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State v. Newsome

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Lorain

May 7, 2018

STATE OF OHIO Appellee
v.
MICHAELL A. NEWSOME Appellant

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF LORAIN, OHIO CASE No. 13CR088248

          GIOVANNA V. SCALETTA-BREMKE, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          DENNIS WILL, Prosecuting Attorney, and LINDSEY C. POPROCKI, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          JULIE A. SCHAFER, Presiding Judge

         {¶1} Defendant-Appellant, Michaell A. Newsome, appeals his judgment of conviction entered in the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas. This Court affirms.

         I.

         {¶2} In December of 2013, Mr. Newsome was charged with one count of felonious assault in violation of RC. 2903.11(A)(1), a felony of the second degree, and one count of felonious assault in violation of RC. 2903.11(A)(2), also a felony of the second degree. The charges stem from an altercation between Mr. Newsome and T.W., which ended with Mr. Newsome stabbing T.W. in the leg. Mr. Newsome maintained that he was acting in self-defense.

         {¶3} The matter eventually proceeded to a jury trial. The jury returned a verdict finding Mr. Newsome guilty on both counts of felonious assault. On April 14, 2017, the trial court merged the counts as allied offenses of similar import and sentenced Mr. Newsome to three years in prison. Mr. Newsome timely appeals, raising two assignments of error for our review.

         II.

         Assignment of Error I

         The trial court erred to the prejudice of Mr. Newsome by failing to inquire into whether he knowingly and intelligently waive[d] his right to testify.

         {¶4} In his first assignment of error, Mr. Newsome argues that the trial court erred when it failed to inquire as to whether Mr. Newsome knowingly and intelligently waived his right to testify at trial.

         {¶5} The Supreme Court of Ohio has held "that a trial court is not required to conduct an inquiry with the defendant concerning the decision whether to testify in his defense." (Emphasis sic.) State v. Bey, 85 Ohio St.3d 487, 499 (1999). Such an inquiry is thought to be "simply unnecessary" and even "potentially harmful" in that it may "'unduly interfere[] with the attorney-client relationship.'" Id. quoting People v. Curtis, 681 P.2d 504, 519 (Colo.1984) (concurring opinion). "For example, questioning can lead into the judge's evaluation of the wisdom of the defendant's decision, the substance of the testimony, or simply evoke a dramatic change in a previously carefully considered trial strategy." Id. citing United States v. Goodwin, 770 F.2d 631, 636 (7th Cir. 1985).

         {¶6} The record reflects that, at the close of the State's case, the trial judge had a discussion on the record with Mr. Newsome's trial counsel for the purposes of determining the schedule for the remainder of the trial and to draft jury instructions. The trial judge asked if Mr. Newsome's trial counsel would be presenting a case, and inquired as to whether counsel had an opportunity to discuss with Mr. Newsome his right to remain silent and his right to testify. ...


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