Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Jefferson
Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of Jefferson County,
Ohio Case No. 15 CR 18
Plaintiff-Appellee Attorney Jane Hanlin Jefferson County
Defendant-Appellant Attorney April Campbell.
JUDGES: Hon. Mary DeGenaro Hon. Gene Donofrio Hon. Cheryl L.
Defendant-Appellant, Corey Lyons, appeals the trial
court's judgment convicting him of multiple offenses and
sentencing him accordingly. Lyons alleges error during voir
dire, challenges his tampering with evidence conviction, his
sentence, and the effectiveness of trial counsel. As
Lyon's arguments are meritless, the judgment of the trial
court is affirmed.
Captain John Lemal of the Steubenville Police Department was
on late night patrol when he witnessed a fight occurring at
Club 106 and called for assistance. When he exited his
vehicle, Lemal noted that several people were pushing and
screaming. He advised the two groups to separate. About half
of the group went back inside the bar; however, three to four
females and Lyons began walking north in the parking lot of
Lemal heard a metallic sound as something hit the gravel, at
which point Lemal could see it was a Smith and Wesson
firearm. Officer Nate Cline arrived on the scene and Lemal
pointed out the weapon to Cline, and ordered everyone to
immediately stop. Lyons did not stop; he began to walk
faster. Lemal observed Lyons reach into the right side of his
coat or pants prompting Lemal to draw his own weapon and
pursue Lyons. Lyons removed a .40 Ruger and threw it near a
vehicle parked outside the club. The Ruger was loaded and had
one round in the chamber. Thereafter, Lyons fled and officers
were unable to locate him.
The grand jury indicted Lyons for having a weapon while under
disability, tampering with evidence, carrying a concealed
weapon and failure to comply with the order of a police
officer. The matter proceeded to trial and the parties
stipulated that Lyons was subject to a weapons disability and
not permitted to have a weapon for any reason.
Lyons was convicted of all charges, and sentenced to three
years for having a weapon as a convicted felon, two years for
tampering with evidence, eighteen months for carrying a
concealed weapon, all to be served consecutively. Lyons was
sentenced to six months for his misdemeanor failure to comply
conviction to be served concurrently with his felony
In his first of six assignments of error, Lyons asserts:
Lyons' convictions should be reversed because the
prosecutor indoctrinated the jury in voir dire, substantially
affecting Lyons' right to a fair trial.
Lyons argues that the State provided overly detailed facts
about the case during voir dire which prejudiced him. The
State responds that voir dire was appropriate and stated
basic facts that constituted the charged offenses which were
confirmed by witnesses testifying during its case in chief.
Counsel for Lyons did not object to any statements made by
the State during voir dire, instead indicating the defense
was satisfied with the seated jury. As such, Lyons has waived
all but plain error. Plain error is obvious and but for the
error, the outcome of the trial clearly would have been
otherwise. State v. Johnson, 7th Dist. No. 12 MA
137, 2014-Ohio-4253, ¶ 58.
Lyons relies upon State v. Clark, 981 S.W.2d 143,
146-147 (Mo.1998), for the proposition that explicit factual
detail during voir dire is impermissible, but cites no Ohio
case adopting this position. Lyons also relies on State
v. Jackson, 107 Ohio St.3d 53, 2005-Ohio-5981, 836
N.E.2d 1173, but the Ohio Supreme Court's holding in that
case is contrary to Lyons' argument:
"While it is improper for counsel to seek a commitment
from prospective jurors on whether they would find specific
evidence mitigating, State v. Bedford, 39 Ohio St.3d
at 129, 529 N.E.2d 913, counsel should be permitted to
present uncontested facts to the venire directed at revealing
prospective jurors' biases. Turner v. Murray
(1986), 476 U.S. 28, 36-37, 106 S.Ct. 1683, 90 L.Ed.2d 27.
Jackson, ¶ 52.
The State presented uncontested facts to the venire about the
crimes, which were confirmed by witnesses during its case in
chief. As Lyons did not establish any error, let alone plain
error, this assignment of error is meritless.
In his second of six assignments of error, Lyons asserts:
The prosecutor's reason to preemptively strike the only
black juror from the jury was race central, not race neutral
under Batson, and the prosecutor's additional
reason to exercise her preemptory strike was a pretext for
The Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution
prohibits purposeful discrimination in the exercise of a
peremptory challenge to excuse a juror based upon race.
Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 89, 106 S.Ct. 1712,
1719, 90 L.Ed.2d 69 (1986). The United States Supreme Court
outlined a three-step process for evaluating claims that a
prosecutor has used peremptory challenges unconstitutionally;
first, the defendant must make a prima facie showing that the
prosecutor has exercised peremptory challenges on the basis
of race. Id. at 96-97. Second, the burden shifts to
the prosecutor to articulate a race-neutral explanation for
striking the jurors in question. Id. at 97-98.
Finally, the trial court must determine whether the defendant
has carried his burden of proving purposeful discrimination.
Id. at 98. An appellate court will not reverse the
trial court's decision there was no discrimination unless
it is clearly erroneous. See State v. Hernandez, 63
Ohio St.3d 577, 583, 589 N.E.2d 1310 (1992).
Lyons satisfied the first element of a prima facie case;
counsel objected after the prospective juror-who was the only
African-American-was dismissed. Consequently, the burden
shifted to the prosecutor to articulate a race-neutral