Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019

State of Ohio v. Glen E. Bates, Case no. 2016-1783
Hamilton County Common Pleas Court

State of Ohio v. Corey J. Parker, Case no. 2017-1575
Eighth District Court of Appeals (Cuyahoga County)

Paul Cheatham IRA v. the Huntington National Bank, Case no. 2018-0184
Sixth District Court of Appeals (Lucas County)

Cincinnati Man Appeals Death Sentence and Convictions for Murder of Toddler Daughter

State of Ohio v. Glen E. Bates, Case no. 2016-1783
Hamilton County Common Pleas Court

Glen Bates was convicted and sentenced to death in 2015 for the murder of his 2-year-old daughter in Cincinnati. Bates challenges his sentence and convictions in his appeal made directly to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Abused Child Dies
Andrea Bradley took her 2-year-old daughter, Glenara Bates, to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital on March 29, 2015. Glenara had many visible injuries and was significantly underweight. She was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Hospital staff contacted the police because they suspected that the girl had been physically abused. Detectives interviewed Bates and Bradley. Bates stated that he lived periodically at the house where Bradley and Glenara lived, and he had been there for several weeks. He acknowledged biting Glenara while playing a game where he would act like a dog and bite and shake her. He also said he held her upside down and dropped her a week earlier while playing with her, but she seemed OK.

Police arrested Bates, and a grand jury indicted him for aggravated murder with a death-penalty specification, murder, and child endangerment. Bradley also was arrested.

Half-Sister Describes Child’s Abuse
At Bates’ trial in September 2016, Bradley’s 10-year-old daughter, Jah’Keiah Faulkner, testified. Three years earlier, after some time in foster care, Jah’Keiah and her siblings returned to live with their mother. Jah’Keiah said that Bates and Bradley made Glenara sleep on the bathroom floor because she wasn’t toilet trained, and they rarely fed her. She also stated that she saw both of them bite Glenara. Before Glenara was taken to the hospital, Jah’Keiah said she saw Bates grab Glenara by the legs and swing her against a wall.  

The deputy coroner who conducted Glenara’s autopsy found that the girl showed signs of severe physical abuse, including burns, bite marks, open sores, diaper rash, cuts, bruises, missing teeth, and scars. The coroner indicated there were so many injuries that she could document only the most serious ones. Some injuries were recent while others were older. The coroner noted that someone had tried to sew a gash on Glenara’s forehead with sewing thread. Glenara also was malnourished and emaciated. The coroner concluded that the child’s death was caused by blunt force trauma and starvation.

Father Sentenced to Death
The jury found Bates guilty of all counts and recommended the death penalty, which the trial court imposed in October 2016. The trial court also sentenced him to eight years on the murder count and three years for child endangerment, to be served consecutively. (In January 2018, Bradley pled no contest to murder and was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.)

Because Bates was sentenced to death, he is entitled to an automatic appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court. In his brief submitted to the Court, he describes 27 legal arguments to support overturning his convictions or death sentence.

Numerous, Gruesome Photos
Among the issues Bates raises, he objects to the number of autopsy and morgue photos shown during the trial by the Hamilton County prosecutor. In capital cases, the prosecutor must demonstrate that the need for each photograph in proving the state’s case outweighs the danger of prejudice to the defendant and that the images aren’t repetitive and cumulative. Bates argues that the 68 photos presented to the jury were repetitive, “gruesome,” and “inflammatory,” appealing to the jurors’ emotions and creating “an unacceptable risk” that they would convict him out of anger and revulsion.

The prosecutor counters that only 25 percent of the available photos were shown. The coroner and the prosecutor’s office carefully selected the images so that they weren’t repetitive or cumulative but instead explained Glenara’s injuries and cause of death, the prosecutor states. The prosecutor notes it was difficult to pare down the number because of the severity of Glenara’s injuries. In the prosecutor’s view, the photos revealed the signs of starvation and the nature and extent of the physical abuse.

Prosecutor’s Comments During Trial
Bates alleges that he didn’t receive a fair trial because of improper remarks made by the prosecutor. Prosecutors in their positions of authority aren’t permitted to vouch for the credibility of a witness, but Bates states that the prosecutor improperly indicated in the closing argument that Jah’Keiah was more credible than him. Bates also argues that the prosecutor misstated the evidence by telling the jury, “Your baby is starving, put down your video games and go feed her.” In addition, the prosecutor called him a “monster,” which was prejudicial and inflammatory, Bates asserts.

