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State v. Chandler

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

November 16, 2017


         Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-16-606832-A

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Judith M. Kowalski

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, Carl Mazzone Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

          BEFORE: S. Gallagher, J., McCormack, P.J., and Laster Mays, J.



         {¶1} Roosevelt Chandler appeals his convictions for two counts of felonious assault, each accompanied with a three-year gun specification, and his resulting eight-year sentence. We affirm.

         {¶2} The victim and his girlfriend shared an apartment within a two-building complex. The two buildings faced each other, with a shared parking lot in front of both buildings and an outdoor, common area in between. Chandler lived in an apartment directly across from the victim. The victim was in the parking lot while his stepdaughter was in the common area. According to the victim, Chandler's wife became irate at the noise caused by the victim's stepdaughter and other children, and Mrs. Chandler began verbally harassing the stepdaughter through the window of her apartment. The victim confronted Mrs. Chandler through the open window, and the two became verbally combative. The victim's girlfriend convinced him to walk away, and the altercation ended.

         {¶3} According to Mrs. Chandler, she kindly asked the children to move away from the open window, and the victim suddenly appeared, verbally assaulted her, and threatened to kill her. In the process, the victim crawled halfway into the window, displacing the screen in the process.

         {¶4} There is no evidence that the victim was armed or supported the alleged threats against Mrs. Chandler with any type of weapon.

         {¶5} Approximately three to eight minutes later, Chandler returned to the apartment and Mrs. Chandler related what had occurred. Chandler, who was carrying a loaded revolver in his pocket, pulled out the weapon and went outside to confront the victim. Words were exchanged, and either Chandler opened fire on the victim without provocation or Chandler believed the victim was reaching for a weapon and began shooting. The jury believed the victim's version of events. Regardless, during the shooting, Chandler reloaded the firearm at least once.

         {¶6} In addition to the victim being shot, a seven-year-old child, who also lived in the apartment complex, was grazed by an errant bullet fired from Chandler's gun. It is undisputed that no other person fired any shots. The child victim was playing with the victim's stepdaughter before the altercation at Mrs. Chandler's window, and when the shooting started, the young child victim's mother called for her to come home. The child victim tried to run back to her apartment, but by the time she did so, the child victim had been grazed by a bullet on the back of her thigh. The treating paramedic confirmed that the wound resembled those caused by bullets.

         {¶7} Chandler testified at trial. He claimed he acted in self-defense because he believed that the victim was reaching for a weapon during their verbal confrontation. The jury was accordingly instructed. The trial court, however, refused to provide the jury with additional instructions on self-defense of another or the Castle Doctrine under R.C. 2901.05(B) - Chandler claimed his wife remained in danger from the earlier confrontation. The jury convicted Chandler for the felonious assault of the victim and the young child victim, both with accompanying three-year firearm specifications. This appeal timely followed.

         {¶8} The second, third, and fifth assignments of error are overruled. Chandler claims that the trial court erred by allowing the state to admit evidence of prior instances in which Chandler had altercations with weapons that were confiscated by police officers, in violation of Evid.R. 404(B). The trial court, however, denied the state's pretrial request to admit those prior acts as substantive evidence under Evid.R. 404(B). In denying the state's motion, the trial court indicated that if Chandler were to testify, the specific instances of conduct may be admissible as impeachment evidence depending on Chandler's answers to questions asked. See State v. Hamilton, 77 Ohio App.3d 293, 299, 602 N.E.2d 278 (12th Dist.1991) (witness's credibility may be impeached through the intrinsic means of cross-examination under Evid.R. 608(B)).

         {¶9} Chandler does not challenge, nor even discuss, that ruling. Further, the state presented no substantive evidence of the prior conduct and did not attempt to introduce extrinsic evidence challenging Chandler's credibility. The specific instances of conduct evidence being challenged on appeal were introduced through the state's cross-examination of Chandler. The intrinsic, impeachment evidence was volunteered without objection and through Chandler's narrative-style answers to leading questions.[1] In light of the record, we decline to address the ...

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