State v. Arnold

Full title: STATE of Ohio, Plaintiff–Appellee v. China ARNOLD, Defendant–Appellant.

Court: Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Montgomery County.

No. 24687.

Date published: Dec 6, 2013

Fact:

Defendant–Appellant, China Arnold, appeals from her conviction and sentence on a charge of Aggravated Murder. Following a trial, the jury found Arnold guilty of Aggravated Murder. The jury then rejected the death penalty and unanimously voted to recommend imposition of life in prison without the possibility of parole. The trial court imposed the life sentence that the jury had recommended.

Arnold contends that the trial court erred in overruling her motion to dismiss the death-penalty specification, in violation of her Fifth Amendment right against double jeopardy. Arnold further contends that the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury on the lesser-included offense of Reckless Homicide. In addition, Arnold maintains that the trial court erred in permitting the State to use a peremptory challenge in a racially discriminatory fashion, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the United States and Ohio Constitutions.

Arnold also argues that the trial court erred in refusing to allow her to present a complete defense. Finally, Arnold contends that the prosecution engaged in a pattern of misconduct that violated her right to due process and a fair trial, in violation of the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

We conclude that the trial court did not err in overruling Arnold’s motion to dismiss the death penalty specification. The fact that the jury deadlocked in the penalty phase of Arnold’s prior trial did not constitute an acquittal for double jeopardy purposes.

We further conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to instruct the jury on Reckless Homicide, because the evidence presented at trial would not reasonably support both an acquittal of Aggravated Murder and a conviction upon the lesser included offense of Reckless Homicide. The trial court also did not err in overruling a defense objection to the State’s use of its second peremptory challenge. The court’s ruling on the State’s alleged discriminatory intent is not clearly erroneous.

In addition, we conclude that the trial court did not err in failing to allow Arnold to present a complete defense. The trial court’s decision to limit hearsay testimony was consistent with accepted Rules of Evidence and due process considerations. Finally, Arnold was not deprived of a fair trial based on a pattern of prosecutorial misconduct. Any misconduct did not so infect Arnold’s trial with unfairness that her convictions came in violation of the right to due process. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court will be affirmed.

Conclusion:

All of Arnold’s assignments of error having been overruled, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

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