Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Fayette
APPEAL FROM FAYETTE COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS Case No. CRI
C. Weade, Fayette County Prosecuting Attorney, for
H. Eckstein, for defendant-appellant.
1} Defendant-appellant, Lance Tyree, appeals his
conviction in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas for
2} Tyree, who had twice before been convicted of
domestic violence, went to the victim's home and later
choked her during an argument. The victim, who shared two
children with Tyree, was able to free herself from
Tyree's choke hold, and ran out of the house. The victim
called the police department, and entered her car to drive
away. She then saw a police officer, stopped him, and told
him what Tyree had done to her. The officer told the victim
to return to her home, which she did.
3} However, upon her arrival to her house, the
victim saw that her house was on fire and that Tyree was
trying to put the fire out. The victim left again, and
informed the same police officer that her house was on fire.
The police officer called the fire department, and went with
the victim back to her house. There, they were met by the
fire department and by another police officer who saw Tyree
at the rear of the victim's home.
4} Tyree was ultimately arrested for domestic
violence, and pled not guilty to the charges. Because Tyree
had two previous convictions for domestic violence, the
charge was filed as a felony of the third degree, and the
matter was considered by the common pleas court. During the
final pretrial hearing, Tyree orally moved the court to
appoint him new counsel. However, the trial court denied
Tyree's request, and the matter proceeded to trial. A
jury found Tyree guilty, and the trial court sentenced him to
three years in prison. Tyree now appeals his conviction,
raising the following assignments of error.
5} Assignment of Error No. 1:
6} THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR AND
DENIED DEFENDANT-APPELLANT A FAIR TRIAL AND DUE PROCESS OF
LAW WHEN IT DENIED HIS MOTION FOR NEW COUNSEL IN VIOLATION OF
HIS FIFTH, SIXTH, AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT RIGHTS UNDER THE
UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION, AND SECTIONS 10 AND 16, ARTICLE I
OF THE OHIO CONSTITUTION.
7} Tyree argues in his first assignment of error
that the trial court should have granted his motion for new
8} "An indigent defendant has no right to have
a particular attorney represent him and therefore must
demonstrate 'good cause' to warrant substitution of
counsel." State v. Liso, 12th Dist. Brown Nos.
CA2013-11-013 and CA2013-11-016, 2014-Ohio-3549, ¶ 7.
"Good cause" includes a conflict of interest, a
complete breakdown in communication, or an irreconcilable
conflict which leads to an apparently unjust result.
State v. Bullock, 12th Dist. Clermont No.
CA2005-04-031, 2006-Ohio-598, ¶ 13.
9} "The decision whether to substitute an
appointed attorney for an indigent defendant is within the
trial court's discretion." State v.
Bizzell, 12th Dist. Clinton No. CA2006-04-015,
2007-Ohio-2160, ¶ 6. This court reviews a trial
court's decision denying a defendant's request to
substitute appointed counsel under an abuse of discretion
standard. State v. Hubbard, 12th Dist. Warren No.
CA2007-01-008, 2008-Ohio-2630, ¶ 5. An abuse of
discretion implies that the court's decision was
unreasonable, arbitrary, or unconscionable, and not merely an
error of law or judgment. Liso at ¶ 8.
10} During the final pretrial hearing, Tyree asked
the trial court why the original date of his trial had been
rescheduled. At that point, Tyree's counsel explained
that she had requested a continuance due to a conflict she
had with the original date. After the trial court explained
that it had ...