State v. Hartup, 72379

Citation711 N.E.2d 315,126 Ohio App.3d 768
Decision Date23 March 1998
Docket NumberNo. 72379,72379
PartiesThe STATE of Ohio, Appellant, v. HARTUP, Appellee. *
CourtUnited States Court of Appeals (Ohio)

Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney, and L. Christopher Frey, Assistant County Prosecuting Attorney, Cleveland, for appellant.

Gary A. Hotz, Westlake, for appellee.

PATTON, Judge.

On December 9, 1994, the General Assembly amended R.C. 2953.36 to provide that provisions of the Revised Code permitting the sealing of a record of conviction (R.C. 2953.32) do not apply to persons convicted of gross sexual imposition. The narrow issue before us is whether R.C. 2953.36, as amended, is unconstitutional as applied to offenders who were convicted before its effective date, but who by law could not file motions to seal their records of conviction until after the effective date.

In 1987, defendant Kimberly Hartup pleaded guilty to one count of gross sexual imposition. The court accepted the plea, suspended a one-and-one-half-year sentence, and placed defendant on probation for five years. Defendant satisfactorily completed probation on January 9, 1992. After the expiration of the three-year waiting period set forth in R.C. 2953.32(A)(1), defendant filed the instant motion to seal his record of conviction. The state opposed the motion on the single ground that the court lacked jurisdiction to consider the motion because R.C. 2953.36, as amended effective December 1994, excluded sex-related offenses from being expunged.

In a written opinion, the court granted defendant's motion to seal the record of his conviction. The court found that (1) application of the amendment to R.C. 2953.36 would render defendant's guilty plea involuntary since the possibility of expungement might have been a relevant factor in defendant's decision to plead guilty, (2) as applied to offenses committed prior to its effective date, R.C. 2953.36 made the punishment for a certain class of crimes "more burdensome, after their commission, and thus is an impermissible ex post facto law, in violation of Art. I, § 10, of the United States Constitution," and (3) the General Assembly's act of withdrawing an offender's right to apply to have a record of conviction sealed "clearly constitutes retroactive legislation" in violation of Section 28, Article II of the Ohio Constitution. We address these contentions in order.


The court first concluded that the possibility of expungement for a socially stigmatizing offense such as gross sexual imposition would lead to the great presumption that "the opportunity to have the record of conviction sealed must have been a relevant factor in [defendant's] decision to plead guilty to this offense." While recognizing that expungement is a privilege, not a right, the court found defendant "did have a right to be considered for expungement." (Emphasis sic.) The court concluded that defendant's guilty plea could not have been knowing or voluntary if this right to be considered for expungement was not available to him.

We fail to see how the court's Crim.R. 11(C) analysis would be applicable in this case. Whatever the action of General Assembly in amending R.C. 2953.36, the fact remains that at the time defendant entered his guilty plea, he did have the possibility of requesting that the record of that conviction be sealed. So regardless what amendments may have been enacted at a later date, defendant was not misinformed of the law at the time he entered his plea and cannot now argue that his plea was unknowing.

Of course, this presumes that defendant considered the opportunity to have the record of his conviction sealed a relevant factor in deciding to plead guilty. The court thought so, but we find no basis for this presumption. There is nothing in the record to suggest that defendant's decision to plead guilty gave any consideration whatsoever to the possibility that he might have the record of his conviction sealed at a later date. See State v. Davenport (1996), 116 Ohio App.3d 6, 11, 686 N.E.2d 531, 534-535; State v. DeNardis (Dec. 29, 1993), Medina App. No. 2245, unreported, at 3, 1993 WL 548761. The court's Crim.R. 11(C) duty to advise an accused of the effect of a guilty plea simply does not incorporate any aspect of expungement, and, absent solid proof in the record, we will not infer defendant's intent. Notably, the right to expungement under R.C. 2953.32 is discretionary, even if the applicant meets the statutory prerequisites. See State v. Heaton (1995), 108 Ohio App.3d 38, 40, 669 N.E.2d 885, 886-887; State v. Mastin (1992), 83 Ohio App.3d 814, 615 N.E.2d 1084. Because expungement is ultimately discretionary with the court, the court has no duty to advise a person to consider this possibility before entering a plea. 1 We therefore find Crim.R. 11(C) no bar to the application of amended R.C. 2953.36.


