Consecutive Sentencing Requirements in Ohio


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.