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State v. Moore

Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District

July 5, 2013

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
HAROLD MOORE, Defendant-Appellant.

Criminal Appeal From: Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas TRIAL NO. B-1205835

Joseph T. Deters, Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney, and Melynda J. Machol, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Plaintiff-Appellee,

Fox & Scott, PLLC, and Bradley Fox, for Defendant-Appellant. Please note: this case has been removed from the accelerated calendar.

OPINION

DeWine, Judge.

{¶1} Harold Moore was convicted of two counts of receiving stolen property: one count for a stolen SUV, and the other count for a license plate that had been placed on the stolen vehicle. In this appeal, he argues that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel, that his convictions were not supported by sufficient evidence and were against the weight of the evidence, and that the trial court abused its discretion in sentencing him to the maximum allowable prison term. We are not persuaded, so we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

I.

{¶2} On the morning of Friday, August 24, 2012, Lawrence Kemper walked outside to discover that the license plate on his car had mysteriously disappeared, a circumstance he subsequently reported to the police. That same day, a 2001 Chevy Suburban went missing from Advanced Auto Sales, a used car lot in Cheviot, Ohio.

{¶3} After discovering the vehicle missing, Cindy Devers, one of the owners of the car lot, reviewed a video recorded by the lot's surveillance cameras the night before. She could see a person putting a license plate on the SUV, entering the SUV, and driving off in the SUV, but was unable to make out the person's face or features. Ms. Devers showed the video to police officers, who also were unable to make out any identifiable features of the thief.

{¶4} That night, Cincinnati Police Officer Tom DeFranco was patrolling the Over-the-Rhine area of Cincinnati in a marked police car. He ran the license plate of a black Suburban and learned that the license plate had been reported stolen. Before he could pull the Suburban over, two individuals got out and started walking. Officer DeFranco caught up with the driver, whom he subsequently identified as Mr. Moore. He entered the Suburban's vehicle identification number into his computer and determined that the SUV also had been reported stolen by the car lot. When the police officer asked Mr. Moore for the keys to the vehicle, Mr. Moore stated that he had given them to his cousin, whom he refused to name. Officer DeFranco arrested Mr. Moore and arranged for the Suburban to be towed.

{¶5} The following Monday, Ms. Devers was told that the vehicle had been located. When the SUV was retrieved from an impound lot, the steering column had been stripped. At trial, Ms. Devers identified Mr. Moore as a person who had come to the car lot at least twice asking about the Suburban one or two weeks before she discovered the vehicle missing. She remembered Mr. Moore because he had several distinctive tattoos. After she learned that Cincinnati police had made an arrest in the case, she viewed Mr. Moore's photograph on the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts' website. She recognized Mr. Moore as the person who had visited the lot and inquired about the Suburban.

{¶6} Mr. Moore took the stand in his own defense. He denied that he had known that the SUV and license plate had been stolen, claiming that had he known, he would have sped away from the police officers on the night that he was stopped.

{¶7} At the conclusion of the bench trial, the court found Mr. Moore guilty as charged and sentenced him to 18 months for one count and 12 months for the other. The sentences were made concurrent with each other.

II.

{¶8} In his first assignment of error, Mr. Moore asserts that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel. To succeed on this assignment, he must demonstrate that his counsel's performance was deficient, and that, absent his counsel's errors, the result of the proceedings would have been different. Stricklandv. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 ...


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