State v. Guyton

[Cite as State v. Guyton, 2022-Ohio-2962.] IN THE COURT OF APPEALS FIRST APPELLATE DISTRICT OF OHIO HAMILTON COUNTY, OHIO STATE OF OHIO, : APPEAL NO. C-190657 TRIAL NO. B-1902315 Plaintiff-Appellee, : VS. : O P I N I O N. TERMEL GUYTON, : Defendant-Appellant. : Criminal Appeal From: Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Judgment Appealed From Is: Affirmed Date of Judgment Entry on Appeal: August 26, 2022 Joseph T. Deters, Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney, and Paula E. Adams, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Plaintiff-Appellee, Raymond T. Faller, Hamilton County Public Defender, and Krista Gieske, Assistant Public Defender, for Defendant-Appellant. OHIO FIRST DISTRICT COURT OF APPEALS WINKLER, Judge. {¶1} Defendant-appellant Termel Guyton appeals the judgment of the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas sentencing him to an indefinite prison term after he pled guilty to trafficking in cocaine. In his sole assignment of error, he argues that the indefinite sentencing scheme established under 2018 Am.Sub.S.B. 201, identified under R.C. 2901.011 as the Reagan Tokes Law, is unconstitutional because it violates the separation-of-powers doctrine, infringes upon his due-process rights, and denies him the equal protection of the law. {¶2} Upon review, we join our sister appellate districts that have deemed the sentencing scheme embodied in the Reagan Tokes Law to be constitutional. Accordingly, we overrule the assignment of error and affirm the trial court’s judgment. I. Facts and Procedure {¶3} In May 2019, Guyton was indicted on one count of trafficking in cocaine and one count of possession of cocaine, both with major-drug-offender specifications and charged as first-degree felonies. The charges related to conduct occurring after March 22, 2019, the effective date of the Reagan Tokes Law. The offenses are qualifying offenses under the indefinite sentencing provisions set forth in that law. {¶4} In November 2019, the state and Guyton entered into a plea bargain. Guyton pled guilty to the trafficking count in exchange for dismissal of the possession count and both specifications. The trial court accepted Guyton’s guilty plea. At the sentencing hearing that immediately followed, Guyton complained about the indefinite sentence and advocated for a three-year definite term. {¶5} The trial court sentenced Guyton to an indefinite term of three-to-four- and-one-half years in prison consistent with the new range for qualifying first-degree- 2 OHIO FIRST DISTRICT COURT OF APPEALS felony offenses. After the trial court imposed the indefinite sentence, Guyton objected to the constitutionality of the Reagan Tokes Law, claiming the indefinite sentencing scheme involves a delegation of authority that violates the separation-of-powers doctrine. Guyton now appeals his sentence. II. Preliminary Issues {¶6} Guyton argues the trial erred as a matter of law by imposing an indefinite sentence pursuant to the Reagan Tokes Law because the Reagan Tokes Law violates the state and federal constitutional provisions for separation of powers, due process, and equal protection. A. Waiver {¶7} Initially, we address the state’s argument that Guyton failed to preserve the constitutional challenges he now raises. Typically, a constitutional argument not meaningfully raised in the trial court cannot be raised for …

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