Last week marked the fourth time the Eighth District Court of Appeals has reviewed the same robbery case that originated in Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. Last week's review was the second this year. The first review was conducted 14 years ago.
The three-judge panel released an opinion on the matter, which vacated the court's last opinion on the matter, which also reversed the original decision made by the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas to impose consecutive sentences.
The controversial nature of the sentencing decision in this robbery case stems from Ohio's hotly debated felony sentencing statutes. Although the panel of judges was divided, they were united in criticizing Ohio's sentencing statutes.
Judge melody Stewart, author of the Eight District's majority opinion, said, "This appeal forces us to confront some unfortunate realities of Ohio's criminal sentencing scheme."
In May 2000, two men robbed the Cleveland Hard Rock Café. According to the case summary, two of the female employees were strapped up with tape and held at gunpoint while the men stole in excess of $14,000 from the restaurant's safe. One of the defendants pleaded guilty and got nine years in prison. The other defendant rejected the plea bargain (if he accepted it he would have been sentenced to five years in prison) and was found guilty at trial. He was sentenced to 33 years in prison.