A Hillsboro man has been freed from imprisonment after a motion to vacate a judicial sanction was sustained in Highland County Common Pleas Court on Friday.
Dustin Oates, 27, in June of 2013 was sentenced to six months in prison for one count of fifth-degree felony receiving stolen property. At the time of the offense, according to the court in 2013, he was on post-release control (PRC), which is a definite term of supervision by the Adult Parole Authority following release from prison.
The PRC at the time of Oates’ sentencing amounted to more than two years, according to records.
A motion filed by the Office of the Ohio Public Defender refers to a case in which Oates was convicted of complicity to aggravated burglary and in 2007 sentenced to three years prison. According to the motion, Oates was not properly notified of post-release control, or that the commission of a new felony offense while on PRC could warrant more prison time consecutive to whatever sentence the new felony would bring.
Because of that, the motion says, the court imposing PRC time in the 2013 case was wrong.
On Friday, assistant state public defender Terrence Scott made the argument that the court should vacate the imposed PRC time because of Oates not being properly notified when he was sentenced in 2007.
Scott also noted that contained in the sentencing entry are the words “in addition” instead of “consecutively” in regard to PRC time. The language was “insufficient,” he said. He cited case law to support his argument.
Judge Rocky Coss also cited case law, but as to where a matter is not spelled out in an entry, that having a record that the court explained it to the defendant at the time of sentencing meant that “in addition” was sufficient language.
However, Coss said that in 2007 the common pleas court had a “revolving door” of judges, and when he and court staff pulled up the record of the 2007 hearing, it was discovered that a visiting judge did not explain PRC to Oates.
“So Mr. Oates,” Coss said, “you have hit the lottery.”
Oates smiled in reaction to the judge’s words.
Oates was recently permitted to enter transitional control as he was in the last six months of the imposed prison time, but as of Friday’s hearing, he is discharged from further incarceration on the case.
Also on Friday, Jeremy P. Lamb, 30, Lebanon, was sentenced to a total of 16 months in prison. In addition to that, he has about a year and a half remaining on a previous prison sentence that he will have to serve consecutively to the new sentence.
Lamb on Friday pled guilty to fourth-degree felony trafficking in heroin in the vicinity of a school and fifth-degree felony trafficking in heroin.
In 2013, he was sentenced to three years in prison on a burglary charge, but was granted judicial release in 2014 after serving about half that time.
In other hearings this week, Colby W. Freeman, 31, Hillsboro, was granted judicial release to the STAR program.
Freeman was sentenced to three years in prison in April 2014 for third-degree felony illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs.
He is to remain in prison until his bed is available at the treatment facility.
Allison Kay Fulkerson, 44, of Hillsboro, was sentenced to community control for one count of fourth-degree felony arson, a charge she pled guilty to in September.
John R. Davidson, 59, Lynchburg, pled guilty to third-degree felony illegal cultivation of marijuana. A third-degree felony marijuana possession charge was dismissed, as per the plea agreement.
Davidson is scheduled for sentencing in November, following a presentence investigation.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.