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Date: 06-17-2021

Case Style:

STATE OF OHIO v. STACEY BAIRD, ET AL.

Case Number: 109448 & 109449

Judge: MICHELLE J. SHEEHAN

Court: COURT OF APPEALS OF OHIO EIGHTH APPELLATE DISTRICT COUNTY OF CUYAHOGA

Plaintiff's Attorney: Michael C. O’Malley, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney,
Frank Romeo Zeleznikar, Katherine Mullin, Kristin L. Sobieski,
and Tasha Forchione, Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys

Defendant's Attorney:


Cleveland, Ohio Criminal Defense Lawyer Directory


Description:

Cleveland, Ohio - Criminal defense attorney represented Michael and Stacey Baird with one count of illegal manufacture of drugs with firearm, juvenile, and forfeiture specifications; one count of assembly or possession of chemicals used to manufacture controlled substances with firearm, juvenile, and forfeiture specifications; two counts of trafficking drugs with firearm, juvenile, and forfeiture specifications; two counts of drug possession with firearm and forfeiture specifications; and possession of criminal tools charge.



On February 26, 2018, Michael and Stacey Baird were indicted.
Michael Baird was indicted on two counts of felonious assault, with firearm and
forfeiture specifications. They were both indicted for one count of illegal
manufacture of drugs with firearm, juvenile, and forfeiture specifications; one count
of assembly or possession of chemicals used to manufacture controlled substances
with firearm, juvenile, and forfeiture specifications; two counts of trafficking drugs
with firearm, juvenile, and forfeiture specifications; two counts of drug possession
with firearm and forfeiture specifications; and possession of criminal tools with
forfeiture specifications.
On May 8, 2018, both Michael and Stacey Baird filed motions to
suppress evidence in which they challenged the ability of the police to enter their
home, which entry led to the issuance of a search warrant. Prior to a hearing on
their motions to suppress, they each entered into plea agreements with the state of
Ohio.
On September 25, 2018, Michael Baird pleaded guilty to one count of
negligent assault, a misdemeanor of the third degree; one count of attempted illegal
manufacture/cultivation of drugs with forfeiture specifications; one count of
attempted drug possession with forfeiture specifications; one count of drug possession; and one count of possession of criminal tools with forfeiture
specifications. Stacey Baird pleaded guilty to one count of attempted illegal
manufacture/cultivation of drugs with forfeiture specifications; one count of
attempted drug possession with forfeiture specifications; one count of drug
possession; and one count of possession of criminal tools with forfeiture
specifications. On the same day, the trial court sentenced Michael Baird to a 60-day
jail sentence for the negligent assault charge and to community control sanctions for
one and one-half years on the remaining charges. The trial court sentenced Stacey
Baird to community control sanctions for the same one and one-half year duration.
On September 6, 2019, both Michael and Stacey Baird filed
postsentence motions to withdraw their guilty plea. The motions raised claims that
they would not have entered guilty pleas because the state withheld evidence in
violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963).
The state filed a brief in opposition to the motions. On January 3, 2020, the trial
court denied the motions. Michael and Stacey Baird filed appeals of the judgment
denying their motions to withdraw guilty plea, and this court consolidated the
appeals.
B. Claims Within the Motions to Withdraw Plea.
Prior to their pleas of guilt, Michaeland Stacey Baird filed motions to
suppress evidence. Within the motions, the Bairds characterized the events that led
to their convictions, stating that members of the Brook Park Police Department were
called to the Baird residence upon Michael Baird’s report that he was shooting at his stepson. Officer Nikodym arrived on scene with Officer Jaklitch and found Michael
Baird exiting his house with his hands up. Michael Baird was taken into custody.
Officer Jaklitch talked with a woman outside the house who advised that the
shooting victim, Ryan Snyder was inside the house. Officer Jaklitch entered and
began first aid on Synder. Thereafter, Officer Tesar, Officer Jones, and paramedics
arrived. The officers saw a firearm on the kitchen counter and were told additional
people were in a back bedroom. Officers told the people to stay in the room and
proceeded to go through the house to search for other people, finding a marijuana
grow operation in the basement. Officers then secured the house and waited for a
search warrant to be obtained. The Bairds argued that the police exceeded their
authority to go through the house, claiming that the protective sweep of the home
by officers was an unreasonable search that violated the Fourth Amendment to the
United States Constitution.
Attached to their motions to withdraw plea was a Brook Park Police
Department Incident Report and the deposition of Snyder, taken August 9, 20191.
The Bairds claim that the report differed from that which was disclosed during
discovery. They did not file the police report that was provided in discovery nor did
they file a copy of the search warrant and affidavit that was at issue in the case.
The Bairds assert that Snyder’s statement that he told police about their
marijuana grow operation was known to the Brook Park police before the protective