The court also found that the sole purpose of R.C. 2953.36 is to punish a certain class of felony offenders. Concluding that this section makes the punishment for gross sexual imposition under R.C. 2907.05 more burdensome after the commission of that offense, the court held that the statute constituted an impermissible ex post facto law, in violation of Section 10, Article I of the United States Constitution.

There are four categories of ex post facto laws: (1) laws that make criminal actions which, when committed, were innocent, (2) laws that aggravate or increase the level of a crime after the crime was committed, (3) laws that change the punishment for a crime and inflict a greater punishment for the crime than when committed, and (4) laws that alter the legal rules of evidence to receive less or different testimony than those laws required at the time of the commission of the offense. See Lynce v. Mathis (1997), 519 U.S. 433, 441, 117 S.Ct. 891, 895, 137 L.Ed.2d 63, 72, fn. 13, citing Calder v. Bull (1798), 3 U.S. (3 Dall.) 386, 390, 1 L.Ed. 648, 650. As pertinent to this case, the third type of ex post facto prohibition applies and addresses situations where the state increases punishment beyond what was prescribed when the crime was committed. In Lynce, the court stated that "[t]o fall within the ex post facto prohibition, a law must be retrospective--that is, 'it must apply to events occurring before its enactment'--and it 'must disadvantage the offender affected by it' * * * by altering the definition of criminal conduct or increasing the punishment for the crime." Id. at 441, 117 S.Ct. at 896, 137 L.Ed.2d at 72, quoting Weaver v. Graham (1981), 450 U.S. 24, 29, 101 S.Ct. 960, 964, 67 L.Ed.2d 17, 23.

It is beyond question that expungement is a privilege, not a right. See State v. Thomas (1979), 64 Ohio App.2d 141, 145, 18 O.O.3d 106, 108-109, 411 N.E.2d 845, 848. That the General Assembly saw fit to remove the privilege of seeking expungement from certain offenders does not equate to increasing the punishment for the offense. On its most basic level, R.C. 2953.36 does not increase any "punishment" for the offense of gross sexual imposition. In no way does it increase the term of incarceration or affect parole and probation. State v. Burke (1991), 109 Ore.App. 7, 11-15, 818 P.2d 511, 514-515; State v. Comeau (N.H.1997), 697 A.2d 497, 501; State v. Greenberg (Fla.App.1990), 564 So.2d 1176, 1177. It merely removes the possibility of having a record of conviction sealed. "Defendant's interest in expungement here was only in obtaining a potential remedy, not retaining something which had already inured to his benefit." State v. T.P.M. (App.Div.1983), 189 N.J.Super. 360, 368, 460 A.2d 167, 172. Because R.C. 2953.36 does not impose greater punishment, it does not violate the Ex Post Facto Clause of...

To continue reading

Request your trial
10 cases
  • State v. Moorehart, 2009 Ohio 2844 (Ohio App. 6/8/2009), 2008-CA-0072.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • June 8, 2009
    ...30 Ohio St.3d 120, 121, 507 N.E.2d 1117, 1118. A party does not have a vested right in a remedial remedy. State v. Hartup (1998), 126 Ohio App. 3d 768, 711 N.E.2d 315, 318. Accordingly, the court has the discretion to deny a request for expungement even if the applicant meets the statutory ......
  • State v. Chris Wilfong, 01-LW-0645
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • March 16, 2001
    ...the appellate courts that have addressed the retroactivity of this statute have found differently. See, e.g., State v. Hartup (1998), 126 Ohio App.3d 768; State v. Davenport (1996), 116 Ohio App.3d 6;State v. Poole (Feb. 21, 1996), Ashland App. No. 1116, unreported. Incidentally, this court......
  • State v. Rose, 2004 Ohio 4433 (OH 8/23/2004), Case No. 04-CA-C-04-027.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Ohio
    • August 23, 2004
    ...not misinformed of the law at the time he entered his plea and cannot now argue that his plea was unknowing." State v. Hartup (1998), 126 Ohio App.3d 768, 771, 711 N.E.2d 315, {¶16} In addition, appellant failed to present this court with the transcript of the original plea. Absent the tran......
  • State v. Reg Kelly
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • October 28, 2002
    ...St.3d 531, 533, 2000-Ohio-474, quoting State v. Hamilton, 75 Ohio St.3d 636, 639, 1996-Ohio-440. See, also, State v. Hartup (1998), 126 Ohio App.3d 768, discretionary appeal not allowed, 82 Ohio St.3d 1451. R.C. 2953.32 provides that a "first offender" may apply to the sentencing court to s......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT