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State v. Hunter

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

June 8, 2017

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT
v.
ISAAC HUNTER DEFENDANT-APPELLEE

         Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-16-604839-A

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor BY: Daniel T. Van Brett Hammond Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Mark Stanton Cuyahoga County Public Defender BY: Erika B. Cunliffe Assistant Public Defender.

          BEFORE: E.T. Gallagher, J., E.A. Gallagher, P.J., and Laster Mays, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          EILEEN T. GALLAGHER, J.

         {¶1} Appellant, the state of Ohio, appeals the decision of the trial court to dismiss the indictment against defendant-appellee, Isaac Hunter ("Hunter"), for preindictment delay. The state raises the following assignment of error:

The trial court erred in dismissing the indictment as appellee failed to present evidence establishing that he suffered substantial and actual prejudice due to preindictment delay.

         {¶2} After careful review of the record and relevant case law, we reverse the trial court's judgment and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

         I. Procedural and Factual History

         {¶3} On April 27, 1997, 13-year-old Jane Doe was walking with her female friends when she was approached by her boyfriend, Hunter, who was 16 years old at the time, and three other juvenile males. One of the juvenile males showed Jane Doe a gun in his waistband, and the juvenile males forced her into a nearby abandoned house. Once inside the abandoned house, the four juvenile males ordered Jane Doe to remove her clothes. After several minutes, Hunter made his friends leave the room and he then forced Jane Doe to have vaginal sex with him.

         {¶4} Jane Doe subsequently went home and immediately told her mother what had occurred. Her mother contacted the police, who took a statement from Jane Doe, and initiated a search for the suspects based on the available information. Jane Doe was then transported to Mt. Sinai Medical Center, and a rape kit was collected. Ultimately, the investigating officers did not pursue the matter further because Jane Doe indicated that she was scared to move forward with the case because she attended the same school as the four juvenile males.

         {¶5} In February 2014, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation ("BCI") processed Jane Doe's rape kit as a part of a sexual assault initiative. In November 2015, BCI determined that semen recovered from Jane Doe's jeans matched a sample of Hunter's DNA.

         {¶6} In March 2016, Hunter was indicted on charges of rape and kidnapping, arising from the incident that occurred nearly 19 years earlier. In June 2016, Hunter filed a motion to dismiss his indictment based on preindictment delay, stating that "the inexcusable delay of the State of Ohio in failing to formally indict Mr. Hunter with the rape and kidnapping until just one year short of twenty years is a violation of his due process rights under both the Federal and Ohio Constitutions." Hunter further argued that the state's delay led to the loss of critical evidence and substantially prejudiced his ability to confront and defend against the charges levied against him. The state opposed the motion and a hearing was held in June 2016.

         {¶7} At the hearing, Officer Anthony Krastas testified that he was involved in the investigation into the cold rape case that occured on April 27, 1997. Officer Krastas stated that Hunter was named a suspect in that case and that Hunter's age and address were known by the police in 1997. In the course of his investigation, Officer Krastas came to learn of multiple witnesses, including Hunter, the three other juvenile male suspects, and a female friend of Jane Doe, who was believed to have seen the gun at the time Jane Doe was threatened with the weapon. Officer Krastas testified that he was only able to locate one of the other juvenile males, who were alleged to have been involved in the incident. However, the juvenile male indicated that he had no memory of ...


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