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State v. Ellison

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

May 10, 2018

State of Ohio, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Antonio J. Ellison, Defendant-Appellant.

          APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas No. 15CR-4670

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

          On brief: Yeura Venters, Public Defender, and Timothy E. Pierce, for appellant.

          DECISION

          KLATT, J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Antonio J. Ellison, appeals a judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas retaining jurisdiction over Ellison and committing him to Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare ("Twin Valley"). For the following reasons, we reverse that judgment and remand this matter to the trial court.

         {¶ 2} On September 23, 2015, Ellison was indicted on (1) one count of rape, a violation of R.C. 2907.02 and a felony of the first degree; (2) two counts of kidnapping, violations of R.C. 2905.01 and felonies of the first degree; and (3) one count of abduction, a violation of R.C. 2905.02 and a felony of the third degree. The indictment arose out of Ellison's assault of E.R. According to E.R., on the evening of September 14, 2015, Ellison held her down and forced his fingers into her vagina. Although Ellison briefly let E.R. go, he followed her and beat and kicked her.

         {¶ 3} After Ellison pleaded not guilty to the charges, defense counsel raised the question of Ellison's competency to stand trial. Pursuant to R.C. 2945.371(A), the trial court ordered an evaluation of Ellison's mental condition. An examiner evaluated Ellison and submitted a written report.

         {¶ 4} At a hearing on the issue of Ellison's competency, the prosecutor and defense counsel stipulated to the admission of the examiner's written report. Based on the report and other evidence, the trial court found that:

[Ellison] is presently mentally ill and mentally retarded and subject to court ordered hospitalization, that [Ellison] does not understand the nature and objective of the proceedings against [him] and presently cannot assist in [his] defense, and that there is a substantial probability that [Ellison] will become competent to stand trial within one year if [he] is provided with a course of treatment.

(Jan. 13, 2016 Entry at 1.) The trial court ordered Ellison to undergo inpatient treatment at Twin Valley for one year. On February 12, 2016, the trial court issued an order permitting Ellison to receive treatment at Summit Behavioral Healthcare rather than Twin Valley.

         {¶ 5} After Ellison had received six months of treatment, his treatment provider submitted a written report regarding his mental condition to the trial court. At a subsequent hearing, the prosecutor and defense counsel again stipulated to the admission of the written report. Based on that report and other evidence, the trial court found "th[at] [Ellison] continue[d] to be mentally ill and subject to Court ordered hospitalization." (July 11, 2016 Entry at 1.) The trial court required Ellison to continue treatment for restoration to competency.

         {¶ 6} At the one-year mark, the prosecutor moved for the trial court to retain jurisdiction over Ellison and commit him for mental health treatment. The trial court held a hearing on the prosecutor's motion. At that hearing, defense counsel stipulated that Ellison was a "mentally ill person subject to hospitalization, " but contested whether clear and convincing evidence established that Ellison committed the offenses contained in the indictment. (Tr. at 6.) To prove Ellison's culpability, the prosecutor presented testimony from the police detective who investigated E.R.'s allegations of assault. The prosecutor also introduced the written report that a sexual assault nurse examiner had prepared to document the incident and E.R.'s injuries.

         {¶ 7} In addition to the evidence presented by the prosecutor, the trial court had before it the most recent written report from Ellison's treatment provider. Both the prosecutor and the defense counsel stipulated to the findings and recommendations contained in the treatment provider's report.

         {¶ 8} Subsequent to the hearing, the trial court ...


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