State v. Leamman, 2021-CA-30

CourtUnited States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
Writing for the CourtTUCKER, P.J.
Citation2022 Ohio 2057
PartiesSTATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee v. JACOB DAVID LEAMMAN Defendant-Appellant
Decision Date17 June 2022
Docket Number2021-CA-30,2021-CA-35


STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee

JACOB DAVID LEAMMAN Defendant-Appellant

Nos. 2021-CA-30, 2021-CA-35

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Champaign

June 17, 2022

Criminal Appeal from Common Pleas Court Trial Court Case No. 2021-CR-72

SAMANTHA B. WHETHERHOLT, Atty. Reg. No. 0092010, Champaign County Prosecutor's Office, Attorney for Plaintiff-Appellee

BLAISE KATTER, Atty. Reg. No. 0092855, Attorney for Defendant-Appellant




{¶ 1} Jacob David Leamman appeals from his conviction following a guilty plea to one count of rape, a first-degree felony.

{¶ 2} Leamman challenges the constitutionality of Ohio's indeterminate-sentencing scheme in the Reagan Tokes Act, under which he was sentenced. He also contends his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to object to sentencing under the Reagan Tokes Act. Finally, he claims the trial court erred in not holding a hearing on his post-sentence motion to withdraw his plea.

{¶ 3} We conclude that the Reagan Tokes Act is not unconstitutional and, therefore, that Leamman's counsel did not provide ineffective assistance by failing to challenge it below. We also find that the trial court was not obligated to hold a hearing on Leamman's plea-withdrawal motion. Accordingly, the trial court's judgment will be affirmed.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

{¶ 4} A grand jury indicted Leamman on two counts of rape, one count of attempted rape, two counts of sexual battery, one count of attempted sexual battery, two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, and one count of attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. The charges involved an October 27, 2019 incident during which Leamman attempted to have vaginal intercourse with the victim, digitally penetrated her, and had her perform fellatio on him. At the time of the incident, Leamman was one day shy of his 20th birthday, and the victim was 13 years old.

{¶ 5} Leamman ultimately pled guilty to one count of rape by force, a first-degree


felony, in exchange for dismissal of the other charges. The trial court accepted the plea and imposed an indefinite sentence of 9 to 13.5 years in prison under the Reagan Tokes Act. Shortly thereafter, Leamman moved to withdraw his plea under Crim.R. 32.1 based on a manifest injustice, and he requested a hearing.

{¶ 6} In his motion, Leamman claimed he was experiencing an undiagnosed mental-health crisis at the time of his plea (as evidenced by his receipt of counseling and medication while on house arrest after his plea to overcome depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts). He also claimed that he did not understand and was not advised about the nature of the charges and possible defenses when he entered his plea. Leamman asserted that he had a defense to the most serious charges involving the use of force. He further argued that the plea bargain was not as beneficial as he was led to believe because most of the dismissed charges would have merged as allied offenses. Leamman also claimed his attorney told him he faced a potential life sentence if he went to trial and lost, whereas counsel "practically" guaranteed a minimum sentence if he pled guilty. In fact, Leamman asserted that his attorney professed to have obtained an "agreement" for a "lower sentence." Finally, he cited the promptness of his motion and professed not to have been motivated by a mere "change of heart." He stated that he knew a prison sentence was likely but was told that he would receive a minimum term.

{¶ 7} On August 30, 2021, the trial court filed a detailed entry overruling the plea-withdrawal motion without a hearing. The trial court separately addressed and rejected each of the grounds Leamman cited for seeking to withdraw his guilty plea. Leamman appealed from the trial court's judgment entry of conviction and its entry overruling his


post-sentence motion to withdraw his plea. We consolidated the appeals.

II. Analysis

{¶ 8} Leamman advances the following three assignments of error:

1.The Indeterminate Sentencing Scheme Under the "Reagan Tokes Act" is Ripe for Review and Unconstitutional, as violative of Due Process, Trial by Jury, and Separation of Powers
2. Trial Counsel was Ineffective by Failing to Object to the Appellant's Sentencing Under the Indeterminate "Reagan Tokes Act."
3.The Trial Court Erred by not Holding a Hearing on a Post-Sentence, Pre-Appeal Motion to Withdraw Guilty Plea.

{¶ 9} Leamman's first two assignments of error address the Reagan Tokes Act, under which the trial court imposed the indefinite prison term. We recently summarized the law as follows:

The Reagan Tokes Law, effective on March 22, 2019," 'significantly altered the sentencing structure for many of Ohio's most serious felonies' by implementing an indefinite sentencing system for those non-life felonies of the first and second degree, committed on or after the effective date." State v. Polley, 6th Dist. Ottawa No. OT-19-039, 2020-Ohio-3213, ¶ 5, fn. 1. The Law requires the sentencing judge to impose a "minimum term" from within the currently established sentencing range and a "maximum term" of an additional fifty percent of the imposed minimum term. See R.C. 2929.144(B). "Release [from prison] is presumed to occur at the expiration
of the 'minimum term,' however the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections [DRC] may, under certain circumstances, rebut that release presumption and impose additional prison time up to the 'maximum term.'" The Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission, SB 201 Quick Reference Guide July 2019. The DRC may also reduce the minimum term, with the approval of the sentencing court. Id.

State v. Ferguson, 2d Dist. Montgomery No. 28644, 2020-Ohio-4153, ¶ 20.

{¶ 10} In his first assignment of error, Leamman contends the Reagan Tokes Act unconstitutionally violates his right to due process, trial by jury, and the separation-of-powers doctrine. He only briefly addresses these issues, recognizing that we have rejected identical arguments multiple times. However, he urges us to reconsider and to follow the reasoning of the Eighth District Court of Appeals, which in a trio of 2021 cases held that the law did violate a defendant's right to due process and trial by jury as well as the separation-of-powers doctrine. Leamman also contends a certified-conflict case addressing the "ripeness" of challenges to the Act's constitutionality is pending in the Ohio Supreme Court. Finally, he notes that he is raising his constitutional arguments on appeal, despite our case law to the contrary, to preserve the issues for further appeal.

{¶ 11} Upon review, we find Leamman's constitutional challenges...

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