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In re T.J.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Sixth District

July 12, 2013

In re T.J.

Trial Court No. 12226528

Timothy Young, Ohio Public Defender, and Brooke M. Burns, Assistant Public Defender, for appellant.

DECISION AND JUDGMENT

YARBROUGH, J.

I. Introduction

{¶1} This is an appeal from the judgment of the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, finding appellant, T.J., delinquent on one count of felonious assault, a felony of the second degree if committed by an adult, along with a firearm specification. We affirm.

A. Facts and Procedural Background

{¶2} The background to the current incident began approximately one year earlier when the victim, Ameen Horn, "jumped" appellant, beating him up. Subsequently, on September 3, 2012, the day before the incident, appellant's friend, Shron, shot at Horn. Horn reported the shooting to the police, and was instructed to call them if he learned of Shron's whereabouts. The next day, September 4, 2012, Horn observed appellant and another boy walking down the street. Horn testified that he thought it was "ironic" that the first time appellant had come down that street in the year since he was beaten up was the day after appellant's friend shot at him. Horn, despite knowing that someone in appellant's group always carried a gun, left his house and chased after appellant. As the chase turned down an alleyway, appellant, while still running forward, looked back towards Horn and fired a single shot at him. The shot missed, and Horn ducked back to his house.

{¶3} Horn notified the police of the second shooting. An officer then drove Horn down a street where he identified appellant, Shron, and the other little boy, who were already in custody. Thereafter, the police received two separate anonymous tips directing them to a garage where the gun that was used in the shooting had been stashed.

{¶4} Appellant was transported to the Safety Building, where he was interrogated by Toledo Police Detective Jeff Quigley. Neither appellant's parent nor an attorney was present for the interrogation. Quigley testified that he presented appellant with a Miranda Rights waiver. Quigley read the waiver paragraph by paragraph to appellant, and asked appellant if he understood. After reading the entire waiver, Quigley told appellant that if he understood everything and wanted to talk, then he should sign the bottom of the form. Appellant's signed waiver was entered into evidence at the trial.

{¶5} During the subsequent interview, appellant first admitted that he stashed the gun in a garage, and later admitted that he shot at Horn. Appellant demonstrated that as he was running away from Horn, he reached back and fired one round in Horn's direction. Quigley testified that appellant's arm was close to parallel with the ground as he demonstrated how the gun was fired. On cross-examination, the portion of the video of the interrogation where appellant demonstrated how he fired the gun was played. Following the video, Quigley reaffirmed that appellant aimed the gun more or less parallel to the ground, although he stated it was closer to pointing to the ground than perpendicular up in the air.

{¶6} Following the state's presentation of evidence, appellant moved to have the charges dismissed on the grounds that there was no intent to cause harm because appellant did not stop to aim and fire, and because appellant fired only one shot. The trial court denied the motion. The defense then rested without presenting any evidence or witnesses. After closing arguments, the trial court found appellant delinquent of felonious assault, with the firearm specification, beyond a reasonable doubt.

B. Assignments of Error

{¶7} Appellant asserts two assignments of error for our review:

I. [T.J.] was denied the effective assistance of counsel when counsel failed to file a motion to suppress [T.J.]'s statement to police, and when counsel failed to object to the admission of [T.J.]'s statement through the testimony of law enforcement and to the admission of his signed rights waiver form, because he was not given the opportunity to consult with an attorney prior to waiving those rights. Fifth and ...

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