The prosecutor responds that the discussion of Jah’Keiah’s statements pointed out differences between her testimony and Bates’ statements about what happened to Glenara. Noting that Glenara died in part from starvation, the prosecutor contends that the video game comment was a “figure of speech” that wasn’t inflammatory, and no reasonable jury would take the reference literally. The prosecutor maintains that the state didn’t call Bates a “monster” but instead compared his conduct to that of a monster. The details of the trial don’t support a pattern of prosecutorial misconduct in this case, the prosecutor argues.

Evidence that Father Killed Child
Bates argues that the evidence didn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was the principal offender or that he purposefully killed his daughter – key criteria for imposing the death penalty against him. He reiterates that he hadn’t been living in the home for very long before Glenara’s death and no physical evidence, such as bite mark analysis or blood, connected him to her death.

The prosecutor states that the extent of the abuse shows that injuries were inflicted on Glenara purposely and with prior calculation and design. Jah’Keiah testified that Bates had bitten Glenara and that she saw Bates swing the child against the wall a short time before Glenara was taken to the hospital. Bates also told police that he would bite Glenara while acting like a dog. The convictions were supported by eyewitness testimony, Bates’ own statements, and the overwhelming medical evidence, the prosecutor concludes.

Juror Responses to Questions about Race
Bates asserts that some of the jurors were biased, which deprived him from having a fair and impartial jury decide his case. Bates, who is African-American, raises issues with three jurors who he argues demonstrated racial bias in their questionnaires but were seated on the jury without being asked any questions during voir dire.

One juror answered that she didn’t feel comfortable around “some blacks” and that she “strongly agreed” that people who are black tend to be more violent than other races or ethnic groups. The juror showed an actual bias based on race, Bates maintains, arguing that his trial lawyers and the court were obligated to remove the person but didn’t. Two other jurors “agreed’ that some races or ethnic groups tend to be more violent than others, but didn’t identify which groups. Bates states that his lawyers were ineffective because they didn’t question these potential jurors about this response. The individuals then served on the jury and sentenced him to death.

The prosecutor responds that Bates focuses on only two of the 131 questions in the questionnaire. With the first juror, Bates “conflates the answers into allegations” that the juror is racially prejudiced, the brief states. The prosecutor notes that the juror also answered other questions indicating that she never had a negative or frightening experience with a person of another race and that she hadn’t been exposed to people who exhibited racial or other prejudices.

As far as the other two jurors, the prosecutor notes that one of them identified herself as “Black/African American.” The other marked that he never had a negative or frightening experience with a person of another race and that he hadn’t been exposed to people who exhibited racial or other prejudices.

The prosecutor adds that one of Bates’ attorneys asked the potential jurors as a group whether they thought race should play a role in the trial, and none of these three jurors said it should. This lack of a response clearly shows that the jurors had no racial bias and understood they shouldn’t factor race into the trial, the prosecutor maintains.

National Organization Submits Brief on Racial Bias
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund has filed an amicus curiae brief supporting Bates on the racial bias claims. The organization discusses examples of Cincinnati’s racial divisions and violence as a background to the jury selection in Bates’ trial.

“The racially-biased views of members of Mr. Bates’s jury have no place in any judicial process, let alone a capital trial,” the group’s brief states. “Public confidence in the justice system cannot survive if Ohio executes an African-American man sentenced to death by a jury infected with the kind of blatant racial bias demonstrated in this case.”

The organization and Bates asked to share Bates’ allotted 30 minutes for oral argument, and the Supreme Court approved the request.

- Kathleen Maloney

Docket entries, memoranda, briefs (including amicus briefs), and other information about this case may be accessed through the case docket.

Representing Glen E. Bates: Todd Barstow, 614.338.1800

Representing the State of Ohio from the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office: Ronald Springman Jr., 513.946.3052

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Can Offender Apply Court Decision Retroactively to Gain New Sentence?

