Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Marcus S. Sidoti Jordan & Sidoti,
L.L.P. Mary Catherine Corrigan.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor BY: Yosef M. Hochheiser Gregory J. Ochocki
Assistant County Prosecutors.
BEFORE: Boyle, J., Kilbane, P.J., and Celebrezze, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
J. BOYLE, J.
Defendant-appellant, Torey Rashad Calhoun, appeals from a
judgment convicting him of promoting prostitution and
possessing criminal tools. He raises two assignments of error
for our review:
1. The trial court erred by admitting improper expert
testimony in violation of the Ohio Rules of Evidence, the
Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure and supporting case law.
2. The guilty verdict cannot be upheld because evidence and
testimony presented at trial did not establish
appellant's [guilt] beyond a reasonable doubt.
Finding no merit to his appeal, we affirm.
Procedural History and Factual Background
In September 2015, Calhoun was indicted on two counts:
promoting prostitution in violation of R.C. 2907.22(A)(2), a
fourth-degree felony, and possessing criminal tools (condoms
and cell phones) in violation of R.C. 2923.24(A) with a
furthermore clause that the tools were intended for use in
the commission of a felony, which elevated the offense from a
first-degree misdemeanor to a fifth-degree felony. Calhoun
pleaded not guilty to all charges and waived his right to a
jury trial. The following evidence was presented to the
Officer Stephen Krebs of the Westlake Police Department
testified that on August 28, 2015, he was investigating
prostitution in the city of Westlake. He found a local ad on
backpage.com in the adult section by using the keyword,
"Westlake." The ad stated:
Hello Gentlemen my name is Heavenly[.] ARE YOU READY TO HAVE
THE BEST TIME OF YOUR LIFE? IF SO IM JUST THE GIRL YOU BEEN
LOOK FOR!! BODY OF GODDESS. THE FACE OF AN ANGEL!!! NO NEED
TO BE SHY...100% REAL & RECENT PICS[.] VERY OPEN
MINDED[.] TREAT YOURSELF TO THE BEST ME!! Out calls in calls
The ad then states that the "poster's age is 23,
" the "location" is "Cleveland, Westlake
Cleveland." And there is a "post ID" number of
Officer Krebs contacted Detective James Scullin to inform him
of the backpage.com ad. Detective Scullin, posing undercover
as a prospective "client, " sent a text message to
the number posted in the ad asking for a "date."
Through back and forth text messages to the number, Detective
Scullin learned what "the rates were" and that he
should come to the Extended Stay America ("Extended
Stay) hotel on Clemens Road in Westlake for his
Detective Scullin testified that he has personally
investigated, or has been involved in, at least 75
prostitution cases through backpage.com. He explained that
when people request services on backpage.com, they do not
just ask for "sex." They use "a somewhat coded
language." Instead of asking for "sex, " they
ask for a "date." He also explained that people use
the term "donation" because they do not want to say
that they are "paying for services."
Detective Scullin stated that when he pulled into the hotel,
he could see into the lobby. He immediately recognized the
desk clerk, who he had dealt with in the past. He then saw a
male inside the lobby, which he said "piqued" his
interest because he knew from his experience that a
"prostitute" does not usually work alone. The male
appeared to be talking to the hotel desk clerk. At that
point, Detective Scullin radioed to Officer Krebs and another
officer, Officer Funari, to "just be aware" of the
man in the lobby.
Detective Scullin contacted the number posted in the ad to
inform the prostitute that he was there. He got out of his
vehicle when he received a call from a female telling him
where to go. He saw a female come out of the hotel to meet
him. He then went with the female into the building of the
hotel that he said she accessed with a key card. The moment
he stepped into the building, Detective Scullin identified
himself as a police officer and detained the female. He also
took the key card from her at that time with the intent to
find out what room the key card belonged to.
Detective Scullin called Officers Krebs and Funari, both
nearby in marked police cars, to come to the hotel. At that
time, he also saw the male who had been inside the lobby
"walking in the east parking lot" from the lobby
area toward the southeast corner of the property.
Detective Scullin took the key card to the clerk at the front
desk and learned that it belonged to room 301. The officers
obtained a search warrant to search room 301. When they
arrived at the room, Calhoun was in the hallway standing by
room 301. Detective Scullin later learned that room 301 was
registered in Calhoun's name.
Detective Scullin stated that Calhoun denied knowing the
female at first, but then eventually admitted to knowing her.
Calhoun told the officers that he met the female in Arizona
and drove her from Arizona to Ohio. Calhoun also stated that
he purchased a cell phone for the female. The officers found
an empty cell phone box and condoms in the room. They also
confiscated the female's cell phone as well as
Calhoun's cell phone.
Officer Krebs testified that while searching room 301, he
found a copy of directions from Phoenix, Arizona to Westlake,
Ohio that someone had printed from Rand McNally driving
directions and maps. On the printed directions, someone had
written: "Can't miss out new girl best."
Officer Krebs also found handwritten notes in the hotel room.
The notes were admitted into evidence. The notes stated:
Are you read have the best time of your life?
If so I'm just the girl you've been looking for!!
Body of a godess
The face of an angel!!!
No need to be shy...
100% real and recent pics
very open minded
Treat yourself to the ...