The rapist got four consecutive 10-year prison terms.
YOUNGSTOWN -- In a unanimous decision of a three-judge panel, the 7th District Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of a rapist given a 40-year prison term, but the court sent his case back to the trial court for resentencing.
The appellate court sent the case of Daniel J. Pakulniewicz back to Judge John M. Durkin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
In March 2005, Judge Durkin sentenced Pakulniewicz, 30, of Union Street, Warren, to prison for having sexual contact with four boys, ages 11 to 17. Pakulniewicz had pleaded guilty to 37 counts of rape and eight counts of gross sexual imposition.
Saying he needed to protect the public from any recurrence, Judge Durkin sentenced Pakulniewicz to four consecutive 10-year terms on four of the rape counts. Judge Durkin ordered that prison terms on the other counts be served concurrently (during the four decades to be served on the four rape counts).
Judge Durkin also ordered that the 40-year sentence run consecutive to a nine-year prison term Pakulniewicz received in a similar Trumbull County rape case, for a total of 49 years.
The appeal, filed by Atty. John P. Laczko, alleged that Judge Durkin erred by relying on unconstitutional provisions in state law to sentence Pakulniewicz to consecutive terms amounting to 40 years.
In their decision, the appeals judges note that, while this appeal was pending, the Ohio Supreme Court found consecutive sentencing provisions in state law "unconstitutional because they require a judicial finding of facts not proven to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt or admitted by the defendant."
The appellate court decision was rendered by Judge Gene Donofrio, who wrote the decision, with Judges Joseph J. Vukovich and Cheryl L. Waite concurring.