State v. Bradley, No. 87-1985

CourtOhio Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtDOUGLAS; MOYER; WRIGHT; HERBERT R. BROWN; WRIGHT
Citation42 Ohio St.3d 136,538 N.E.2d 373
PartiesThe STATE of Ohio, Appellee, v. BRADLEY, Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 87-1985
Decision Date10 May 1989

Page 136

42 Ohio St.3d 136
538 N.E.2d 373
The STATE of Ohio, Appellee,
v.
BRADLEY, Appellant.
No. 87-1985.
Supreme Court of Ohio.
Submitted Feb. 7, 1989.
Decided May 10, 1989.
Syllabus by the Court

1. A trial judge, being in the best position to view and hear a witness and being in the best position to determine the witness' understanding of the events in question and his understanding of the nature of an oath, is to be given wide discretion in determining that witness' competence to testify.

Page 137

2. Counsel's performance will not be deemed ineffective unless and until counsel's performance is proved to have fallen below an objective standard of reasonable representation and, in addition, prejudice arises from counsel's performance. (State v. Lytle [1976], 48 Ohio St.2d 391, 2 O.O.3d 495, 358 N.E.2d 623; Strickland v. Washington [1984], 466 U.S. 668, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674, followed.)

3. To show that a defendant has been prejudiced by counsel's deficient performance, the defendant must prove that there exists a reasonable probability that, were it not for counsel's errors, the result of the trial would have been different.

On February 10, 1984, the Scioto County Grand Jury returned an indictment against appellant, William J. Bradley, charging him with one count of aggravated murder, in violation of R.C. 2903.01(A). The indictment also contained two specifications which permitted the imposition of the death penalty. The specifications were that (1) pursuant to R.C. 2929.04(A)(4), the offense was committed while the offender was a prisoner in a detention facility; and that (2) pursuant to R.C. 2929.04(A)(5), prior to the offense at bar, the offender was convicted of an offense, an essential element of which was the purposeful killing of or attempt to kill another.

The charges now before us stem from an incident that occurred on February 2, 1984 at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. On that date, appellant allegedly approached Eric Bowling, a sixty-two-year-old civilian supervisor of the institution's sheet metal shop, and beat him about the head and face with a ten-gauge bar of sheet metal.

Appellant was arraigned in the Court of Common Pleas of Scioto County on March 2, 1984, at which time he entered a plea of [538 N.E.2d 376] not guilty. The court appointed two local attorneys, Stephen C. Rodeheffer and Joseph L. Hale, as counsel for appellant.

On March 27, 1984, the court ordered the Shawnee Forensic Center to conduct a mental evaluation of appellant for purposes of determining his competence to stand trial. The examiner, James R. Hagen, Ph.D., reported that though appellant was at times delusional, and had been diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic, appellant was nevertheless competent to stand trial. Appellant subsequently requested an independent mental evaluation by an examiner of his own choosing. The court, at appellant's request, appointed Dr. Ronald Litvak, who confirmed the diagnosis of chronic paranoid schizophrenia and that appellant was nonetheless competent to stand trial.

Appellant, on January 29, 1985, filed a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. The court thereupon ordered Shawnee Forensic Center to conduct an evaluation of appellant for purposes of determining his mental condition at the time of the offense. Appellant was evaluated by Dr. David Helm. Dr. Helm concluded that, although appellant was mentally ill, it could not be definitely stated that the offense was a result of appellant's mental illness.

The case proceeded to trial, with

Page 138

jury selection beginning on May 6, 1985. The lengthy selection process finally concluded on May 13, with the jury being taken to the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility to view the scene of the homicide.

When the trial resumed the following day, Howard McCoy, an inmate who worked in the sheet metal shop, was called to testify. McCoy testified that he was standing at Bowling's desk reading from a list of jobs and that Bowling was standing behind him. McCoy further testified that he heard a noise, whereupon he turned around and saw appellant hit Bowling with a steel bar. McCoy stated that appellant continued to hit Bowling, even after Bowling had fallen to the floor. Appellant then walked away and threw the steel bar into a pile of scrap metal.

