State v. Champion

[Cite as State v. Champion, 2022-Ohio-3146.] IN THE COURT OF APPEALS FIRST APPELLATE DISTRICT OF OHIO HAMILTON COUNTY, OHIO STATE OF OHIO, : APPEAL NOS. C-210534 C-210604 Plaintiff-Appellee, : TRIAL NO. B-2000001 : VS. O P I N I O N. : JERMAINE CHAMPION, : Defendant-Appellant. : Criminal Appeals From: Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Judgment Appealed From Is: Affirmed Date of Judgment Entry on Appeal: September 9, 2022 Joseph T. Deters, Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney, and Sean M. Donovan, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Plaintiff-Appellee, Clyde Bennett, for Defendant-Appellant. OHIO FIRST DISTRICT COURT OF APPEALS CROUSE, Judge. {¶1} Defendant-appellant Jermaine Champion appeals the judgment of the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas. In three assignments of error, Champion argues the underlying offenses and firearm specifications for which he was sentenced should have merged as a matter of law, and that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to raise this issue. Because Champion entered into a plea agreement with an agreed sentence and stipulated that the offenses were committed with a separate animus, we affirm the judgment of the trial court. Facts and Procedure {¶2} On January 3, 2020, Champion was charged with aggravated murder, murder, felony murder, felonious assault, and having weapons under disability. The aggravated-murder, murder, felony-murder, and felonious-assault charges each carried firearm specifications. The matter proceeded to a jury trial, but ended in a mistrial. {¶3} On October 6, 2021, Champion waived his right to a jury trial and entered into a plea agreement. Champion pleaded guilty to an amended and reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter, in violation of R.C. 2903.04(A), with a three-year firearm specification (count 3),1 felonious assault, in violation of R.C. 2903.11A(A)(1), with a three-year firearm specification (count 4), and having weapons while under disability, in violation of R.C. 2923.13(A)(3) (count 5). The plea agreement included an agreed recommended aggregate sentence of 19 years and specified that the sentences for counts 3 and 4, including the attendant firearm specifications would be 1At the plea hearing, the prosecutor stated, “Count 3 has been amended and reduced, Your Honor, from murder to involuntary manslaughter, 2903.04(A).” 2 OHIO FIRST DISTRICT COURT OF APPEALS served consecutively, while the sentence for count 5 would be served concurrently. In exchange, the state dismissed the remaining charges and specifications. {¶4} At the plea hearing, Champion stipulated that counts 3 and 4 were not allied offenses of similar import: PROSECUTOR: And it is my understanding, Your Honor, that the Defense is stipulating that there was a separate animus in the commission of * * * Counts 3 and 4. DEFENSE COUNSEL: That is correct, Your Honor. THE COURT: Thank you. {¶5} After a thorough Crim.R. 11 plea colloquy, the trial court accepted the plea agreement and sentenced Champion to the agreed recommended 19-year aggregate sentence, followed by five years of postrelease control. {¶6} Champion timely appealed. R.C. 2953.08(D)(1) {¶7} In his first assignment of error, Champion contends that the trial court erred when it ordered Champion’s sentences for involuntary manslaughter and …

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