State of Ohio v. Corey J. Parker, Case no. 2017-1575
Eighth District Court of Appeals (Cuyahoga County)


  • Under R.C. 2953.23, can an offender cite a decision by the Ohio Supreme Court as justification for filing a petition for post-conviction relief after the deadline for filing a petition?
  • Can the Ohio Supreme Court’s 2016 State v. Hand decision be applied retroactively?

In April 2011, Corey Parker drove two men to a pet store on the east side of Cleveland and waited in the vehicle as the two others went inside. When the two returned to the car, one of them had been shot and Parker drove them to the Cleveland Clinic emergency room. The three were arrested and charged with aggravated robbery and other felonies.

Parker was charged with 11 counts, including aggravated robbery and improperly having a weapon. The charges carried firearm specifications and a repeat violent offender specification based on Parker’s previous juvenile adjudication for felonious assault. Parker’s two codefendants received eight-year, non-mandatory prison sentences, which made them eligible for early release. Parker pleaded guilty to the robbery and weapons charges in exchange for the prosecutor’s agreement to drop the other charges. He received a mandatory eight-year sentence based upon the specification for a prior conviction.

Parker appealed his sentence, in part because of the earlier conviction. He argued that R.C. 2901.08 was unconstitutional because it permits juvenile adjudications to enhance adult penalties. In 2012, the Eighth District Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision, and the Ohio Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

High Court Considers Case Similar to Parker’s
The Ohio Supreme Court’s 2016 State v. Hand, ruled that prior juvenile adjudications can’t be considered as prior convictions when enhancing sentences for adult offenders. Following the Hand decision, Parker sought to vacate his mandatory sentence and seek a non-mandatory sentence, which would make him eligible to seek judicial release. The trial court denied the request, ruling that it was too late for Parker to appeal.

In a 2-1 decision, the Eighth District reversed the trial court, finding that under R.C. 2953.21(A)(1), Parker met the criteria to file a delayed appeal. The Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney appealed the decision to the Ohio Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case.

Appeal Doesn’t Meet Law’s Requirements, Prosecutor Argues
The prosecutor argues that a state supreme court ruling can’t be the basis for filing a delayed post-conviction relief appeal, and even if it were, the Hand decision can’t be applied retroactively to Parker’s case.

While Parker’s motion to vacate his mandatory sentence wasn’t labeled as a petition for post-conviction relief, the Eighth District characterized it as such. The prosecutor notes that since the motion was considered a post-conviction relief petition, a trial court generally would have jurisdiction to consider the petition if it were filed within one year of the offender’s direct appeal of a trial court’s decision. Because Parker filed his petition nearly three-and-a-half years after his direct appeal, he must meet one of the exceptions in R.C. 2953.23, and the prosecutor notes that only R.C. 2953.23(A)(1) could be apply to Parker’s case. That provision only extends the deadline for an appeal if either the “petitioner shows that petitioner was unavoidably prevented from discovery of the facts upon which the petitioner must rely to present a claim for relief,” or the “U.S. Supreme Court recognized a new federal or state right that applies retroactively to persons in the petitioner’s situation.”

The prosecutor argues Parker fails on both points. The prosecutor asserts that Parker wasn’t unavoidably prevented from discovering facts, and changing the length of his sentence isn’t based on newly discovered facts. The prosecutor explains the law only allows a petition if a new right is granted by the U.S. Supreme Court, not the Ohio Supreme Court, which delivered the Hand decision. The prosecutor maintains that the Eighth District expanded the law by applying the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision to this issue.

Even if the Hand decision could meet the requirement of R.C. 2953.23(A)(1), it can’t be applied to Parker’s case, the prosecutor argues. Parker’s conviction was final before the Hand case was decided. The prosecutor notes that, in general, a new decision or rule based on a decision doesn’t apply to convictions that were final when the decision was announced. Citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1989 Teague v. Lane decision, the prosecutor states there are two exceptions. If the decision states a “new rule is substantive,” or if it is a “watershed rule of criminal procedure implicating the fundamental fairness and accuracy of the criminal proceeding,” then it can be applied retroactively. The prosecutor maintains that the Hand decision announced a procedural rule rather than a substantive rule, and it shouldn’t be considered a “watershed rule.” Because the rule fails to meet the requirements, it can’t be applied retroactively to Parker’s appeal, the prosecutor concludes.