1 The deposition was taken in Snyder v. Baird, Cuyahoga C.P. No. CV-19-911561. search and that such evidence was not provided in discovery. They equate Snyder’s
statements to Brady material and aver that had they known that the police obtained
a search warrant for their residence based upon a tip from Snyder, they would not
have entered guilty pleas.
C. The Trial Court’s Denial of the Motions to Withdraw Plea.
On January 5, 2020, both motions to withdraw plea were denied. The
trial court noted in its review of the evidence that Michael Baird, having been
mirandized, detailed the facts of the assault and admitted that marijuana was grown
in his basement. The trial court further found that it was apparent in the record
presented on the motions that a search warrant was issued, but that neither the
Bairds nor the state presented the warrant for consideration by the trial court. As
such, the trial court found that the fact that Snyder, a family member, may have
tipped police off was not “exculpatory in nature.” Further, the trial court found that
the Bairds, by entering guilty pleas, waived their challenges to the search warrant.
Finally, the trial court concluded that the Bairds did not establish any manifest
injustice.
II. LAW AND ARGUMENT
A. Appellants’ First and Second Assignments of Error.
Appellants have filed identical assignments of error, which are
intertwined. Their first assignment of error reads:
The trial court erred in denying appellant[s’] motion to withdraw
guilty plea since appellant[s] convincingly established that a manifest injustice occurred entitling appellant to relief or at least a hearing.
Said denial of hearing was an abuse of discretion.
The second assignment of error reads:
The appellant[s] received ineffective assistance of counsel with
respect to [their] guilty pleas and sentencing proceeding.
B. Standard of Review of the Denial of Motion to Withdraw Plea.
We review the denial of a motion to withdraw guilty plea for an abuse
of discretion. Pursuant to Crim.R. 32.1, an offender may move to withdraw a guilty
plea after sentence is imposed to “correct manifest injustice.” A postsentence
motion to withdraw a guilty plea is permitted in extraordinary cases, and it is within
the discretion of the trial court to assess the good faith, credibility, and weight to the
assertions made. State v. Legree, 61 Ohio App.3d 568, 572, 573 N.E.2d 687 (6th
Dist.1988).
C. The Trial Court Did Not Abuse Its Discretion In Denying the
Motions to Withdraw Guilty Plea.
In arguing their assignments of error, the Bairds contend the trial
court erred because the information in Snyder’s affidavit and the police report
demonstrates that the state of Ohio withheld material information pursuant to
Brady and had that information been disclosed, they would have maintained their
motion to suppress. Alternatively, they argue that they received ineffective
assistance of counsel because had counsel obtained the alleged Brady information,
they would have proceeded with the motion to suppress. The state argues that the information alleged to be new was not in the
state’s possession, that it is not Brady material, that the Bairds waived their ability
to challenge the evidence by entering guilty pleas, and that the protective sweep of
the property following the shooting did not offend the Fourth Amendment. Finally,
the state alleges that the Bairds waived their ability to claim ineffective assistance of
counsel, but that if this court determines that the Bairds may maintain a claim of
ineffective assistance of counsel, there was none.
No appeal was taken of the convictions in these cases. “In a motion to
withdraw a guilty plea, res judicata bars the assertion of claims that were or could
have been raised at trial or on appeal.” State v. Patrick, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga
No. 99418, 2013-Ohio-5020, ¶ 7, citing State v. Ford, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga
No. 98049, 2012-Ohio-4597, ¶ 2. In this case, the Bairds each filed a motion to
suppress and thereafter entered guilty pleas. Res judicata precludes litigation of the
motion to suppress. Moreover, res judicata is applicable in this case because the
trial court specifically found that the information learned in Snyder’s deposition was
not exculpatory. Further, had that information been available to defense, we do not
believe it shows that the prior motion to suppress would have been successful.
First, any statement that Snyder tipped police off before they
conducted their sweep of the home is not exculpatory information that would be
subject to disclosure, even were it shown that such information was in the
possession of the state. “Brady requires a reasonable probability of a different
