A prison sentence that included four consecutive life terms imposed against a man who sexually abused three girls over more than a decade is not cruel and unusual punishment, an appeals court has ruled.
Last year, Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Patrick Dinkelacker sentenced Herman See to serve 221 years before serving each of the life sentences. See, now 51, was found guilty by a jury of multiple counts of rape.
See appealed, and among his arguments was that ordering mandatory life sentences back to back amounted to cruel and unusual punishment, violating the Eighth Amendment. He also argued the sentences were “grossly disproportionate to the offense.”
Judge Candace Crouse, writing on behalf of a three-judge panel in Ohio’s First District Court of Appeals, said Dinkelacker followed the law and “made the necessary consecutive sentencing findings.” The opinion was released this week.
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See, of Norwood, argued that he “can only live one life and can only serve one life.” But the appeals court rejected that type of argument in a 2017 ruling, Crouse said in the opinion, “and we again reject that here.”
The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled “Eighth Amendment proportionality review does not apply to consecutive sentences,” the opinion says, “and we are bound by” that precedent.
See sexually abused the three girls over 15 years. They were children when the abuse happened, but adults when they testified at trial.
One testified “it happened so often that all the memories are almost all the same.” The abuse continued until 2015 when she became pregnant with her boyfriend’s child, the opinion says, and eventually moved in with her boyfriend. That was when she told her boyfriend about her relationship with See.
She testified that she did not realize what See had been doing was wrong until she talked with her boyfriend about it.
There also was testimony about how See coaxed a girl who was about four years old into performing oral sex on him in exchange for a lollipop.
The same girl testified that a decade later See had sex with her to “cheer her up” after one of her friends died.
See’s partner, Angela Stites, was convicted of rape and with helping See commit sexual abuse. She is serving 86 years in prison.
Published at Fri, 15 May 2020 08:31:00 +0000