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Sex offender's conviction reversed by appellate court

5-9-2014 Ohio:

State v Hines

The Sixth District Court of Appeals is reversing the sentence of a Vermilion man who was involved in a string of sexual contact with a relative.

Charlie Hines, 54, was sentenced to five years in prison after he pleaded guilty in June 2013 to two counts of sexual battery. Both counts were 30 months and were ordered to be served consecutively.

According to the appeals court’s entry, Hines was indicted July 11, 2012. He was charged with one count each of rape and gross sexual imposition and nine counts of sexual battery.

Hines initially pleaded not guilty and asked the court to suppress an audio recording that was obtained at the police station during police questioning, but his motion was denied.

According to the entry, Hines entered into plea negotiations with the state and an agreement was made in which Hines agreed to plead guilty to two counts of sexual battery in exchange for the state’s dismissal of the other charges. In the plea agreement, he also should be classified as a tier III sex offender. The state had put in the agreement that there will be no community notification requested or found to be applicable.

Hines argued in his appeal that the court did not follow a criminal rule and failed to address registration as a sex offender and community notification required before accepting his plea. He also argued that the court accepted his plea despite the fact that it was not knowingly and voluntarily given. The appellate court has agreed with Hines, therefore vacating his sentence and reversing bringing it back to the trial court.

Specifically, Hines contends that his plea was involuntary because he was not informed, as purportedly required under (state law), that he would be subject to community notification as a tier III sex offender,” the appeals court wrote. “In the present action, the trial court failed to mention any registration requirements that would result from a guilty plea.”

It also wrote that it recognizes that the court is not required to review each of the individual restrictions and requirements, but it must “at least inform the defendant about the fact that a tier III conviction includes community notification.”

“Since Hines was not informed of the community notification requirements stemming from his classification as a tier III sex offender, he did not enter knowing pleas to the two counts of sexual battery,” the appeals court wrote.

According to the entry, at sentencing, the court did not address the community notification requirement.

The sentencing entry also did not specify whether Hines is subject to community notification.

Hines also argued in his appeal that the court made an error in sentencing him consecutively and that the court did not state any reason for disapproving his eligibility for an Intensive Program Prison. The appeals court wrote that those arguments are moot. ..Source.. by Kaylee Remington

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