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State of Ohio v. Joseph J. Bronczyk

November 17, 2011

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
JOSEPH J. BRONCZYK DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-540345

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kenneth A. Rocco, J.:

Cite as State v. Bronczyk,

JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

JUDGMENT:

AFFIRMED IN PART, MODIFIED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART AND REMANDED

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

{¶1} Defendant-appellant Joseph Bronczyk appeals from his convictions for burglary, theft, attempted burglary, possession of criminal tools, and tampering with evidence, and from the eight-year prison term the trial court imposed for those convictions.

{¶2} Bronczyk presents six assignments of error. He claims his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance, his convictions are not supported by either sufficient evidence or the manifest weight of the evidence, the introduction into evidence of one of the state's exhibits violated his "right to remain silent," and the trial court failed to comply with statutory requirements in sentencing him.

{¶3} Upon a review of the record, this court cannot agree that Bronczyk's trial counsel was ineffective. In addition, Bronczyk's convictions for burglary, attempted burglary, and possession of criminal tools are supported by the evidence. However, the state failed to present sufficient evidence to prove the allegations of the furthermore clause set forth in Count 2, theft, and failed to present sufficient evidence to support Bronczyk's conviction for tampering with evidence.

{¶4} This disposition requires a modification of Bronczyk's conviction on Count 2, and reversal of his conviction on Count 6. Except with respect to Bronczyk's convictions on Counts 2 and 6, his arguments with respect to the trial court's imposition of sentence are rejected. Bronczyk's convictions and sentences, therefore, are affirmed in part, modified in part, and reversed in part, and this case is remanded for resentencing consistent with this opinion.

{¶5} Bronczyk's convictions in this case result from two separate incidents. The first occurred on the afternoon of July 15, 2010.

{¶6} Antoinette Finding testified that she was reading the newspaper at her kitchen table when she looked out her window and noticed activity taking place across the street at her neighbor's house. A man, whom she recognized as Bronczyk, was walking around Eugene Mueller's yard. As Finding watched, Bronczyk picked up a ladder lying in the front lawn, then carried the ladder around to the rear of Mueller's house.

{¶7} Soon thereafter, Finding saw Bronczyk climb onto the roof of the "breezeway" that connected Mueller's garage to his house. Bronczyk crossed the roof to the house's second-floor window, lifted, and disappeared into Mueller's house. Finding called the Parma police.

{¶8} A few minutes later, two police officers arrived at Mueller's house, viz., Eric Jezior and Edward Pinc. They walked around the property, noticing a ladder against the rear of the house. When the officers looked up to the second floor, they saw Bronczyk exiting backwards from the window.

{¶9} Jezior immediately called out to Bronczyk, who appeared to be "startled" at the sound. The officers asked him to come down; they moved the ladder slightly to better facilitate the process. Bronczyk explained to the officers that he was doing work around the house for Mueller, went up to the roof, and "couldn't get to the ladder to get down, so he was going through the house to come downstairs and unlock a door" to let himself out.

{¶10} Bronczyk's explanation made little sense to the officers, since they saw him emerge from the window, and since the ladder had been propped against the roof within his reach. They proceeded to contact Mueller by telephone. Mueller confirmed that he had hired Bronczyk to do some outside chores, but indicated Bronczyk had no reason to be inside the house. Nevertheless, Mueller told the officers that he wanted to speak to Bronczyk before taking any action, so the two officers left.

{¶11} When Mueller returned to the house after work, Bronczyk came over and told him that the reason "he pried the window up" was because "the ladder fell off the garage roof." Mueller initially believed Bronczyk, but subsequently noticed some items inside the house were moved. In particular, Mueller saw that "a Sony camera and two diamond rings" were in a cardboard box placed near the window that Bronczyk had opened.

{¶12} After making this discovery, Mueller went to the police station and wrote out a complaint. Officer Oliver Simic investigated Mueller's complaint on July 17, 2010. Simic spoke to Finding and Mueller, took photographs of the exterior of Mueller's house, and photographed the items inside the box near the window. A warrant was issued for Bronczyk's arrest.

{¶13} The second incident occurred on the afternoon of July 31, 2010. Angel Williams testified she lived in Parma on Theota Avenue. Her address was "four blocks" east of Bronczyk's residence. She went into her kitchen to "grab something to eat" and, as she looked out the window, she saw "a strange man," later identified as Bronczyk, enter her backyard.

{¶14} At first, Williams thought Bronczyk might be searching for a lost pet, but then she heard "the handle of [her] screen door in the back jiggle." She approached her rear door, and, looking through the glass panes, "saw this man trying to get into the window of [her] children's bedroom." Williams called 911.

{¶15} While she was on the telephone, Bronczyk returned to "the back stoop with a screwdriver in his hand." She stepped closer to her rear door, and she and Bronczyk "were face-to-face with the glass of the door between us." Bronczyk saw Williams standing there with a telephone; "he ran."

{¶16} Pinc was one of the officers who heard the radio broadcast about Williams's call. He advised his colleagues that the description of both the incident and the suspect were similar to an earlier incident in which he had been involved. Pinc provided Bronczyk's address to the other officers.

{ΒΆ17} Officer Thomas O'Grady drove to the street where Bronczyk resided. As O'Grady turned onto the street, he saw Bronczyk walking toward his home across a neighbor's lawn. Bronczyk approached the side door of his home as O'Grady drove into Bronczyk's driveway. Although O'Grady stopped and ordered Bronczyk to remain outside, Bronczyk replied "he's not going to jail," and entered his home. O'Grady and another responding officer eventually forced their way into the house to arrest Bronczyk. ...


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