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Date: 07-05-2020

Case Style:

STATE OF OHIO v. MARC ANDREW SHIELDS, JR.

Case Number: 28573

Judge: Jeffrey E. Froelich

Court: IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF OHIO SECOND APPELLATE DISTRICT MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Plaintiff's Attorney: SARAH E. HUTNIK, Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office

Defendant's Attorney:

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1 The Reagan Tokes Law, effective March 22, 2019, made substantive amendments to
Ohio’s felony sentencing statutes with respect to first- and second-degree felonies
committed on or after the amendments’ effective date. Under the amendments, Shields
was subject to an indefinite sentence, the minimum term of which the court could select
from the sentencing range for a first-degree felony, and the maximum of which would be
50 percent more than the selected minimum term. See R.C. 2929.14(A)(1)(a).
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argued that Ford did not address whether an offender could be sentenced to community
control for an underlying offense where prison must be imposed for a firearm
specification. The trial court concluded that, “[w]hile the sentence for aggravated robbery
is not mandatory, the Defendant must be sentenced to prison as a result of the three-year
firearm specification on the underlying F-1 felony.”
{¶ 3} In his sole assignment of error, Shields claims that the trial court erred in
refusing to consider a sentence of community control on the underlying aggravated
robbery offense. Shields argues that the trial court had the authority to impose
community control on the aggravated robbery concurrently with three years in prison on
the firearm specification. The State responds that the trial court fully considered whether
it could impose community control and “ultimately declined to accept [Shields’s]
interpretation of the statutes.” The State further argued that the trial court did not err,
because the sentencing statutes contained no express authority for the trial court to
impose community control on the underlying offense of aggravated robbery to run
concurrently with a mandatory prison sentence on the attached gun specification.
{¶ 4} Upon an initial review, we noticed that neither party addressed R.C.
2929.13(F)(8), which requires the trial court to impose a prison term for any felony
offense, except a violation of R.C. 2923.12 (carrying a concealed weapon), “if the offender
had a firearm on or about the offender’s person or under the offender’s control while
committing the felony, with respect to a portion of the sentence imposed pursuant to
division (B)(1)(a) of section 2929.14 of the Revised Code for having the firearm.” Prior
to oral argument, we notified the parties that they should be prepared to address the
effect, if any, of that statute.
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{¶ 5} At oral argument, Shields argued that R.C. 2929.13(F)(8) makes a prison
sentence mandatory only as to the firearm specification, i.e., the “portion of the sentence
imposed pursuant to division (B)(1)(a) of section 2929.14 of the Revised Code for having
the firearm.” Shields asserted that R.C. 2929.13(F)(8) did not speak to the portion of the
sentence related to the underlying offense, in this case the aggravated robbery. Shields
contended that our opinion in State v. Becraft, 2d Dist. Clark No. 2013-CA-54, 2015-Ohio3911, which appeared to hold otherwise, did not directly concern this issue, and that the
Fifth District in State v. Roush, 5th Dist. Morrow No. 13CA0008, 2014-Ohio-4887, has
interpreted R.C. 2929.13(F)(8) consistently with his interpretation.
{¶ 6} The State countered at oral argument that R.C. 2929.13(F)(8) concerns
offenses, not specifications, and that firearm specifications are addressed in R.C.
2929.14(B)(1)(a). The State emphasized that while a prison sentence on one offense
can be run concurrently with a community control sentence on another offense, Shield’s
case presented only one offense (with a specification), and there was no authority to
impose a split sentence for the underlying offense and the specification.
{¶ 7} In Becraft, the defendant pled guilty to aggravated robbery, in exchange for
which the State dismissed an accompanying firearm specification and stipulated that
Becraft did not have a firearm during the robbery offense. At the plea hearing, the trial
court informed Becraft that he was eligible for community control, but that the offense
carried a presumption of imprisonment. The trial court recited the facts of the theft
offense and the firearm specification, including facts alleging that Becraft possessed or
used a weapon to facilitate the offense, and informed Becraft that by entering a plea he
