Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Criminal Appeal from the Shaker Heights Municipal Court Case
Stephanie B. Scalise, Prosecuting Attorney, University
Heights, for appellee.
Deborah Zaccaro-Hoffman, pro se.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
PATRICIA ANN BLACKMON, PRESIDING JUDGE.
1} This cause came to be upon the accelerated
calendar pursuant to App.R. 11.1 and Loc.App.R. 11.1.
Defendant-appellant, Deborah Zaccaro-Hoffman
("Zaccaro-Hoffman") appeals from her no contest
plea and assigns the following errors for our review:
I. Appellant's plea was not made knowingly, voluntarily,
and intelligently due to the ineffective assistance of her
II. The trial court committed reversible error when it found
appellant guilty without calling for an explanation of the
circumstances as required by R.C. 2937.07 and without which
there were no facts in evidence to support the offense
III. The trial court erred by finding appellant guilty of
telephone harassment when it improperly accepted her plea
without complying with Crim.R. 11 and did not announce its
verdict in open court.
2} Having reviewed the record and pertinent law, we
affirm the trial court's judgment. The apposite facts
Zaccaro-Hoffman sent text messages to J.M., who is
Zaccaro-Hoffman's ex-boyfriend, on November 26 and 27,
2018. Prior to this, J.M. had told Zaccaro-Hoffman
"numerous times" to stop contacting him, and on
June 6, 2018 and August 30, 2018, the University Heights
Police Department contacted Zaccaro-Hoffman per J.M.'s
request and ordered her to end all contact with J.M.,
including "telephone conversations, text messaging,
email, and any type of social media."
4} On December 5, 2018, Zaccaro-Hoffman was charged
with one count of telecommunications harassment in violation
of R.C. 2917.21, a first-degree misdemeanor. On February 27,
2019, Zaccaro-Hoffman pled no contest as charged. On April
10, 2019, the court sentenced Zaccaro-Hoffman to 60 days in
jail, suspended, one year of probation, and a fine. The court
also ordered Zaccaro-Hoffman to continue individual therapy
and have no contact with J.M. It is from this plea that
Zaccaro-Hoffman appeals. We note that appellee, University
Heights, did not file an appellate brief in this case.
assistance of counsel
5} To succeed on a claim of ineffective assistance
of counsel, a defendant must establish that his or her
attorney's performance was deficient and that the
defendant was prejudiced by the deficient performance.
Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 104 S.Ct.
2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984). However, "a court need not
determine whether counsel's performance was deficient
before examining the prejudice suffered by the defendant as a
result of the alleged deficiencies. The object of an
ineffectiveness claim is not to grade counsel's
performance." Id. at 697. See also State v.
Bradley, 42 Ohio St.3d 136, 538 N.E.2d 3743 (1989).
6} "When a defendant claims ineffective
assistance after entering a [no contest] plea, she must also
show that the ineffective assistance precluded her from
entering the plea knowingly and voluntarily." State
v. Mays,174 Ohio App.3d 681, 2008-Ohio-128, 884 N.E.2d
607, ¶ 9 (8th Dist). See also State v. Wright,
8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 98345, 2013-Ohio-936, ¶ 11 (a
"plea waives the defendant's right to claim he was
prejudiced by the ineffective assistance of ...