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State v. Phillips

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

April 6, 2017

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
CACHET M. PHILLIPS DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

         Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-14-588041-A

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Stephanie B. Scalise Scalise Legal Services, L.L.C.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, Ashley B. Kilbane Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

          BEFORE: Keough, A.J., E.T. Gallagher, J., and Boyle, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          KATHLEEN ANN KEOUGH, ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant, Cachet M. Phillips ("Phillips"), appeals from her conviction for felonious assault. She contends that (1) the trial court erred in admitting hearsay evidence at trial, (2) her trial counsel was ineffective, and (3) her convictions are against the manifest weight of the evidence. Finding no merit to the appeal, we affirm.

         I. Procedural History and Facts

         {¶2} Phillips was indicted on five counts of felonious assault in violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(2), i.e., knowingly causing or attempting to cause physical harm to the named victim by means of a deadly weapon, to wit, a motor vehicle. She pleaded not guilty, and the case proceeded to a jury trial.

          A. The State's Case

         {¶3} Shayla Williams ("Williams") testified at trial that at approximately 11:30 p.m. on August 2, 2014, she drove her sister Destiny Roberson and three of her sister's friends - Charnae Simpson, Shariae Simpson, and Diamond Wilson - to the Stumble Inn, a bar located on West 25th Street in Cleveland.

         {¶4} At approximately 2 a.m., Williams saw Phillips and several other women fighting with her sister and her sister's friends in the parking lot of the Stumble Inn. Security guards broke up the fight, and Williams, her sister, and her sister's friends got in Williams's car, a blue Alero. Williams saw Phillips, who was driving a silver Optima, turn right out of the parking lot, so Williams turned left onto West 25th Street to avoid going in the same direction as Phillips and her friends.

          {¶5} As Williams approached the Lorain Carnegie bridge, however, she heard honking and yelling, and saw that the silver Optima, driven by Phillips, was directly behind her. Williams said the Optima stayed behind her, and the honking and yelling continued, as she drove across the bridge. Williams testified that the women in the Optima were "all fired up, " and everyone in her car was "fired up, " but she told the occupants of her car that she was not going to stop for a fight.

         {¶6} Williams said that the silver Optima followed her when she turned right onto Carnegie Avenue. At a red light at Ontario Street, Williams pulled her car into the middle lane. According to Williams, the silver Optima stopped a little behind her car in the right turn lane. Williams said there were no cars in front of either car.

         {¶7} Williams testified that one of the women in the Optima then got out of the car and yelled, "West 28th, bitch, get out of the car." Williams said that when her sister's friend Charnae, who had been yelling back, dropped her cigarette out of the window and opened the car door to retrieve it, the woman got back in the Optima.

         {¶8} According to Williams, when the light turned green, her head hit the steering wheel, and "all our bodies just flew up." Concluding that Phillips had hit her car, Williams got out of the Alero and walked back to the Optima to exchange insurance information. Williams said that the Optima's front bumper was stuck under the right bumper of her car. Williams testified that when she saw Phillips put her car in reverse in order to drive away, she ran to the back of the Optima and ripped the license plate from the car. After about five minutes, Phillips got her car loose and drove away.

          {¶9} Williams said that she pulled her car over to the side of the road and called 911. The police did not arrive for nearly an hour and a-half, and Williams called 911 again several more times asking for help. Williams testified that in the meantime, a stranger stopped and asked if they needed a jump. Williams said that as he was helping them, she saw the silver Optima, driven by Phillips and filled with more women than before, drive past her car. Williams said that the Optima drove by, turned around, drove by again, and then parked a little down the street. At that moment, the police finally arrived on the scene, and the Optima drove away.

         {¶10} Williams testified that when the officer approached her car, she told him that the woman driving the Optima had just hit her. After the officer stopped the Optima, he returned to Williams's car, and Williams gave him the license plate she had pulled from the Optima. Williams said that she later identified Phillips, who by then was sitting in the backseat of the police cruiser, as the woman who had hit her car earlier that evening.

         {¶11} Finally, Williams testified that in February 2015, as she was shopping at a Walmart store, Phillips walked by with a friend, noticed her, and told her friend, "That's the bitch that car - something I hit."

         {¶12} Myrtis Duncan ("Duncan") testified that he was at the Stumble Inn and observed the fight in the parking lot around 2 a.m. on August 3, 2014. As he was driving home on Carnegie Avenue, he saw two cars pass him, both traveling at a high rate of speed. Duncan said that one of the cars was silver-colored and nearly clipped his car as it cut in front of him.

          {¶13} A short time later, Duncan saw the same silver car "lodged" at an angle under the back bumper of another car. Duncan said that the silver car was trying to back up and he saw the driver of the car it was lodged under get out and pull the license plate off the silver car. He said that when the cars came apart, he could ...


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