John King, another inmate assigned to the sheet metal shop, also testified. King stated that he saw appellant "whacking away at something" with a piece of steel, but that he (King) could not tell what appellant was hitting because his view was obscured by filing cabinets. When King came out from behind the cabinets, he could see Bowling lying on the floor and appellant hitting Bowling. King summoned Corrections Sgt. Larry Smith, who found the bloody piece of steel lying twenty feet from the place of the attack.

After the incident, the area was closed off by prison officials and a strip search was conducted of all inmates in the sheet metal shop. According to Deputy Superintendent Bill Seth, this was routine prison procedure for prison incidents, designed to ensure that inmates did not possess any type of weapon that constituted a threat to institutional security.

As the strip search progressed, an inmate was found to have blood on his shorts and he was asked for an explanation. At that time, appellant approached the officers conducting the search and stated that this inmate "had nothing to do with this * * *." Appellant was ordered to sit down.

Appellant was chosen to be the next inmate searched. One of the officers conducting the search, Corrections Officer Richard Taylor, found blood on appellant's shirt and asked for an explanation. Appellant pointed to where Bowling's body had been and stated that it was the foreman's blood. Officer Taylor called the spot to the attention of Deputy Superintendent Seth, who repeated the questions to appellant and received the same answers. Officer Taylor then asked appellant, "[D]id you do it?" Appellant replied, "[Y]eah, I did it." Appellant was then handcuffed and taken to the institution's J-Block and the strip search of the inmates continued.

The incident was turned over to the State Highway Patrol for investigation. Sergeant Blaine Keckley testified that his examination of appellant revealed no bleeding wounds and that the blood on appellant's shirt was type "O," the same blood type as that of Bowling. State Highway Patrol District Investigator Ivan Teets interviewed appellant on the day of the incident [538 N.E.2d 377] and noticed what appeared to be speckles of blood on appellant's forehead. After removal and analysis, the speckles were determined to be blood. As part of the investigation, Teets compiled an extensive report. After a minor deletion, the investigative report was marked as an exhibit and introduced as evidence without objection at trial.

The prosecution also produced inmate James Patterson as a witness. Patterson had a relatively low I.Q. and was described as "mildly retarded." Appellant's counsel objected, alleging that Patterson had been judicially

Page 139

declared incompetent. The trial judge took the step of questioning the witness in chambers to determine his competency as a witness. The trial judge believed Patterson to be competent to testify. Once on the witness stand, Patterson indicated that the day before the incident he heard appellant tell Bowling that " * * * I'm going to get you, old man." Patterson stated that appellant became angry and made this statement when Bowling told appellant he would have to do some work over.

After the state presented its case, appellant testified in his own defense. Appellant denied having harsh words with Bowling, denied striking Bowling, and stated that anyone who said otherwise was incorrect or lying. Appellant further denied or could not recall making certain inculpatory statements to the investigating officers. Appellant revealed on direct examination that he had an extensive record of prior convictions and incarceration. He admitted that he had been convicted of murder and that a significant portion of his incarceration had been served at the Lima State Hospital for the criminally insane. Following appellant's testimony, the defense rested its case.

Prior to the jury instructions, counsel for appellant requested that the court, rather than the jury, determine appellant's guilt or innocence of the R.C. 2929.04(A)(5) specification, that appellant had previously been convicted of the purposeful killing of another. The jury was then instructed with regard to the aggravated murder charge and the R.C. 2929.04(A)(4) specification, that the offense was committed while appellant was a prisoner in a detention facility.

On May 16, 1985, the jury returned a verdict of guilty on both the aggravated murder charge and the R.C. 2929.04(A)(4) specification. On May 20, 1985, the court found appellant guilty of the R.C. 2929.04(A)(5) specification.

