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State v. Davenport

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

July 26, 2018

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
CHARLES H. DAVENPORT DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

          Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-15-600942-A

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Russell S. Bensing, Scott J. Friedman.

          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

          MARY J. BOYLE, P. J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant, Charles H. Davenport, appeals his conviction and raises the following assignment of error for our review:

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 Ohio Constitution.

         {¶2} Finding no merit to his assignment of error, we affirm.

         I. Procedural History and Factual Background

         {¶3} 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).[1]

         {¶4} 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 clinic.

         {¶5} 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.

         {¶6} Before trial, the state and Davenport's trial counsel agreed to stipulate to Dr. Karpawich's finding in his report that Davenport was competent.[2] 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.

         {¶7} 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.

         {¶8} 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 ...


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