State v. Clinton, E-21-019

CourtUnited States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
Writing for the CourtDUHART, J.
Citation2022 Ohio 3353
PartiesState of Ohio Appellee v. Phillip S. Clinton Appellant
Docket NumberE-21-019,E-21-020,E-21-021
Decision Date23 September 2022

2022-Ohio-3353

State of Ohio Appellee
v.

Phillip S. Clinton Appellant

Nos. E-21-019, E-21-020, E-21-021

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Sixth District, Erie

September 23, 2022


Trial Court No. 2017 CR 0302, 2020 CR 0155, 2020 CR 0247

Kevin J. Baxter, Erie County Prosecuting Attorney, and Kristin R. Palmer, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for appellee.

Lawrence A. Gold, for appellant.

DECISION AND JUDGMENT

DUHART, J.

{¶ 1} This is a consolidated appeal filed by appellant, Phillip Clinton, from the June 4, 2021 judgments of the Erie County Court of Common Pleas. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the trial court's judgments.

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{¶ 2} Appellant sets forth one assignment of error:

Indefinite sentencing under the Reagan Tokes Act is unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and the applicable sections of the Ohio Constitution

Procedural Facts

{¶ 3} In July 2017, in case No. 2017-CR-0302, appellant was indicted in Erie County on eight charges: two counts of assault, misdemeanors of the first degree; one count of aggravated riot, a felony of the fourth degree; one count of aggravated riot, a felony of the fifth degree; two counts of felonious assault, felonies of the second degree; and two counts of felonious assault, felonies of the second degree.

{¶ 4} In September 2017, appellant pled guilty to two amended counts of aggravated assault, in violation of R.C. 2903.12, felonies of the fourth degree, and the remaining charges were dismissed. In November 2017, appellant was sentenced to a prison term of 17 months for each count of aggravated assault, to be served consecutively, for a total term of incarceration of 34 months. Appellant appealed, and we affirmed. See State v. Clinton, 6th Dist. Erie No. E-17-069, 2018-Ohio-3509. In due course, appellant was released from prison, placed on community control and violated his community control.

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{¶ 5} On June 11, 2020, in case No. 2020-CR-0155, the Erie County Grand Jury indicted appellant on two new charges: one count of aggravated burglary, a felony of the first degree; and one count of felonious assault, a felony of the second degree.

{¶ 6} On August 13, 2020, in case No. 2020-CR-0247, the Erie County Grand Jury indicted appellant on three additional charges: one count of felonious assault, a felony of the second degree; one count of robbery, a felony of the second degree; and one count of having a weapon while under disability, a felony of the third degree.

{¶ 7} On June 2, 2021, appellant admitted violating his community control, waived a hearing on the matter and entered into a plea agreement for case Nos. 2020-CR-0155 and 2020-CR-0247. In case No. 2020-CR-0155, appellant pled guilty to one count of felonious assault in violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(1) and (D)(1)(a), a felony of the second degree. In case No. 2020-CR-0247, appellant pled guilty to one amended count of robbery in violation of R.C. 2911.02(A)(3)(b), a felony of the third degree, and he also pled guilty to a one year firearm specification in violation of R.C. 2941.141. The remaining charges were dismissed.

{¶ 8} The case proceeded to sentencing. The court noted case No. 2020-CR-0155 involved a qualifying felony under the Reagan Tokes Act, which was subject to an indefinite prison sentence with a minimum term and a maximum term. Appellant's counsel objected, for the record, to the application of the Reagan Tokes Act, as a violation of due process and separation of powers. Appellant was then sentenced to: a

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prison term of 30 months, in case No. 2017-CR-0302, for the community control violations; a prison term of 12 months, in case No. 2020-CR-0247, for the robbery count and a 12-month prison term on the firearm specification, with the sentences to run consecutively, and consecutive to the sentence in case No. 2017-CR-0302; and "a 2 year minimum to 4 year sentence in Case Number 20-CR-0155 * * * under Reagan Tokes, run that concurrent to the other cases for a total of 54 months in the institution." The judgment entries were filed on June 4, 2021. Appellant appealed.

Assignment of Error

{¶ 9} Appellant contends the trial court's sentence of a definite minimum of two years and an indefinite maximum of four years in prison, imposed pursuant to the Reagan Tokes Act, is a violation of his right to due process and separation of powers. He argues indefinite sentencing is unconstitutional. Appellant...

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