Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Britta M. Barthol
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor BY: Ryan J. Bokoch Assistant County
BEFORE: Jones, J., Laster Mays, P.J., and Celebrezze, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
A. JONES, SR., J.
Defendant-appellant, Bradley Bradford ("Bradford"),
appeals his convictions for participating in a criminal gang,
felonious assault, improperly handling a firearm in a motor
vehicle, improperly discharging a firearm into a habitation,
discharging a firearm on or near prohibited premises, and
having weapons while under disability. We affirm in part,
reverse in part, and remand for a limited resentencing.
History and Facts
This case arose out of a conflict between two Cleveland
gangs, the Fleet Avenue and Broadway Avenue gangs, that came
to a head in the spring and summer of 2015. In April 2015,
two members of the Fleet gang were shot at a local bar. On
May 4, 2015, a shooting against Broadway members injured
Antowine Palmer and killed Pedro "Dro" Barnes
("Dro Barnes"). The May 4 shooting occurred outside
of 5010 Finn Avenue. After those shootings, multiple
retaliatory shootings occurred in May, June, and July 2015,
including the June 20, 2015 shooting death of Fleet gang
member Arthur "Archie" Davis.
This appeal involves a drive-by shooting on Scovill Avenue on
June 13 and a drive-by shooting at 5010 Finn Avenue on July
5; both incidents took place in the city of Cleveland.
Bradford was not convicted of any charges with relation to
the June 13 incident; therefore, the discussion that follows
will focus mainly on the July 5 shooting.
Bradford was charged in a 50-count indictment along with his
brothers, Maurice Bradford and Lawrence Black
("Black"); their mother, Edwina Neal
("Neal"); and alleged fellow gang member Andre
Ingram. Neal and Ingram entered into plea agreements with the
state and the three brothers elected to proceed to trial
before the bench.
At the end of the state's case, the state dismissed
Counts 31-34 and 36 as they related to Bradford. The court
found Bradford guilty of participating in a criminal gang;
felonious assault, with a criminal gang activity, one- and
three-year firearm, and forfeiture specifications; improperly
handling a firearm in a motor vehicle with one- and
three-year firearm and forfeiture specifications; improperly
discharging a firearm into a habitation with criminal gang
activity, one- and three-year firearm, and forfeiture
specifications; discharging a firearm on or near prohibited
premises with one- and three-year firearm specifications; and
having weapons while under disability. The court sentenced
Bradford to a total of 14 years in prison.
Bradford filed a notice of appeal. Black and Maurice Bradford
were also convicted of various crimes and have appealed their
convictions; this court recently affirmed Black's
convictions but reversed and remanded his case for a limited
resentencing. See State v. Black, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga
No. 105197, 2017-Ohio-8063; see also State v.
Bradford, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 105199.
Further facts will be discussed under the assignments of
I. Appellant has been deprived of his liberty without due
process of law by his convictions for participating in a
criminal gang, improperly handling firearms in a motor
vehicle, improperly discharging into a habitation, a criminal
gang specification and firearm specifications which were not
supported by sufficient evidence to prove his guilt beyond a
II. Appellant's convictions were against the manifest
weight of the evidence.
III. The trial court erred in ordering consecutive
sentences for the firearm specifications in Counts 40 and
and Manifest Weight of the Evidence
In his first and second assignments of error, Bradford
contends that the trial court erred in denying his Crim.R. 29
motion for acquittal and that his convictions for
participating in a criminal gang, improperly handling
firearms in a motor vehicle, improperly discharging into a
habitation, a criminal gang specification and firearm
specifications lacked sufficient evidence and were against
the manifest weight of the evidence. Although they involve
different standards of review, because they involve
interrelated issues, many of the same arguments and a review
of the same evidence, we address Bradford's first and
second assignments of error together.
A Crim.R. 29(A) motion for acquittal tests the sufficiency of
the evidence. State v. Hill 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No.
98366, 2013-Ohio-578, ¶ 13. Accordingly, we review a
trial court's denial of a defendant's motion for
acquittal using the same standard we apply when reviewing a
sufficiency-of-the-evidence challenge. Id.
A challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence supporting a
conviction requires a determination of whether the state met
its burden of production. State v. Hunter, 8th Dist.
Cuyahoga No. 86048, 2006-Ohio-20, ¶ 41. When reviewing
sufficiency of the evidence, an appellate court must
determine "'whether, after viewing the evidence in a
light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier
of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime
proven beyond a reasonable doubt."' State v.
Leonard,104 Ohio St.3d 54, 2004-Ohio-6235, 818 N.E.2d
229, ¶ 77, quoting State v. Jenks, 61 Ohio
St.3d 259, 574 N.E.2d 492 (1991), paragraph two of the
syllabus. In a sufficiency inquiry, an appellate court does
not assess whether the state's evidence is to be ...