State v. Hamblin, No. 86-1846

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Ohio
Writing for the CourtHERBERT R. BROWN; MOYER
Citation37 Ohio St.3d 153,524 N.E.2d 476
PartiesThe STATE of Ohio, Appellee, v. HAMBLIN, Appellant.
Decision Date15 June 1988
Docket NumberNo. 86-1846

Page 153

37 Ohio St.3d 153
524 N.E.2d 476
The STATE of Ohio, Appellee,
v.
HAMBLIN, Appellant.
No. 86-1846.
Supreme Court of Ohio.
Submitted March 15, 1988.
Decided June 15, 1988.

John T. Corrigan, Pros. Atty., and Timothy J. McGinty, Cleveland, for appellee.

Jay B. White, Cleveland, for appellant.

HERBERT R. BROWN, Justice.

Our first task in a death penalty case is to consider the claims of error by appellant. Second, we must independently weigh the aggravating circumstances in this case against any factors which mitigate against the imposition of the death penalty. Finally, we must independently decide whether appellant's sentence is disproportionate to the penalty in similar cases. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm the judgment of the court of appeals and uphold the sentence of death.

I

At trial, the prosecution played portions of the tape-recorded interrogations of the appellant. Appellant asserts that he was denied due process when the tapes were admitted into evidence because they contained: (1) irrelevant and highly prejudicial statements, and (2) police theories of how the crimes were committed.

R.C. 2929.05(A) requires us to review the record. The tape-recordings encompass nearly one hundred pages of trial transcript. As a result of our review, we find that portions of the tapes contain inadmissible and irrelevant statements. The tapes place unsworn police testimony before the jury, which testimony does reinforce the prosecution's theory of the case. The testimony on the tapes does attack the appellant's character and credibility. Character and credibility of the appellant were not issues, since the appellant did not testify. See Evid.R. 404.

However, the trial court's error will be considered harmless if, absent the inadmissible statements, it is clear beyond a reasonable doubt that the jury would have found the appellant guilty. See Brown v. United States (1973), 411 U.S. 223, 231-232, 93 S.Ct. 1565, 1570-1571, 36 L.Ed.2d [524 N.E.2d 479] 208, Chapman v. California, (1967), 386 U.S. 18, 87 S.Ct. 824, 17 L.Ed.2d 705. Much of the taped material was cumulative to other properly admitted evidence and the state produced evidence, aside from the tapes, which conclusively established appellant's guilt. It is clear beyond a reasonable doubt that the jury would have found appellant guilty, without the inadmissible statements. Accordingly, the admission of the objectionable portions of the tapes was not prejudicial error.

II

Appellant asserts that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel which deprived him of a fair trial. Appellant's contention is based upon: (1) counsel's failure to object to the playing of the tape recordings, (2) counsel's failure to object to submission to the jury of a non-statutory aggravating factor, and (3) counsel's ineffective presentation at the mitigation stage of trial. The court of appeals did not address these three claims because appellant based his ineffective assistance of counsel claim upon different allegations in the court below. In the court of appeals, the appellant claimed ineffective assistance of counsel in that counsel (1) failed to renew a motion to sever the aggravated murder and aggravated robbery charges from the offenses of attempted murder and having a weapon under disability which resulted in prejudicial joinder, and (2) waived appellant's speedy trial rights, contrary to the best interests of appellant. Because this is a capital case, we will review all five arguments relating to the claim of ineffective assistance of counsel.

In Ohio, a properly licensed attorney

Page 156

is presumed competent. Vaughn v. Maxwell (1965), 2 Ohio St.2d 299, 301, 31 O.O.2d 567, 568, 209 N.E.2d 164, 166. The appellant bears the burden of proving that his trial counsel was ineffective. To carry this burden, appellant must show that counsel made errors so serious that counsel failed to function as the "counsel" guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment. Strickland v. Washington (1984), 466 U.S. 668, 687, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 2064, 80 L.Ed.2d 674. Appellant must also demonstrate that the deficient performance prejudicied his defense. To establish prejudice, appellant must show that there is a reasonable probability that but for counsel's mistakes, the result of the trial would have been different. Strickland, supra.
A

We find that counsel's failure to renew the motion to sever the offenses did not constitute ineffective assistance of counsel because the offenses were part of a common scheme or course of criminal conduct and properly joined under Crim.R. 14. Further, appellant failed to demonstrate that he was prejudiced by joinder of the offenses. (See discussion of the joinder question, infra.)

