. This court explained that (1) there was nothing in the record on appeal upon which this court could determine whether the time that appellant spent at CYA constituted confinement under R.C. 2152.18(B); (2) there was nothing in the record regarding the nature of CYA or the conditions affecting appellant's personal liberties during her time there; (3) there was no evidence presented to the juvenile court regarding the nature of CYA or the time appellant spent there; and (4) without evidence pertaining to CYA and appellant's experience at CYA, this court was unable to conduct a meaningful review of the juvenile court's decision, or determine whether appellant was confined at CYA such that she was entitled to credit for the time she spent therein.

         {¶ 5} Following this court's remand, the juvenile court held a hearing on appellant's motions on March 20, 2019. During the hearing, the juvenile court heard testimony from CYA's executive director, Robert Casillo. Following Casillo's testimony and the parties' arguments, the juvenile court concluded that appellant was not entitled to credit for her confinement at CYA. The juvenile court emphasized that (1) CYA's doors are locked to prevent people on the outside from entering the facility, but unlocked on the inside, such that anyone inside can walk out of the facility at any time; (2) the facility's doors are not manned by staff members to prevent individuals from exiting, and as a result, the facilities' entrances and exits are not under the exclusive control of staff members; and (3) CYA is not a secure facility because individuals may leave the facility at any time, even without permission to do so. The juvenile court explained its rationale for denying appellant's motions:

Well, according to Mr. Casillo all of the doors to the facility are locked from the outside, but they are unlocked from the inside. He had indicated through his - that's the reason why the Court asked this question, that there is no one standing at the door if individuals try to exit those doors, any individuals who are confined in that facility.
So those exits and entrances are not under the exclusive control of the facility and because they are not under the exclusive control of the facility because anyone can actually exit there, then that means it does not qualify as a secured facility. * * *
But based on what has been provided to this Court and testimony from Mr. Casillo, [CYA] is not a secured facility because individuals may leave the facility without permission because of the fact that the door is not locked and there is no one guarding that door. They don't have any type of device, which if a person tries to leave will automatically lock the door and prevent the individual from exiting. That shows exclusive control.
No one's monitoring the door, preventing individuals from leaving. If there was someone there, that would show exclusive control over this door.
* * * [CYA's] administrative staff are not the only ones who have access to that door and control over that door. And therefore, the Court finds that the motion fails and that based on the information provided to this Court this is not a secured facility and so she does not get credit.

(Tr. 25-27.)

         {¶ 6} On March 27, 2019, the juvenile court issued a judgment entry denying appellant's motions for credit. ...


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