June 30, 2016

Partly sunny

‘High-risk offender’ loses appeal

An appeals court has upheld the three-year prison sentence of a Canton man who admitted to violating probation by avoiding supervision and committing more crimes.

Mark Fernandez, 40, is serving his sentence at Richland Correctional Institution and is scheduled for release Dec. 11, 2015.

In his appeal, Fernandez argued Medina County Common Pleas Judge Christopher J. Collier abused his discretion by giving Fernandez the maximum possible sentence for violating probation.

Collier labeled Fernandez a “high-risk offender” in October 2012 when he was sentenced to three years of probation, after he pleaded no contest to a charge of third-degree robbery in Medina County.

In June 2013, Fernandez was arrested for failing to report to his probation officer in February 2013 and getting charged with felony theft. The following month, he admitted to both violations and was sent to prison.

Fernandez told the 9th District Court of Appeals that Collier erred by failing to consider the “purposes and principles of sentencing” when punishing him.

The appellate judges disagreed, noting that when Fernandez was arrested, he had five active warrants for his arrest — including ones from Pennsylvania, Ontario and other Ohio counties.

“With the information that was before the court at sentencing,” the judges wrote, “we cannot conclude that Fernandez has met his burden to rebut the presumption that the court properly considered purposes and principles of sentencing.”

They wrote that Collier’s decision was backed by Ohio law and affirmed his decision.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com. Follow him on Twitter @ngfalcon.

Nick Glunt About Nick Glunt

Nick Glunt primarily covers courts and crime in Medina County. He served The Gazette from September 2012 to December 2015. Contact him at (330) 721-4048 or via email at nglunt@medina-gazette.com.