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State v. Braden

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

May 8, 2018

State of Ohio, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
David Braden, Defendant-Appellant.

          APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, C.P.C. No. 98CR-4601

         On brief:

          Ron O'Brien, Prosecuting Attorney, and Steven L. Taylor, for appellee.

          Timothy Young, Ohio Public Defender, and Kathryn L. Sandford; Steven M. Brown, for appellant.

         Argued:

          Steven L. Taylor.

          Kathryn L. Sandford.

          DECISION

          BROWN, P.J.

         {¶ 1} David Braden, defendant-appellant, appeals from the judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas in which the court entered judgment denying his motion for leave to file a motion for new mitigation trial.

         {¶ 2} On August 3, 1998, appellant shot his girlfriend and her father. Appellant was indicted on two counts of aggravated murder with prior calculation and design. Both counts included a "course of conduct" death penalty specification, pursuant to R.C. 2929.04(A)(5), and a firearms specification. The jury convicted appellant as charged and recommended the death penalty on each count. The court held a mitigation hearing. On July 7, 1999, the trial court sentenced appellant to death on each count, three years of confinement on the firearms specifications, and a $50, 000 fine. Appellant appealed his conviction and sentence, and the Supreme Court of Ohio affirmed his conviction and sentence in State v. Braden, 98 Ohio St.3d 354, 2003-Ohio-1325.

         {¶ 3} On January 11, 2017, appellant filed a motion for leave to file a motion for new mitigation trial. Attached to the motion for leave was a motion for new trial. In his motion for new trial, appellant claimed Ohio's death penalty statute is unconstitutional because it allows a death sentence based on a mere jury recommendation and independent fact-finding by the trial court. His motion was based on the United States Supreme Court's decision in Hurst v. Florida, U.S., 136 S.Ct. 616 (2016), and appellant claimed he could not have filed his motion for leave to file sooner because Hurst was not issued until January 12, 2016.

         {¶ 4} On April 6, 2017, the trial court issued a decision in which it denied appellant's motion for a new mitigation trial. In a brief entry, the trial court indicated the motion was untimely, was barred by res judicata, and Hurst did not compel a new mitigation trial in the matter.

         {¶ 5} Appellant appeals the judgment of the trial court, asserting the following assignments of error:

[I.] The trial court erred in denying Braden's Motion for Leave to File a Motion for a New Mitigation Trial without determining whether Braden was unavoidably prevented from filing his Motion within fourteen ...

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