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State of Ohio v. Elexis Redding

October 20, 2011

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
ELEXIS REDDING DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-539460

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Colleen Conway Cooney, J.:

Cite as State v. Redding,

JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

JUDGMENT:

AFFIRMED IN PART; REVERSED IN PART

BEFORE: Cooney, J., Stewart, P.J., and S. Gallagher, J.

{¶1} Defendant-appellant, Elexis Redding ("Redding"), appeals his felonious assault conviction and sentence. We find some merit to the appeal and affirm the conviction but remand the case for a limited hearing on court costs.

{¶2} Redding was charged with felonious assault in violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(1), with a pregnant victim specification, and domestic violence. After several pretrials, the parties reached a plea agreement in which the state agreed to nolle the pregnant victim specification and the domestic violence charge in exchange for Redding's guilty plea to felonious assault. At the plea hearing, the court conducted a thorough Crim.R. 11 colloquy to ensure that he was entering his plea knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently, and Redding pled guilty to felonious assault.

{¶3} Following the plea, Redding's counsel advised the court that he had previously represented the victim's brother for a misdemeanor but did not realize the connection to this client until the morning of the plea hearing. Defense counsel further advised the court that he had shared the information with Redding's mother and informed Redding shortly before the plea hearing. After questioning Redding to determine whether he understood the potential conflict of interest, the court was satisfied that Redding knowingly entered his plea and, therefore, the court concluded the plea hearing.

{¶4} At a later date, the court sentenced Redding to a four-year prison term and three years of postrelease control. Redding now appeals, raising two assignments of error. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

{¶5} In the first assignment of error, Redding argues he was denied his Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel because his trial counsel had a conflict of interest. He contends that counsel's previous representation of the victim's brother in Parma Municipal Court adversely affected his performance.

{¶6} To prevail on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, a defendant must show that counsel's performance fell below an objective standard of reasonableness and that prejudice arose from counsel's performance. Strickland v. Washington (1984), 466 U.S. 668, 687, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674; State v. Bradley (1989), 42 Ohio St.3d 136, 538 N.E.2d 373, paragraph two of the syllabus. A defendant must show that counsel acted unreasonably and that, but for counsel's errors, there exists a reasonable probability that the result of the proceeding would have been different. Strickland at 696; Bradley at paragraph three of the syllabus.

{¶7} Counsel may be ineffective if his representation is divided by clients with competing interests. The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees that representation shall be free from conflicts of interest. State v. Dillon, 74 Ohio St.3d 166, 1995-Ohio-169, 657 N.E.2d 273. In State v. Gillard, 78 Ohio St.3d 548, 1997-Ohio-183, 679 N.E.2d 276, the Ohio Supreme Court recognized that "where a trial court knows or reasonably should know of an attorney's possible conflict of interest in the representation of a person charged with a crime, the trial court has an affirmative duty to inquire whether a conflict of interest actually exists. The duty to inquire arises not only from the general principles of fundamental fairness, but from the principle that where there is a right to counsel, there is a correlative right to representation free from conflicts of interest."

{¶8} In order to establish a Sixth Amendment violation due to a conflict of interest, "a defendant who raised no objection at trial must demonstrate that an actual conflict of interest adversely affected his lawyer's performance." Cuyler v. Sullivan (1980), 446 U.S. 335, 348, 100 S.Ct. 1708, 64 L.Ed.2d 333. "An actual conflict of interest exists if, during the course of the representation, the defendants' ...


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