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State v. Mitchell

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District

August 30, 2013

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
CHRISTOPHER D. MITCHELL, Defendant-Appellant

(Criminal appeal from Common Pleas Court) T.C. NO. 11CR3458.

KIRSTEN A. BRANDT, Atty. Reg. No. 0070162, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Attorney for Plaintiff-Appellee

DANIEL E. BRINKMAN, Atty. Reg. No. 0025365, Attorney for Defendant-Appellant.

OPINION

YARBROUGH, J.

I. Introduction

(¶ 1} Appellant, Christopher Mitchell, appeals the judgment of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, finding him guilty of multiple offenses including failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer, receiving stolen property, and aggravated robbery with a firearm specification. For the following reasons, we affirm.

A. Facts and Procedural Background

(¶ 2} On the morning of October 5, 2011, Mitchell entered the Shiloh Quick Clean Laundromat on North Main Street in Harrison Township and robbed William Tipton at gunpoint. While wearing a red t-shirt over his face in order to conceal his identity, Mitchell ordered Tipton to "give me your keys and all your money or I'm going to kill you." After Tipton complied, Mitchell proceeded to drive off in Tipton's red Dodge Avenger.

(¶ 3} The next day, Dayton Police spotted Mitchell driving Tipton's vehicle and a chase ensued. Mitchell was ultimately apprehended by the police, but only after he crashed the Avenger and attempted to flee on foot. Mitchell was wearing a red t-shirt at the time of his arrest.

(¶ 4} In an effort to determine whether Mitchell was the man who robbed Tipton, detective Kent Saunders created a photographic lineup using the Montgomery County Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS). The CJIS automatically generated a group of photos that matched Mitchell's physical characteristics. From that group of photos, Saunders selected five photos of individuals that most closely matched Mitchell's physical appearance. Saunders' goal in selecting the photos was to prevent one photo from standing out from the rest of the photos.

(¶ 5} Tipton was subsequently contacted and asked to view the lineup. Saunders asked detective Melony Phelps-Powers to administer the lineup as a "blind" administrator as required under R.C. 2933.83, since Phelps-Powers had no prior knowledge of the case and was unaware of Mitchell's identity. After viewing the lineup, Tipton was able to identify Mitchell as the man who robbed him on October 5.

(¶ 6} Two weeks after Tipton identified him as the robber, Mitchell was indicted by the Montgomery County Grand Jury on one count of failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer in violation of R.C. 2921.331(B) and (C)(5), and one count of receiving stolen property in violation of R.C. 2913.51(A). One month later, Mitchell was indicted by the grand jury on one count of aggravated robbery in violation of R.C. 2911.01(A)(1), along with an attendant firearm specification. Mitchell initially pled not guilty to all of the charges.

(¶ 7} On December 14, 2011, Mitchell moved to suppress his identification stemming from the photographic lineup. A hearing was held, and, on April 9, 2012, the trial court issued its decision overruling Mitchell's motion.

(¶ 8} On August 9, 2012, Mitchell changed his initial plea as to the counts contained in the first indictment. Consequently, he pled guilty to failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer, and no contest to receiving stolen property. A jury trial was held on the aggravated robbery charge. Ultimately, Mitchell was found guilty of aggravated robbery along with the firearm specification. At sentencing, ...


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