The penalty phase of the trial also took place on May 20, 1985. Appellant presented a report compiled by Dr. David Helm and Philip M. Paulucci, ACSW, and testimony from Dr. Helm which stated that appellant suffered from a mental illness. Dr. Helm could not reach any conclusion as to whether, at the time of the offense, appellant lacked the capacity to appreciate the criminality of his conduct.

The jury returned a verdict finding beyond a reasonable doubt that the aggravating circumstances which appellant was guilty of committing outweighed the mitigating factors presented and recommended that the death sentence be imposed. The trial judge, in an opinion filed pursuant to R.C. 2929.03(F), agreed with the jury's finding and imposed the death sentence on appellant. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court's judgment of conviction and sentence.

This cause is now before this court upon an appeal as of right.

Lynn A. Grimshaw, Pros. Atty., and R. Randolph Rumble, Portsmouth, for appellee.

Randall M. Dana,...

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8664 practice notes
  • State v. Sekulic, No. 2016CA00135
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • June 12, 2017
    ...S.Ct. 838, 122 L.Ed.2d 180 (1993) ; Strickland v. Washington , 466 U.S. 668, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984) ; State v. Bradley , 42 Ohio St.3d 136, 538 N.E.2d 373 (1989).{¶ 77} In order to warrant a finding that trial counsel was ineffective, the petitioner must meet both the deficie......
  • Hill v. Knab, CASE NO. 2:11-CV-755
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • November 1, 2012
    ...as to require reversal of a conviction. See State v. Smith (1985), 17 Ohio St.3d 98, 477 N.E.2d 1128; State v. Bradley (1989), 42 Ohio St.3d 136, 538 N.E.2d 373.***Hill. . . argues that his counsel's waiver of the presence of a court reporter to record voir dire proceedings constituted defi......
  • Davis v. Shoop, Case No. 2:16-cv-495
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • June 16, 2020
    ...permitted to evaluate the "deficient performance" and "prejudice" prongs in either order. Id. at PageID 6636, quoting State v. Bradley, 42 Ohio St. 3d 136, 143 (1989); Strickland, 466 U.S. at 697. As to the First Ground, the court concluded that the evidence that Davis claimed had not been ......
  • Rhines v. Morgan, Case No. 3:13-cv-238
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • December 3, 2013
    ...Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984), and adopted by the Supreme Court of Ohio in State v. Bradley (1989), 42 Ohio St.3d 136, 538 N.E.2d 373, * * * . Pursuant to those cases, trial counsel is entitled to a strong presumption that his or her conduct falls within th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8683 cases
  • State v. Sekulic, No. 2016CA00135
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • June 12, 2017
    ...S.Ct. 838, 122 L.Ed.2d 180 (1993) ; Strickland v. Washington , 466 U.S. 668, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984) ; State v. Bradley , 42 Ohio St.3d 136, 538 N.E.2d 373 (1989).{¶ 77} In order to warrant a finding that trial counsel was ineffective, the petitioner must meet both the deficie......
  • Hill v. Knab, CASE NO. 2:11-CV-755
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • November 1, 2012
    ...as to require reversal of a conviction. See State v. Smith (1985), 17 Ohio St.3d 98, 477 N.E.2d 1128; State v. Bradley (1989), 42 Ohio St.3d 136, 538 N.E.2d 373.***Hill. . . argues that his counsel's waiver of the presence of a court reporter to record voir dire proceedings constituted defi......
  • Davis v. Shoop, Case No. 2:16-cv-495
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • June 16, 2020
    ...permitted to evaluate the "deficient performance" and "prejudice" prongs in either order. Id. at PageID 6636, quoting State v. Bradley, 42 Ohio St. 3d 136, 143 (1989); Strickland, 466 U.S. at 697. As to the First Ground, the court concluded that the evidence that Davis claimed had not been ......
  • Rhines v. Morgan, Case No. 3:13-cv-238
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • December 3, 2013
    ...Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984), and adopted by the Supreme Court of Ohio in State v. Bradley (1989), 42 Ohio St.3d 136, 538 N.E.2d 373, * * * . Pursuant to those cases, trial counsel is entitled to a strong presumption that his or her conduct falls within th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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