Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common
Pleas Case No. CR-15-600942-A
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Russell S. Bensing, Scott J.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor, Brian D. Kraft Assistant County Prosecutor
BEFORE: Boyle, P.J., S. Gallagher, J., and Jones, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
J. BOYLE, P. J.
Defendant-appellant, Charles H. Davenport, appeals his
conviction and raises the following assignment of error for
The defendant was denied the effective assistance of counsel,
in derogation of his rights under the Sixth Amendment to the
United States Constitution, and Article I, Section 10 of the
Finding no merit to his assignment of error, we affirm.
Procedural History and Factual Background
On November 16, 2015, a Cuyahoga County Grand Jury indicted
Davenport for two counts of aggravated murder in violation of
R.C. 2903.01(A) and (B), one count of murder in violation of
R.C. 2903.02(B), two counts of aggravated arson in violation
of R.C. 2909.02(A)(1) and (2), and one count of felonious
assault in violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(1).
On January 13, 2016, Davenport's trial counsel filed a
motion with the court to appoint an independent psychological
expert for assistance. Davenport's trial counsel argued
that a psychological expert was necessary to assist them in
effectively representing Davenport, who had a "history
of psychiatric and/or psychological treatment." The
state opposed the motion, arguing that Davenport was not
entitled to an independent evaluation by a psychological
expert at the state's expense because he had yet to
undergo an initial examination by the court psychiatric
The trial court granted Davenport's motion over the
state's objection and appointed Dr. James J. Karpawich
who drafted a detailed report that was included in the record
as defendant's Exhibit A. In his report, Dr. Karpawich
reviewed records from Cuyahoga County Jail, records from the
Cuyahoga County Court website, records from the medical
centers and hospitals where Davenport received mental health
treatment, and results from psychological tests. The report
described Davenport's background information, mental
health and medical history, alcohol and drug history, legal
history, and psychological state.
Before trial, the state and Davenport's trial counsel
agreed to stipulate to Dr. Karpawich's finding in his
report that Davenport was competent. During the hearing, the
following exchange took place:
DEFENSE COUNSEL: In an abundance of caution we will stipulate
to that report, wherein Dr. Karpawich opined that our client,
Mr. Davenport, is competent.
* * *
STATE: Your Honor, the State likewise would stipulate to that
report and findings.
COURT: That report was in August. Is there anything in your
discussions with Mr. Davenport [that] would lead you to
believe that he has regressed in any way or anything?
DEFENSE COUNSEL: No.
COURT: So we will have a stipulation as to the competency and
the sanity of the defendant?
STATE: I don't think sanity was ever addressed, your
Honor. It was just strictly competency, I believe, was the
only issue that was addressed.
Also before trial, Davenport then waived his right to a trial
by jury in open court and in writing. The trial court
journalized Davenport's waiver of his right to a trial by
jury on May 31, 2017.
On June 1, 2017, the matter proceeded to a bench trial,
during which the state called nine witnesses, including
numerous officers who responded to the scene, neighbors, and
relatives of the victim, Roman ...