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State v. Patterson

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

October 26, 2017


         Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-16-606673-A

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT James J. Hofelich

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor BY: Ronni Ducoff Ashley B. Kilbane Assistant County Prosecutors

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


          MARY J. BOYLE, J.

         {¶1} The defendant-appellant, Ennis Patterson, appeals his convictions. He raises two assignments of error for our review:

1. Appellant's convictions were against the manifest weight of the evidence.
2.Appellant was denied his right to effective assistance of counsel.

         {¶2} Finding no merit to his appeal, we affirm.

         I. Procedural History and Factual Background

         {¶3} The Cuyahoga County Grand Jury indicted Patterson for one count of gross sexual imposition, with a sexually violent predator specification, and one count of kidnapping, with a sexual motivation specification and a sexually violent predator specification. Police arrested Patterson on May 26, 2016, following a report that he molested an eight-year-old child, D.D., while babysitting him on April 16, 2016. Patterson pleaded not guilty to both counts and elected for a bench trial, where the following evidence was presented.

         {¶4} On May 25, 2016, D.N. was babysitting B.T.'s and Z.T.'s children at B.T.'s house. D.N. testified that, as he was cooking dinner, he overheard D.D., one of B.T.'s children, discussing sexually explicit things with another child. Alarmed, D.N. demanded to know what D.D. was talking about. D.D. told D.N. that Patterson had touched his private parts while babysitting D.D., C.J., and a number of other children at B.T.'s house on April 16, 2016.

         {¶5} D.N. testified that he immediately tried calling D.D.'s grandmother, C.T., who actually showed up at the house a few moments later. After D.N. told C.T. what D.D. said, C.T. testified that she spoke to D.D., who repeated the story he told to D.N. Becoming extremely upset, C.T. walked over to Patterson's mother's house, where Patterson was staying. After having her knocks go unanswered, C.T. testified that she called B.T. and Z.T., telling them to come to B.T.'s house immediately.

         {¶6} C.T. testified that while she and D.N. waited for B.T. and Z.T. to arrive, she called and spoke to M.S., her cousin, on the phone asking her to come to the house. Around the same time, B.T.'s cousin, M.J., happened to stop by the house, during which time she also spoke to D.D. and learned about the allegations against Patterson.

         {¶7} Once B.T. and Z.T. arrived and learned what was going on, Z.T. spoke to D.D. and became enraged. Z.T. and C.T. testified that the adults discussed whether to call the police or go get Patterson themselves. C.T. testified that amidst this discussion, she independently decided to call the police.

         {¶8} C.T. testified that the first police department she was able to successfully contact was the Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority ("CMHA"). Dispatched to the scene for a report of unattended children, CMHA Officer Dustin Kubiak testified that he arrived to discover that the report actually concerned a sexual offense against a child. Following protocol, Officer Kubiak alerted the Cleveland Police Department ("CPD"), which handles sexual offenses. While waiting for the CPD to arrive, Officer Kubiak testified that he spoke with C.T. and one of the aunts on scene and, based on those conversations, went across the street to Patterson's mother's house and requested that Patterson come outside. While Officer Kubiak detained Patterson and escorted him to his patrol car, C.T. testified that Patterson looked at her and said, "I told them to tell those kids to leave me alone."

         {¶9} Eventually, CPD arrived on the scene, took statements from most of the adults present, and placed Patterson under arrest. CPD was unable to take an initial statement from D.D., who was sleeping at the time. CPD subsequently transferred Patterson to jail.

         {¶10} Over the next two days, police interviewed Patterson twice, thoroughly questioning him about his involvement with B.T., Z.T., and their children and the allegations against him. At the beginning of both interviews, Patterson signed a form waiving his Miranda rights and spoke freely to detectives during most of the two interviews. At some point during the second interview, Patterson expressed that he wanted to speak to an attorney. Despite Patterson's request, the detectives continued to ask Patterson questions, which he continued to answer. Patterson's trial counsel did not file a motion to suppress any statements made during either interview.

         {¶11} Prior to trial, the trial court held a competency hearing for both D.D. and C.J., who were allegedly in the room when Patterson touched D.D. and is the daughter of M.J. The court found both children to be competent.

         {¶12} At trial, the state called D.N., C.T., M.S., and Z.T., who all recounted fairly consistent versions of the events described above. Specifically, they all testified that when they individually spoke to D.D., his accounts to each of them were consistent. The state also called D.D. to testify. D.D. testified that on April 16, 2016, he was watching a movie with his cousins at B.T.'s house when Patterson entered the room naked. According to D.D., Patterson removed D.D.'s shirt and shorts and then squeezed his private parts. D.D. also testified that later that evening, he awoke to find Patterson threatening him with an extension cord and telling him not to tell anyone what happened. The state additionally called Officer Kubiak from CMHA, Officer Hess from CPD, and Detective Vowell from CPD's Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit. Those witnesses corroborated the events on May 25-26, 2016, and Detective Vowell discussed his interviews with Patterson subsequent to his arrest. Patterson's trial counsel thoroughly cross-examined the state's witnesses, but did not call any witnesses on behalf of Patterson. C.J. was not called to testify by either the state or Patterson.

         {¶13} The trial court found Patterson guilty on both counts in the indictment and sentenced him to 20 years to life in prison, ordered him to pay the costs and expenses of the case, and found him to be a Tier III sex offender/child ...

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