B

Defense counsel's waiver of appellant's speedy trial rights failed to constitute ineffective assistance of counsel since appellant was brought to trial within a reasonable time and appellant failed to show that he was prejudiced by the delay or denied a fair trial. The trial court ordered a continuance of the trial date to obtain a psychiatric examination of appellant. Appellant's counsel had requested the examination. Though counsel attempted to withdraw the request when appellant objected to the examination and refused to cooperate with mental health authorities, the court ordered the examination to go forward in order to make sure that appellant's rights were protected regarding his competency. Under the circumstances, counsel cannot be charged with ineffective assistance.

C

Appellant's contention that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel when counsel failed to object to the playing of the tape recordings is without merit. As noted earlier, the result of the trial would not have differed had the inadmissible portion of the tapes not been heard by the jury. See Strickland, supra.

524 N.E.2d 480

D

Appellant's contention that his representation was inadequate because counsel did not object to submission to the jury of a non-statutory aggravating factor is also without merit. Appellant correctly recognizes that R.C. 2941.14(B) limits the aggravating circumstances which may be considered in imposing the death penalty to those specifically enumerated in R.C. 2929.04(A). State v. Johnson (1986), 24 Ohio St.3d 87, 24 OBR 282, 494 N.E.2d 1061, syllabus. The indictment charged appellant with aggravated murder with two separate specifications. Specification 1 stated that the offense " * * * was committed while the offender was committing or...

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1055 practice notes
  • State v. Sekulic, No. 2016CA00135
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • June 12, 2017
    ...evidence of each crime is simple and distinct. State v. Schaim , 65 Ohio St.3d 51, 59, 600 N.E.2d 661 (1992), citing State v. Hamblin , 37 Ohio St.3d 153, 158–159, 524 N.E.2d 476 (1988) and Drew v. United States 331 F.2d 85 (D.C., 1964). "If the evidence of other crimes would be admissible ......
  • Garrison v. Gray, Case No. 2:18-cv-1152
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • August 1, 2019
    ...error, Appellant argues his trial counsel was ineffective.[*P25] A properly licensed attorney is presumed competent. State v. Hamblin, 37 Ohio St.3d 153, 524 N.E.2d 476 (1988). Therefore, in order to prevail on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel,Page 23 appellant must show counsel......
  • State v. Smith, 20CA3934
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • February 2, 2022
    ...47 Strickland, 466 U.S. at 687; e.g., State v. Gondor, 112 Ohio St.3d 377, 2006-Ohio-6679, 860 N.E.2d 77, ¶ 62; State v. Hamblin, 37 Ohio St.3d 153, 156, 524 N.E.2d 476 (1988). {¶82} To establish prejudice, a defendant must demonstrate that a reasonable probability exists that "'but for cou......
  • State v. Lykins, Case No. 18CA1079
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • August 12, 2019
    ...Strickland, 466 U.S. at 687; e.g., State v. Gondor, 112 Ohio St.3d 377, 2006-Ohio-6679, 860 N.E.2d 77, ¶ 62; State v. Hamblin, 37 Ohio St.3d 153, 156, 524 N.E.2d 476 (1988).2 {¶ 80} To establish prejudice, a defendant must demonstrate that a reasonable probability exists that "'but for coun......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1055 cases
  • State v. Sekulic, No. 2016CA00135
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • June 12, 2017
    ...evidence of each crime is simple and distinct. State v. Schaim , 65 Ohio St.3d 51, 59, 600 N.E.2d 661 (1992), citing State v. Hamblin , 37 Ohio St.3d 153, 158–159, 524 N.E.2d 476 (1988) and Drew v. United States 331 F.2d 85 (D.C., 1964). "If the evidence of other crimes would be admissible ......
  • Garrison v. Gray, Case No. 2:18-cv-1152
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • August 1, 2019
    ...error, Appellant argues his trial counsel was ineffective.[*P25] A properly licensed attorney is presumed competent. State v. Hamblin, 37 Ohio St.3d 153, 524 N.E.2d 476 (1988). Therefore, in order to prevail on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel,Page 23 appellant must show counsel......
  • State v. Smith, 20CA3934
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • February 2, 2022
    ...47 Strickland, 466 U.S. at 687; e.g., State v. Gondor, 112 Ohio St.3d 377, 2006-Ohio-6679, 860 N.E.2d 77, ¶ 62; State v. Hamblin, 37 Ohio St.3d 153, 156, 524 N.E.2d 476 (1988). {¶82} To establish prejudice, a defendant must demonstrate that a reasonable probability exists that "'but for cou......
  • State v. Lykins, Case No. 18CA1079
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • August 12, 2019
    ...Strickland, 466 U.S. at 687; e.g., State v. Gondor, 112 Ohio St.3d 377, 2006-Ohio-6679, 860 N.E.2d 77, ¶ 62; State v. Hamblin, 37 Ohio St.3d 153, 156, 524 N.E.2d 476 (1988).2 {¶ 80} To establish prejudice, a defendant must demonstrate that a reasonable probability exists that "'but for coun......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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