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State v. Young

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

May 10, 2017

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
LEONARD J. YOUNG DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

         Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-15-595168-A Application for Reopening Motion No. 503850

          FOR APPELLANT Leonard J. Young, pro se

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, Andrew F. Rogalski Assistant County Prosecutor

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          KATHLEEN ANN KEOUGH, ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE

         {¶1} Leonard J. Young has filed a timely application for reopening pursuant to App.R. 26(B). Young is attempting to reopen the appellate judgment, rendered in State v. Young, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 103551, 2016-Ohio-7477, that affirmed his conviction for one count of rape and one count of kidnapping. We decline to reopen Young's original appeal.

         {¶2} In order to establish a claim of ineffective assistance of appellate counsel, Young is required to establish that the performance of his appellate counsel was deficient and the deficiency resulted in prejudice. Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 688, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984); State v. Bradley, 42 Ohio St.3d 136, 538 N.E.2d 373 (1989), cert. denied, 497 U.S. 1011, 110 S.Ct. 3258, 111 L.Ed.2d 767 (1990).

         {¶3} In Strickland, the United States Supreme Court held that a court's scrutiny of an attorney's work must be highly deferential. The court further stated that it is all too tempting for a defendant to second-guess his attorney after conviction and that it would be too easy for a court to conclude that a specific act or omission was deficient, especially when examining the matter in hindsight. Thus, a court must indulge a strong presumption that counsel's conduct falls within the wide range of reasonable professional assistance; that is, the defendant must overcome the presumption that, under the circumstances, the challenged action might be considered sound trial strategy.

         Strickland.

         {¶4} Herein, Young has raised two proposed assignments of error in support of his application for reopening. Young's initial proposed assignment of error is that:

Trial court erred when it denied appellant[']s request to terminate counsel violating the appellant's rights to adequate counsel under the sixth amendment of the United States Constitution.

         {¶5} Young, through his first proposed assignment of error, argues that the trial court erred by failing to terminate appointed counsel and appoint new counsel. When an indigent defendant makes a request for the termination of his appointed counsel and the appointment of new counsel, based upon effectiveness and adequacy of appointed counsel, the trial court is required to inquire into the defendant's allegation and make the inquiry part of the record. State v. Deal, 17 Ohio St.2d 17, 244 N.E.2d 742 (1969); State v. King, 104 Ohio App.3d 434, 662 N.E.2d 389 (4th Dist. 1995).

         {¶6} Herein, Young requested that the trial court discharge his appointed counsel and appoint new counsel, based upon the allegation that appointed counsel was inadequate, ineffective, and failed to honor Young's requests. The trial court inquired into Young's complaint on the record. See tr. 75. At the conclusion of the trial court's inquiry, Young clearly abandoned his request for discharge of appointed counsel. It must also be noted that even if Young had not abandoned his request for discharge of appointed counsel, we find that Young failed to demonstrate "a breakdown in the attorney-client relationship of such magnitude as to jeopardize a defendant's right to effective assistance of counsel." State v. Coleman, 37 Ohio St.3d 286, 292, 525 N.E.2d 792 (1988), quoting People v. Robles, 2 Cal.3d 205, 215, 85 Cal.Rptr. 166, 466 P.2d 710 (1970). It must also be noted that a defendant's right to counsel does not extend to counsel of the defendant's choice. Thurston v. Maxwell, 3 Ohio St.2d 92, 209 N.E.2d 204 (1965). Young has failed to establish that he was prejudiced by the failure of appellate counsel to argue the issue of trial court erred by not discharging appointed counsel.

         {¶7} Young's second proposed assignment of error in support of his application for reopening is that:

Prosecutorial misconduct violating the appellant's rights under the fourteenth and fifth amendment of the United ...

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