Appeals court nixes Kitts Hill man’s bid for lesser sentence

Published 9:40 am Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Says CP court should have told Triplett he must, not may, serve probation after prison

A Kitts Hill man must be re-sentenced to correct a wording error in his sentencing on aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary convictions, but his efforts to get out of probation and have his sentenced reduced failed before the Ohio Fourth District Court of Appeals.

Steven R. Triplett, of 9669 State Route 141, Kitts Hill, was arrested in 2006 and accused of breaking into a couple’s home while they slept and robbing them.

According to court documents, he used a metal bar as a weapon when his victims awoke to find him in their home. He demanded money and medication. Triplett pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary in December 2009.

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He was sentenced to eight years in prison on each count, to be served concurrently. At that time Triplett was advised he may be subject to post release control once he had served his prison sentence.

In his appeal, Triplett said he should have been told he will indeed have to be on probation for a time after his release from the penitentiary. The appeals court agreed and said he must be re-sentenced and formally told he will definitely be on probation after prison.

Triplett also argued in his appeal that the probation and the prison sentence amounted to double jeopardy. The appeals court disagreed with Triplett on this issue.

“But post-release control is a part of the ‘actual sentence.’ … Therefore, its imposition does not implicate double jeopardy,” Appeals Judge William Harsha wrote in his ruling.

The appeals court also ruled against Triplett’s claim that his two charges should have been merged into one single charge.

Triplett asserted in his appeal he should have been given the minimum prison sentence for his crimes. The appeals court disagreed.

“However, sentencing courts possess discretion to impose any sentence within the permissible range of sentences. Moreover, Triplett’s sentence was jointly recommended and is authorized by law,” Harsha wrote.

Judge Matthew McFarland concurred with Harsha’s opinion in its entirety; Judge Roger Klein dissented with the issue of wording as it pertains to probation, saying Triplett did not need to be resentenced. He concurred with Harsha on the rest of his decision.