November 27, 2014

Medina
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Sex conviction upheld

An appeals court has affirmed a Medina County jury’s conviction of a 27-year-old Seville man on charges of gross sexual imposition last year.

Last month, Steven E. Porter appeared in county Common Pleas Court to say his trial attorney, David Sheldon, failed to represent him properly. The 9th District Court of Appeals denied that claim.

“To prevail on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel,” the judges wrote in a ruling issued Monday, “a defendant must show (1) that counsel’s performance fell below an objective standard of reasonableness, and (2) that but for counsel’s deficient performance the result of the trial would have been different.”

They said they the evidence didn’t support either of those requirements.

Prosecutors said Porter, of 91 High St., gave a 13-year-old girl alcohol after a wedding party in August 2011, and the girl’s brother woke up to find Porter molesting her.

Porter was sentenced to a year in prison in June 2012, but county Common Pleas Judge James L. Kimbler stayed the sentence pending the outcome of Porter’s appeal.

Kimbler also labeled Porter a Tier I sex offender, meaning he must register with the Sheriff’s Office annually for 15 years.

In his appeal, Porter said his former attorney failed to call a DNA expert to the stand, neglected to call an essential witness, didn’t prepare Porter to be cross-examined by prosecutors and never pursued the possibility of a plea bargain.

In court last month, Porter insisted he was innocent.

“I have a wife and four children,” Porter said. “I don’t want to be away from my family.”

As of Friday afternoon, Porter remained free on bond.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.