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State v. Poole

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

August 22, 2019

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
REGINALD POOLE, Defendant-Appellant.

          Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-17-615488-A

         JUDGMENT: AFFIRMED

          Michael C. O'Malley, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney, and Kevin R. Filiatraut, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for appellee.

          Buckeye Law Office, and P. Andrew Baker, for appellant.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          LARRY A. JONES, SR., JUDGE.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant Reginald Poole ("Poole") appeals his rape and kidnapping convictions, which were rendered after a bench trial. For the reasons below, we affirm.

         Procedural History

         {¶ 2} In March 2017, Poole was charged in a four-count indictment. Count 1 charged rape in violation of R.C. 2907.02(A)(2), that is, that Poole "did engage in sexual conduct, to wit vaginal intercourse, with Jane Doe by purposely compelling her to submit by force or threat of force." Count 2 charged rape in violation of R.C. 2907.02(A)(1)(c), that is, that Poole "did engage in sexual conduct, to wit vaginal intercourse with Jane Doe" who was not his spouse and the "ability of Jane Doe to resist or consent was substantially impaired because of a mental or physical condition * * * and [he] knew or had reasonable cause to believe that Jane Doe's ability to resist or consent was substantially impaired * * *." Counts 1 and 2 contained notices of prior conviction and repeat violent offender specifications.

         {¶ 3} Count 3 charged kidnapping in violation of R.C. 2905.01(A)(4), alleging that Poole "did, by force, threat, or deception, purposely remove Jane Doe from the place where she was found or restrain [her] liberty for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity * * * with Jane Doe against her will." Count 4 charged kidnapping under RC. 2905.01(A)(2), alleging that Poole "did, by force, threat, or deception, purposely remove Jane Doe from the place where she was found or restrain [her] liberty for the purpose of facilitating the commission of a felony, to wit rape, RC. 2907.02 or flight thereafter." Counts 3 and 4 contained notices of prior conviction, sexual motivation, and repeat violent offender specifications.

         {¶ 4} Prior to trial, Jane Doe's name was amended to reflect the victim's name, A.T. At trial, the state presented eight witnesses and admitted numerous exhibits into evidence. At the conclusion of the state's case, Poole made a Crim.R. 29 motion for judgment of acquittal, which the trial court denied. Poole then presented three witnesses and also admitted exhibits into evidence. At the conclusion of the presentation of all the evidence, Poole renewed his Crim.R. 29 motion, which was again denied.

         {¶ 5} After its deliberations, the trial court found Poole guilty of all counts and specifications. After merging Counts 1 and 2 and Counts 3 and 4, the trial court sentenced Poole to 11 years on both Counts 2 and 3, as elected by the state, and ordered them to be served consecutive to each other, for an aggregate prison term of 22 years.

         Trial Testimony

         {¶ 6} The incident giving rise to this case occurred in December 2016, and began and ended in downtown Cleveland. City street cameras and cameras from the downtown casino captured some of the incident and were admitted into evidence.

         {¶ 7} The victim, A.T., testified that on the evening in question she went out with an old high school friend. She had a boyfriend at the time, who was planning on being downtown at the "Q" for a hockey game, but the two had not planned to meet that evening. A.T. drove herself and her friend to the downtown casino in her white Jeep Patriot. A.T. testified that she was wearing "very tight-fitting [white] skinny jeans," a long sleeve black shirt, a white jacket, and high heels.

         {¶ 8} A.T. remembered drinking four or five shots of straight vodka and two vodka martinis, which she described as a "ton of alcohol" for her. A.T. testified that she could have had more alcohol than that, but she did not remember. On a scale of one to ten, she described herself as being a ten in terms of how inebriated she was -the drunkest she had ever been.

         {¶ 9} A.T. testified that the next thing she remembered from that evening was waking up in a stranger's car and that she had on gray sweatpants and a pair of men's boxer shorts. She was afraid, but tried to "befriend" the stranger. She asked for his cell phone, under the guise of wanting to listen to music. The man gave her his phone, and A.T. dialed 911 and held the phone to the side as the man drove. A.T. did not say anything to the 911 operator and eventually the call ended. The 911 operator called the number and the man answered his phone and told the operator that he had not called 911. The man then called A.T. a "bitch" and said she was going to get him in trouble.

         {¶ 10} The man dropped A.T. off on West 2nd Street, two blocks from the casino; it was captured by a street camera. A.T. was wearing gray sweatpants that were too big and she was holding up. She did not have shoes on, and ran to the casino. Once inside the casino, A.T. tried to take the bottom clothing off, because as she testified, she felt "disgusted" being in someone else's clothing. Video from the casino captured her - she appeared distraught and, at times, unsteady.

         {¶ 11} A.T. was unable to describe the strange man, both that evening and at trial. She did not remember how she got in the stranger's car, or what happened to her while she was in the car.

         {¶ 12} Several of the other state's witnesses filled in the gaps. A.T.'s boyfriend testified that, as mentioned, he and A.T. did not have plans to get together that evening. But A.T. called him around 11:00 p.m., which surprised him. A.T. asked him to meet her and her friend, which he did. According to the boyfriend, AT. was already intoxicated when he meet up with her and her friend, but she ...


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