outcome with the exculpatory evidence, that is, an undermined confidence in the trial result obtained without the exculpatory evidence.” State v. Jackson, 57 Ohio
St.3d 29, 33, 565 N.E.2d 549 (1991), citing United States v. Bagley, 473 U.S. 667,
682, 105 S.Ct. 3375, 87 L.Ed.2d 481 (1985). A possibility that information might
help the defense “‘does not establish ‘materiality’ in the constitutional sense.’” Id.,
quoting United States v. Agurs, 427 U.S. 97, 109-110, 96 S.Ct. 2392, 49 L.Ed.2d 342
(1976).
Here, officers of the Brook Park Police Department responded to a
shooting at a residence. Officers took the self-professed shooter into custody, began
first aid on Snyder, and went through the house to ascertain if anyone else was
present within minutes of their arrival. The Fourth Amendment has been found to
protect a person’s home from warrantless search, unless there is an exception. We
found in State v. Shaffer, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 93948, 2010-Ohio-1744, ¶ 21, that
“[a] ‘protective sweep’ is a quick and limited search of premises,
incident to an arrest and conducted to protect the safety of police
officers or others.” Maryland v. Buie (1990), 494 U.S. 325, 327, 110
S.Ct. 1093, 108 L.Ed.2d 276. The Fourth Amendment permits an
officer to perform a protective sweep “if the searching officer
possessed a reasonable belief based on specific and articulable facts
which, taken together with the rational inferences from those facts,
reasonably warranted the officer in believing that the area swept
harbored an individual posing a danger to the officer or others.”
(Internal quotations, alterations, and citations omitted.) Id.
The Bairds claim that any exigency was over once Michael Baird was
in custody and because it was reported to the police on scene that no one else was in
the house, establishing “that all parties [were] present and accounted for.” However,
this contention belies the situation the responding officers faced. They responded to a shooting, and their source of information was coming from the self-professed
shooter and his family. Further, the sweep of the home was conducted immediately
upon officers responding to the scene. Based upon this record, we cannot say that
the actions by the police were unwarranted or violative of the Fourth Amendment,
nor can we say even if the police were told of the grow operation in the minute or so
prior to the sweep by Snyder, such information would negate the propriety of their
actions.
In order to substantiate a claim for ineffective assistance of counsel, a
defendant must first show a substantial violation of defense counsel’s essential
duties to his client that fell below an objective standard of reasonableness. State v.
Bradley, 42 Ohio St.3d 136, 141, 538 N.E.2d 373 (1989). In order to establish this
first prong, a defendant must show that counsel’s representation fell below an
objective standard of reasonableness. Id. at 142, quoting Strickland v. Washington,
466 U.S. 668, 687-88, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984). “‘[B]ecause of the
difficulties inherent in making [such an] evaluation, a court must indulge a strong
presumption that counsel’s conduct falls within the wide range of reasonable
professional assistance * * *.’” Bradley at 142, quoting Strickland at 689.
The Bairds argument of ineffective counsel rests on their claim that
the newly presented evidence would have changed the outcome of the motion to
suppress and they would not have entered into a plea agreement. As we noted above,
the sweep of the house was justified. Accordingly, the trial court did not abuse its
discretion in denying the motions to withdraw plea and, further, the Bairds have not shown that they were subject to ineffective assistance of counsel or that a manifest
injustice occurred.

Outcome: The trial court correctly determined that the new evidence regarding
statements from the victim was not exculpatory and, as such, not subject to
disclosure under the Brady rule. Further, appellants entered guilty pleas, waiving
their ability to challenge the evidence and their abandoned motions to suppress.
Appellants have not presented evidence that clearly shows they would have
prevailed on the merits of a motion to suppress had they not entered pleas; therefore
they have not shown they suffered ineffective assistance of counsel.
Appellants’ first and second assignments of error are overruled, and
the trial court’s judgment is affirmed.
It is ordered that appellee recover of appellants costs herein taxed.
The court finds there were reasonable grounds for this appeal.
It is ordered that a special mandate issue out of this court directing the
common pleas court to carry this judgment into execution. Case remanded to the
trial court for execution of sentence.

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