Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Mahoning
Appeal from the Municipal Court of Youngstown, Mahoning
County, Ohio Case No. 16 CRB 778
Plaintiff-Appellee Attorney Dana Lantz Youngstown City
Prosecutor Attorney Jeffrey Moliterno Assistant Prosecutor
Defendant-Appellant Attorney Edward Czopur Attorney James
JUDGES: Hon. Mary DeGenaro Hon. Cheryl L. Waite Hon. Carol
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
In her first of two assignments of ...