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State v. Cahill

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District

August 30, 2013

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
RONALD L. CAHILL, Defendant-Appellant

(Criminal Appeal from (Common Pleas Court) Trial Court Case No. 2010-CR-3609.

MATHIAS H. HECK, JR., by ANDREW T. FRENCH, Atty. Reg. #0069384, Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office, Appellate Division, Montgomery County Courts Building, Attorney for Plaintiff-Appellee.

RONALD CAHILL, Defendant-Appellant, pro se.

OPINION

FAIN, P.J.

(¶ 1} Defendant-appellant Ronald Cahill appeals from his conviction and sentence for Pandering Obscenity. He contends that his trial counsel was ineffective before trial for having failed to move to suppress the DVD forming the basis for the charge. He also contends that his trial counsel was ineffective during the trial.

(¶ 2} We conclude that the record does not bear out Cahill's contentions. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is Affirmed.

I. An Investigation Results in a Purchase of an Obscene DVD by an Undercover Police Officer

(¶ 3} Dayton Police Officer Jon Zimmerman received a report that child pornography was being sold at a video store on the 700 block of Troy Street, in Dayton. As a result of that report, Dayton Police Detective Raymond St. Clair began visiting the store, making the acquaintance of Cahill, who ran the store with one other individual.

(¶ 4} St. Clair, who was undercover, told Cahill he was interested in videos with young girls. Cahill had directed St. Clair to the back of the store, where videos with sexual content could be found. St. Clair purchased over 80 DVDs, over a period of several months. His purpose was to see if he could obtain evidence of child pornography. He never found any evidence that child pornography was being sold at the store.

(¶ 5} On July 12, 2010, during one of St. Clair's visits to the store, Cahill asked St. Clair if he was looking for anything unusual. When St. Clair said, "sure, " and asked Cahill what he had, Cahill told St. Clair that Cahill had "f*ck videos involving animals, specifically dogs."

(¶ 6} St. Clair went back to the store the next day, July 13, 2010, for the purpose of purchasing the DVD featuring bestiality that Cahill had described. Because St. Clair knew that if the DVD was as Cahill described it, Cahill would be violating the law by selling it, St. Clair equipped himself with a surreptitious video camera to record the transaction. When Cahill got the DVD from his backpack, Cahill told St. Clair that it was of "perfect quality, " and that Cahill had been surprised by the length or number of sex acts within the video.

(¶ 7} St. Clair purchased the DVD, entitled "Animal Mix, " from Cahill for $10, plus sales tax of 70 cents. The transaction was recorded on St. Clair's video camera.

(¶ 8} Before St. Clair had gone into the store, he noted, on the audiovisual recording, that it was July 13, 2010, and the time of day. He did this in part because the camera itself was designed to stamp a date and time on the recording, and it was showing a date of July 8, 2010. St. Clair explained that because it was a small camera, designed for undercover surveillance, the date-stamp could only be changed by hooking it up to a computer, and he did not know how to do that. It was showing the incorrect date.

(¶ 9} The investigation continued into October, 2010. At that point, St. Clair abandoned the child-pornography investigation, since no evidence had developed that Cahill or the store was dealing in child pornography.

II. The Course of Proceedings

(¶ 10} Cahill was charged with one count of Pandering Obscenity, in violation of R.C. 2907.32(a)(2), a felony of the fifth degree.

(¶ 11} Cahill was tried to a jury. The State offered the testimony of Zimmerman and St. Clair, the audiovisual recording of the transaction, the "Animal Mix" DVD that St. Clair purchased from Cahill, and a DVD consisting of excerpts from the "Animal Mix" DVD. Cahill presented no witnesses.

(¶ 12} The jury found Cahill guilty as charged. Cahill was sentenced to community control sanctions for a period not to exceed five years, and was classified as a Tier I sex offender.

(¶ 13} From his conviction and sentence, Cahill appeals. He assigns the following as errors:

THE PRIMARY ISSUE PRESENTED FOR REVIEW IS INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY FAILING TO ACT TO ASSURE THAT DEFENSE COUNSEL COMPETENTLY ...

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