Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Powell

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Lorain

May 30, 2017

STATE OF OHIO, Appellee
v.
RAYSHAUN N. POWELL, Appellant

         APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF LORAIN, OHIO CASE No. 10CR081774

          PETER GALYARDT, Assistant State Public Defender, for Appellant.

          DENNIS P. WILL, Prosecuting Attorney, and NATASHA RUIZ GUERRIERI, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          THOMAS A. TEODOSIO, Judge.

         {¶1} Appellant, Rayshaun N. Powell, appeals from his conviction for rape in the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas. We affirm.

         I.

         {¶2} This Court previously summarized the underlying facts in the case as follows:

In the summer of 2010, Y.M. and her family began staying with a friend of her mother's. The friend, Erica Perez, was married to Powell, who was incarcerated when Y.M.'s family began living with Perez. Several weeks after they began living with Perez, however, Powell was released from prison and came to stay at the apartment. According to Y.M., Powell sexually assaulted her one night when she and the other children at the apartment were left alone with him. According to Powell, the assault never occurred. Y.M. told her mother about the assault several weeks after she and her family had moved out of Perez' apartment.
A grand jury indicted Powell on one count of rape, in violation of R.C. 2907.02(A)(2). Powell waived his right to a jury, and a bench trial was held. The trial court found Powell guilty and sentenced him to eight years in prison.

State v. Powell 9th Dist. Lorain No. 12CA010284, 2014-Ohio-63, ¶ 2-3. Mr. Powell appealed his rape conviction, raising sufficiency of the evidence and manifest weight of the evidence arguments, and this Court affirmed. Id. at ¶ 21.

         {¶3} Mr. Powell filed a petition to vacate or set aside judgment of conviction or sentence in the trial court, which was denied. He appealed and this Court affirmed, stating that the trial court lacked the authority to consider the untimely petition for post-conviction relief and correctly denied it. State v. Powell 9th Dist. Lorain No. 14CA010565, 2015-Ohio-145, ¶ 7.

         {¶4} Mr. Powell also filed a pro se motion to reopen his appeal, which this Court granted. He argued that the trial court exhibited judicial bias toward him and erred in prohibiting cross-examination of the alleged victim regarding prior false accusations of sexual activity. This Court confirmed its prior judgment by journal entry because Mr. Powell failed to raise an argument regarding ineffective assistance of appellate counsel in accordance with App.R. 26(B)(7).

         {¶5} Mr. Powell filed a motion for leave to file a motion for a new trial in the trial court, which was denied. On appeal, this Court vacated the trial court's denial of the motion because the trial court lacked jurisdiction to consider the motion on the merits while Mr. Powell's case was pending on appeal. State v. Powell 9th Dist. Lorain No. 14CA010642, 2015-Ohio-1879, ¶ 7-8.

         {¶6} Mr. Powell filed another application to reopen his appeal, which this Court granted.

         {¶7} Mr. Powell now appeals from his conviction and raises four assignments of error for this Court's review.

          II.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR ONE

THE TRIAL COURT EXHIBITED JUDICIAL BIAS TOWARD RAYSHAUN POWELL, IN VIOLATION OF HIS RIGHT TO FAIR TRIAL AND DUE PROCESS OF LAW, AS PROTECTED BY THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION. []

         {¶8} In his first assignment of error, Mr. Powell argues that he was denied his right to a fair trial and due process of law because some comments made by the trial court judge exhibited bias toward Mr. Powell.

         {¶9} "It is well[-]settled that a criminal trial before a biased judge is fundamentally unfair and denies a defendant due process of law." State v. LaMar, 95 Ohio St.3d 181, 2002-Ohio-2128, ¶ 34. Judicial bias is "a hostile feeling or spirit of ill will or undue friendship or favoritism toward one of the litigants or his attorney, with the formation of a fixed anticipatory judgment on the part of the judge, as contradistinguished from an open state of mind which will be governed by the law and the facts." State ex rel Pratt v. Weygandt, 164 Ohio St. 463 (1956), paragraph four of the syllabus. "A judge is presumed to follow the law and not to be biased, and the appearance of bias or prejudice must be compelling to overcome these presumptions." In re Disqualification of George, 100 Ohio St.3d 1241, 2003-Ohio-5489, ¶ 5.

         {¶10} After redirect examination of the mother during trial, the trial court judge conducted his own examination of the witness:

THE COURT: My understanding, according to the prosecutor's opening statement, this assault would have taken place in the evening.
THE WITNESS: Yes.
THE COURT: That would have been a time when you were maybe visiting someone in the apartment building?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
THE COURT: And your little ones would be home with Mr. Powell?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
THE COURT: By themselves?
THE WITNESS: M-hm
THE COURT: What were you thinking?
THE WITNESS: Well, at times Erica was there, so I wouldn't know if she would take off. She would just take off whenever she wanted to.
THE COURT: So she is - - she's likely to take off - -
THE WITNESS: M-hm
THE COURT: - - and leave your four little ones with her boyfriend that you barely know, who was just released from the ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.