was waiving his right to require the State to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, all the
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elements of aggravated robbery and the firearm specification. The trial court
acknowledged, however, that the firearm specification had been dismissed. At
sentencing, the trial court imposed nine years in prison and restitution.
{¶ 8} On appeal, Becraft argued that his plea was not knowing, intelligent, and
voluntary, because the court improperly told him that he was eligible for community
control. We held that the trial court’s advisement regarding community control was
correct in Becraft’s case, reasoning:
* * * In the case before us, the facts admitted by Becraft included all
the elements of an Aggravated Robbery offense, including the use of a
deadly weapon (but not necessarily a firearm). Neither the indictment, nor
the admitted facts, included a claim that Becraft used, possessed or had
control of a firearm in the course of the offense. Mandatory imprisonment
or “definite prison terms” are controlled by the provisions of R.C. 2929.13
and 2929.14, which do not include the offense of Aggravated Robbery
under R.C. 2911.01, unless additional factors are present, such as the use
of a firearm. Aggravated Robbery, a violation of R.C. 2911.01, does not
require the use, possession or control of a firearm. Therefore, a conviction
for the offense of Aggravated Robbery, committed with a deadly weapon,
not a firearm, is eligible for community control sanctions. R.C.
2929.13(F)(8) mandates a definite prison term for any felony, other than a
violation of R.C. 2923.12, including the offense of Aggravated Robbery
when the offender “had a firearm on or about the offender’s person or under
the offender’s control while committing the offense” or when the offender is
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also charged and convicted of a firearm specification, pursuant to R.C.
2929.14(B)(1)(a).
{¶ 9} Although Becraft focused on when community control was a permissible
sanction for aggravated robbery, it made clear that R.C. 2929.13(F)(8) mandates a prison
term for aggravated robbery when the offense is committed with a firearm. Becraft at ¶
14. Other appellate districts have interpreted R.C 2929.13(F)(8) similarly. State v.
Galvan, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 108658, 2020-Ohio-1285, ¶ 20 (“Under R.C.
2929.13(F)(8), the aggravated robbery conviction requires a mandatory prison term
where, as here, the defendant had a firearm on his person while committing the felony.”).
See also, e.g., State v. Wofford, 1st Dist. Hamilton No. C-180411, 2019-Ohio-2815, ¶ 10.
{¶ 10} We recognize, as argued by Shields, that the Fifth District in Roush has
stated that “R.C. 2929.13(F)(8) requires the firearm specification penalty be made
mandatory, but not the penalty for the underlying offense.” Roush, 5th Dist. Morrow No.
13CA0008, 2014-Ohio-4887, at ¶ 35. However, Roush arose in a different procedural
posture: the defendant appealed from the trial court’s denial of his post-sentencing motion
to correct his 2011 sentence, which included mandatory sentences, pursuant to R.C.
2929.13(F)(8), for attempted aggravated murder and several counts of felonious assault,
each of which had a firearm specification. Roush had not challenged the imposition of
mandatory sentences under R.C. 2929.13(F)(8) on direct appeal. While agreeing with
Roush’s interpretation of R.C. 2929.13(F)(8) that mandatory sentences were not required
for the underlying offenses, the Fifth District ultimately affirmed the trial court’s denial of
Roush’s motion on the ground that Roush’s argument could have been raised on direct
appeal and was barred by res judicata. Under these circumstances, the appellate court’s
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holding did not rely on its interpretation of R.C. 2929.13(F)(8) and we find it to be dicta
and unpersuasive.
{¶ 11} Shields pled guilty to aggravated robbery, in violation of R.C. 2911.01(A)(1),
with an accompanying firearm specification. By pleading guilty to the firearm
specification, Shields agreed that he had a firearm on or about his person or under his
control while committing the aggravated robbery. Pursuant to R.C. 2929.13(F)(8), the
trial court was required to impose a prison sentence for Shields’s aggravated robbery
conviction, and it lacked the authority to consider community control. Consequently, we
need not address the case law that Shields discusses in his appellate brief, nor must we
decide the extent to which trial courts may impose community control sanctions and
prison sentences concurrently.
{¶ 12} Shields’s assignment of error is overruled.

Outcome: The judgment of the trial court will be affirmed.

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