The Ohio Supreme Court in deciding State v. Saxon back in March, held that courts of appeal don’t have the authority under sentencing statutes to vacate a defendant’s entire multiple-offense sentence.
“An appellate court may modify, remand, or vacate only a sentence for an offense that is appealed,” the Court said (but) may not modify, remand, or vacate the entire multiple-offense sentence based on an appeal error in the sentence for a single offense.
The Court went on to explain that, “Over the years some appellate court have adopted the ‘sentencing package’ doctrine, a federal doctrine that requires a court to consider the sanctions imposed on multiple offenses as the component of a single, comprehensive sentencing plan….. According to this view, an error within the sentencing package as a whole, even if only on one of multiple offenses, may require modification or vacation of the entire sentencing package due to the interdependence of the sentences for each offense. [U.S. v. Clements, 86 F.3d 599 (1996)]
“… but the rationale for ‘sentencing packaging’ fails in Ohio where there is no potential for an error in the sentence for one offense to permeate the entire multi-count group of sentences. Ohio’s felony-sentencing scheme is clearly designed to focus a judge’s attention on one offense at a time. Under R.C. 2929.14(A), the range of available penalties depends on the degree of each offense….”