New Rule Applies Retroactively, Parker Argues
Parker maintains that the Hand decision echoes his original appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court, which was rejected years earlier. He argues he didn’t file a post-conviction relief petition, but simply a motion to vacate his sentence and a request to be resentenced. Because the motion isn’t a post-conviction relief petition, he isn’t bound by R.C. 2953.23, he argues. Parker maintains the only matter the Court needs to consider is whether the Eighth District correctly ruled that Hand can be applied retroactively. Parker argues the Court announced a substantive rule in Hand, which can be applied to his case.

Parker explains that courts consider a rule “substantive” if it prevents the state from making certain conduct criminal or forbids the state from imposing a certain punishment. In contrast, a procedural rule doesn’t question the conduct of the offender or the potential punishment, but rather gauges the accuracy and fairness of the criminal proceedings, he notes.

If he were sentenced today for the exact same conduct that led to his conviction, the Court’s decision in Hand would prevent a trial court from issuing a mandatory minimum sentence based on his prior juvenile adjudication, Parker argues. Hand placed a certain class of punishment beyond the power of the state to impose when it ruled that juvenile adjudications can’t enhance adult sentences. The rule isn’t concerned with the accuracy of the trial or sentencing proceedings, or how much Parker was to blame for the crime, so it isn’t a procedural rule, he asserts.

Parker also maintains that even if the Hand decision didn’t meet the standard of being a substantive rule under the U.S. Supreme Court’s Teague decision, the Ohio Supreme Court can still declare that the rule be applied retroactively. He argues the Ohio high court never has formally adopted the Teague decision, which applied to federal courts reviewing state criminal convictions. The Ohio Supreme Court could set its own standard for applying cases retroactively and could apply the Hand decision to Parker’s case, he concludes.

- Dan Trevas

Docket entries, memoranda, briefs (including amicus briefs), and other information about this case may be accessed through the case docket.

Representing the State of Ohio from the Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office: Mary Frey, 216.443.7800

Representing Corey J. Parker from the Cuyahoga County Public Defender’s Office: Erika Cunliffe 216.443.7583

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Does Sale of Bond Include Right of Buyer to Sue Trustees?

Paul Cheatham IRA v. the Huntington National Bank, Case no. 2018-0184
Sixth District Court of Appeals (Lucas County)

ISSUE: Under R.C. 1308.16, does the sale of a municipal bond automatically transfer the right to file a lawsuit from the seller of the bond to the buyer of the bond when the management of the bond sale is at issue?

In 1998, Lucas County agreed to issue $6.59 million in municipal bonds to construct a nursing home known as Villa North. While the county, for tax purposes, was listed as the party responsible for paying back the bonds, in reality the obligation fell to the nursing home operator. Instead of being responsible for collecting payments from the operator, Foundation for the Elderly Inc., the county entered into an agreement with Huntington National Bank, known as a “trust indenture.” Huntington then acted as the trustee to the bondholders and was responsible for collecting payments from the nursing home operator and paying the bondholders. In the event of a default, Huntington had the power to take actions it believed served the best interests of the bondholders.

Series of Operators Default on Bonds
In June 2003, Foundation for the Elderly defaulted on the lease of the nursing home and failed to make payments on the bonds. Paul Cheatham, at the advice of investment advisor Randal Duncan, first purchased the nursing home bonds at a discounted price several months after the default. Duncan, who specializes in distressed municipal bonds, encouraged Cheatham’s purchase of the bonds for placement in his individual retirement account (IRA). Duncan also holds about 28 percent of the distressed bonds sold by the original nursing home investors.

After the foundation’s default, Huntington informed bondholders that West Toledo Health Care was the new operator of the home. Six months later, West Toledo defaulted on the bond payments. West Toledo was replaced by Benchmark Healthcare of Toledo. In March 2004, Benchmark filed for bankruptcy. After Benchmark’s bankruptcy, Cheatham purchased more bonds at discounted rates. Huntington calculated that Cheatham purchased $225,000 worth of bonds for $82,600.

In December 2007, Benchmark filed its reorganization plan with the bankruptcy court, and the bondholders, including Cheatham, voted in favor of the plan. The plan was approved in March 2008, but Benchmark never implemented the plan. It defaulted on the debt.

