Many clients focus on the level of felony or research how much time they
could get on a count. However, many clients and lawyers fail to pay attention
to the law of consecutive sentencing in Ohio. It is certainly understandable
why many lawyers don’t know the laws on consecutive sentencing because
the Ohio Supreme Court and United States Supreme Court have been all over
the place. Plus the Ohio General Assembly has not exactly been crystal
clear in its instructions to judges over the years.
Forgetting about the past decade or two of Ohio sentencing laws and case
law, let’s just focus on Ohio’s “criminal reform” statute
H.B. 86. H.B. 86 amended subsection (E)(4) of R.C. 2929.14 [now subsection(C)(4)]
and subsection (A) of R.C. 2929.41 have to be read together.
In the wake of the enactment of H.B. 86, Ohio appellate courts have noted
R.C. 2929.14(C)(4) now requires trial courts to make
factual findings when imposing consecutive sentences. The question is this: “Does
a judge, when desiring to impose consecutive prison terms, have to merely
cite the applicable subsection(s) in C4
or recite the language in C4 and state its reasons for doing so?
It certainly makes the most sense to have full transparency between the
sentencing entry and the judge’s logic by requiring him or her to
cite the C4 subsections and the reasons he/she believes those sections apply.
Stay tuned as this develops.