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State v. Corchado

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Mahoning

June 16, 2017

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
BRENDALIZE CORCHADO DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

         Criminal Appeal from the Municipal Court of Youngstown, Mahoning County, Ohio Case No. 16 CRB 778

          For Plaintiff-Appellee Attorney Dana Lantz Youngstown City Prosecutor Attorney Jeffrey Moliterno Assistant Prosecutor

          For Defendant-Appellant Attorney Edward Czopur Attorney James Gentile

          JUDGES: Hon. Mary DeGenaro Hon. Cheryl L. Waite Hon. Carol Ann Robb

          OPINION

          DeGENARO, J.

         {¶1} Defendant-Appellant Brendalize Corchado appeals the trial court judgment convicting her of one count of assault and imposing a 90-day sentence. Corchado argues her sentence was erroneous because it resulted from the trial court's bias against her. She also argues that trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective for failing to move for disqualification of the trial court judge following the announcement of the verdict. As Corchado's assignments of error are meritless, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

         {¶2} Corchado was charged with one count of assault, R.C. 2903.13, a first-degree misdemeanor, in connection with a road rage incident. She pled not guilty, retained counsel, and the matter proceeded to a bench trial.

         {¶3} Testimony by the victim Tanya Trevathan and her boyfriend Joseph McGraw established that Trevathan was riding as a front passenger in McGraw's car. As they were driving, a vehicle operated by Corchado disregarded a stop sign and almost struck McGraw's vehicle. McGraw yelled obscenities at Corchado and the two vehicles parted ways. Soon thereafter, Corchado drove up behind the victim, and, along with another vehicle driven by Corchado's boyfriend, boxed McGraw's vehicle in, forcing it to a stop. Corchado's four-month-old child was in her vehicle during the incident.

         {¶4} Corchado and her boyfriend then approached McGraw's vehicle. Corchado struck Trevathan through the open passenger window, causing Trevathan's face to bleed; she hit Corchado in return. McGraw got out of the car and according to Trevathan and McGraw, Corchado's boyfriend grabbed a machete from his vehicle, causing McGraw to retreat and drive away with Trevathan until police could arrive. Trevathan later found Corchado's keys on the front passenger-side floor of the McGraw's vehicle. A machete was never recovered by police.

         {¶5} Corchado testified in her own defense and agreed that a road rage incident occurred and that McGraw's car did end up blocked in the road. She blamed McGraw for starting the incident, alleging he had gestured with his middle finger to her and "brake-checked" while driving in front of her. She admitted she left her child in her vehicle and approached McGraw's vehicle. Although she denied throwing the first punch into the car, she admitted exchanging blows with Trevathan. Photographs of Trevathan and Corchado's injuries were admitted into evidence.

         {¶6} During closing arguments, the State focused on the issue of credibility and argued the testimony of Corchado was not credible in that she wanted the trial court to believe that although she left her vehicle and approached the victim's car with keys in hand, she was not the primary aggressor.

         {¶7} The trial court found Corchado guilty of assault as charged. Sentencing was continued so that a pre-sentence investigation could be prepared. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered a mental health evaluation, anger management counseling and imposed a 90-day jail term as recommended by the PSI, to be followed by two years of intensive probation. Corchado was also ordered to pay a fine, plus court and supervision costs. Finally, Corchado was ordered to have no contact with the victim. Corchado successfully moved the trial court for a stay of her sentence pending appeal.

         Misdemeanor Sentencing

         {¶8} In her first of two assignments of ...


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