In 2009, Huntington foreclosed on the property. In 2014, the bondholders received the final distribution of funds from the bankruptcy. The bondholders received in total about $340,000 on the original $6.59 million investment.

Class-Action Lawsuit Filed
The entity Cheatham IRA filed a class-action lawsuit against Huntington in 2015 on behalf of itself and other bondholders. The trial court dismissed most of Cheatham’s claims except for breach of contract. Huntington argued that Cheatham couldn’t represent the class because he purchased his bonds after the original default by the foundation. The bank argued that only the original bondholders retained their rights to sue and that bondholders would have different claims and rights depending on when they sold their bonds.

The trial court agreed with Huntington, and Cheatham appealed. The Sixth District Court of Appeals reversed the trial court and ruled that the terms of the trust indenture coupled with R.C. 1308.16 gave Cheatham and all current bondholders the rights of the original bondholders.

Huntington appealed the decision, and the Ohio Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

Right to Sue Doesn’t Transfer, Bank Argues
Huntington notes that R.C. 1308.16 is Ohio’s adoption of Section 8-302 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). The UCC is generally adopted by most states and contains the same provisions. The bank argues that while this is the first time Ohio courts have had to determine whether Ohio law automatically transfers the right to sue from sellers to buyers of bonds for actions that occurred before the sale, cases about UCC Section 8-302 have been settled in other states over the years.

Huntington maintains that Section 8-302 and long-established common-law principles find that right to claim ownership of the bond and the right to sue based on ownership are two separate rights. Unless the sales agreement specifically states the original seller is transferring the right to sue, the right doesn’t automatically transfer, the bank argues. The bank claims that nothing in the sale agreements between Cheatham and the banks specified the right to sue. The bank disputes the Sixth District’s holding that provisions of the trust indenture indicate that Cheatham acquired the right.

The bank points to actions by the state of New York, where lawmakers specifically adopted a law modifying Section 8-302 so that it automatically transfers the right to sue to the bond buyer. Huntington notes that New York, the state where most of the nation’s financial investments are exchanged, adopted the change knowing that under traditional rules, the right to sue remained with the seller.

Agreement Transferred Rights, Buyer Maintains
Cheatham points to R.C. 1308.16(A), which states: “Except as otherwise provided in divisions (B) and (C) of this section, a purchaser of a certificated or uncertificated security acquires all rights in the security that the transferor had or had power to transfer.” He notes that the Sixth District examined the meaning of “all rights in the security.” Huntington argued that the provision means all rights of ownership, but that the term didn’t include the right to sue. The Sixth District examined the language of the trust agreement. The appellate court cited the federal Southern District of New York’s 2004 R.A. Mackie & Co. L.P. v. PetroCorp Inc. decision and the Supreme Court of California’s 1941 National Reserve v. Metropolitan Trust Co. decision in its ruling. The Sixth District found in those cases, the written agreement among the buyers and trustees indicated the right to sue transferred with the sale. It rules the Huntington agreement was similar to those.

Cheatham argues Ohio’s law is similar and that Huntington ignores the trust agreement. He maintains that the right didn’t automatically transfer to him under the law, but that the law, coupled with the terms of the agreement, gave him the right to sue, and the right to represent all the bondholders in a class-action lawsuit.

Friend-of-the-Court Briefs
An amicus curiae brief supporting the Huntington’s position has been submitted by the American Bankers Association. Additionally, a group of commercial law professors, who have written the leading articles and essays on the UCC and commercial law, have filed an amicus brief supporting Huntington. The brief explains the history of the UCC provision and how it has evolved over the years in several states.

- Dan Trevas

Docket entries, memoranda, briefs (including amicus briefs), and other information about this case may be accessed through the case docket.

Representing the Huntington National Bank: Kathleen Trafford, 614.227.2000

Representing Paul Cheatham IRA: Ronald Parry, 513.621.2120

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These informal previews are prepared by the Supreme Court's Office of Public Information to provide the news media and other interested persons with a brief overview of the legal issues and arguments advanced by the parties in upcoming cases scheduled for oral argument. The previews are not part of the case record, and are not considered by the Court during its deliberations.

Parties interested in receiving additional information are encouraged to review the case file available in the Supreme Court Clerk's Office (614.387.9530), or to contact counsel of record.