|Appeals court hears arguments on death penalty sentence, evidence suppression|
|Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Tuesday, 28 May 2013 10:33|
The Sixth District Court of Appeals held court at the Wood County Courthouse Wednesday morning hearing only two cases.
By coincidence, both were Wood County cases.
Judges Mark L. Pietrykowski, Stephen A. Yarbrough and James D. Jensen heard appeals court filings on the cases of Calvin Neyland Jr. and Jason Rybarczyk.
Neyland was convicted for the murder of two people in Perrysburg Township at Liberty Transportation in 2007. Neyland, formerly of Findlay, was convicted of both murders in October of 2008 and received the death penalty.
His case was being appealed on the grounds of ineffective counsel for the failure to uncover mental illness in his family as well as the defendant's mental illness which was displayed by his "disorganized thoughts" and actions including his handwriting and phone calls while Neyland was housed at the Wood County jail.
Rybarczyk's case was filed by the Wood County Prosecutor's Office in seeking to allow evidence which was squashed by the trial court's ruling to grant the defense motion to suppress.
This defendant is facing a first-degree felony for the rape of a 4-year-old girl. In a separate case, Rybarczyk is also facing 11 counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material and one count of possession of criminal tools. The second case has been placed on hold pending the appellate court decision in this case.
Jensen, the newest member of the court as he was elected last November, took the lead in asking most questions in both cases. He at times interrupted the attorneys to ask them a question or to clarify a point.
Much of the Neyland case focused on his mental state. As to the handwriting which one doctor indicated being typical of schizophrenia, Yarbrough earned a chuckle from the gallery which was mostly attorneys. The appellate judge said, "They haven't seen my handwriting."
Jensen questioned why the diagnosis surfaced 21 months after Neyland's competency hearing and 11 months after his conviction.
On behalf of the state, Thomas Madden argued there was no requirement for his defense counsel to pursue matters more than they did and that Neyland's siblings faced the same family history and difficult conditions yet are productive members of society.
"Neyland did not want them to assist," Madden said of why the attorneys did not pursue matters further. "Their client absolutely refused to assist."
Madden argued the obligation is to conduct a reasonable investigation which he claimed was done, citing testimony which verified he was a truck driver who was fully competent when he was able to secure his own cargo and handle the rigors of being an interstate truck driver.
In the Rybarczyk case, his alleged confession will be a primary prosecution tool if that is not suppressed. David Romaker for the state argued the audio tape of the discussion/interrogation of the defendant revealed the defendant was alert and at ease by his apparent mood revealed by the tape. He deemed it to be good police work and the confession should be allowed as evidence in the case.
Thomas Sobecki, on behalf of the defendant argued there were many "implied promises" by the officer noting for his client it mattered not whether or not he was in custody, "the confession does not come in." His argument was because of the volume of promises made to him for possible probation and other services.
The three-judge panel used the courtroom of Judge Robert Pollex with both sides in both cases allowed 15 minutes. The side which filed the appeal spoke first and reserved some of their time to offer rebuttal. The judges will review the briefs filed by both sides in the cases as well as statements by the attorneys made Wednesday before issuing their rulings.
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