GALLIPOLIS — A Gallipolis man charged with trafficking in drugs who was sentenced to two years of probation following the implementation of House Bill 86 in 2011, recently had his probation revoked and will be spending 17 months in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
Chad E. Brown, 32, was sentenced on Tuesday in the Common Pleas Court of Gallia County on three counts of trafficking in drugs.
An indictment against Brown was filed on April 22, 2011, alleging that he had sold or offered to sell four phentermine tablets on July 9, 2010, and one suboxone tablet on July 12, 2010, both in the vicinity of a juvenile and both felonies of the fourth degree, and for allegedly selling six Lortab (hydrocodone) tablets on January 8, 2011, a fifth degree felony.
Brown was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to these charges on April 26, 2011.
A second indictment filed on June 10, 2011, alleges that Brown sold or offered to sell one suboxone tablet on May 16, 2011, a fourth degree felony. He pleaded not guilty to this charge on June 23, 2011.
On August 29, 2011, the defendant entered guilty pleas in both of his cases in accordance with negotiated plea agreements.
In his first case, Brown pleaded guilty to the first two counts of trafficking in drugs as specified in his indictment.
Brown also pleaded guilty to the charge of trafficking in drugs in his second case.
According to this initial plea agreement and to a victim’s statement filed along with the agreements, after pleading guilty, the defendant would be sentenced to 11 months of incarceration for each three counts of trafficking in drugs — sentences that would be ordered to served consecutively.
During the initial plea hearing, a pre-sentence investigation was ordered to be completed by the adult probation department and a sentencing hearing was scheduled for October 20, 2011.
Motions for continuances were later filed in both of Brown’s cases by his defense attorney, Barbara Wallen.
In the motions, Wallen requests that the pleas entered into in each of Brown’s cases be set aside as they are “based on the law prior to the effective date of House Bill 86, effective September 30, 2011, and [are] directly impacted by this new law.”
The motion further states, “The Defendant requests a continuance so that a new plea change form can be prepared, signed and submitted to the court. The Defendant requests that once the new form is submitted, the Court schedule a new plea hearing date and conduct a pre-sentence investigation and a that a new date then be scheduled for sentencing in this case.”
The court later granted this motion in each case and a new plea change hearing was set for November 17, 2011.
Ohio House Bill 86, a bill that overhauled the Ohio’s criminal sentencing laws, was passed by the Ohio General Assembly in May 2011, and was signed into law by Ohio Governor John Kasich in June 2011.
Among the sweeping changes the bill imposes are alterations to the trial court’s ability to impose consecutive sentences, as well as a limitation, and, even, the direct prohibition of, prison terms for certain fourth and fifth degree felonies.
According to a summary of the bill compiled by the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission, a mandatory one-year community control sentence must be imposed by felony courts when the most serious charge against an offender is a fourth or fifth degree felony, if the offender has no prior felonies, and the offender has had no misdemeanor offense of violence for at least two years.
Further, prison sentences may be imposed in cases where fourth and fifth degree felonies have occurred if the offender had a firearm during the offense, caused physical harm to another person, or violated the conditions of his or her bond.
The second plea agreements filed in Brown’s cases whereby the defendant pleaded guilty to the same offenses — a total of three counts of trafficking in drugs, specifies a two-year community control sanction along with a six-month suspension of Brown’s operator’s license.
The two-year probation sentence and license suspension was imposed by the court on December 8, 2011.
A warrant was issued for the defendant’s arrest on July 17, 2012, after the court was notified that the defendant had absconded supervision. His community control was tolled effective May 30, 2012.
Brown was arrested on August 28, 2011, after he was found driving without a license.
He was arraigned on the community control violations on August 30. These violations included the allegation that Brown had failed to provide a urine sample on August 28, provided the wrong address to corrections officers while being booked into the Gallia County Jail, failed to make his monthly payments, failed to make all of his office visits, failed to provide documentation of working since March 27, 2012, and had been non-compliant with Spectrum Outreach Services since April 16, 2012.
Following the arraignment hearing, Brown was released on his own recognizance.
A final hearing was set in this case on October 23, and a second warrant was issued for the defendant after he failed to appear for said hearing.
Brown was arrested this January, and his bond was revoked on January 7 and set at $10,000, 10 percent.
During a final hearing in this case on January 15, Brown’s community control was revoked and he was sentenced to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction for 17 months for selling four phentermine tablets on July 9, 2010, in the vicinity of a juvenile, and to 17 months of incarceration for selling one suboxone tablet on July 12, 2010, also in the vicinity in the juvenile — sentences to be served concurrently.
In his second case, Brown was sentenced to 17 months of incarceration for selling one suboxone tablet on May 16, 2011. The sentence in this case was ordered to be served concurrently with the sentence imposed in his first case.
He was given credit for a total of 77 days served and was ordered to pay the cost of prosecution.