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Case CaptionCase No.Topics and IssuesAuthorCitation / CountyDecidedPostedWebCite
In re K.M. C-230541, C-230542JUVENILE – DELINQUENCY – EVIDENCE – EVID.R. 404(B) – HEARSAY – SEX OFFENSES: In a delinquency proceeding for gross sexual imposition, the juvenile court did not err in admitting video recordings of social worker interviews with two child victims under the Evid.R. 803(4) hearsay exception for statements made for medical treatment or diagnosis where the interviews took place at a medical center, the interviewers were not leading, and where the victims understood the need to tell the truth, did not have a motive to lie, and were relatively consistent. The juvenile court did not err in admitting evidence of the juvenile’s history with pornography where the juvenile opened the door to the evidence by cross-examining a witness about it and where the evidence was not unfairly prejudicial and where the trial court took extensive measures to limit the evidence and did not improperly consider it as propensity evidence, and where the evidence was thus not inadmissible under Evid.R. 404(B). The juvenile court erred in admitting evidence of a victim’s prior assault by the juvenile where the juvenile’s counsel did not open the door to the evidence and where it was highly inflammatory, was not necessary to clarify the context of the witness’s testimony, and had merely propensity-based evidentiary value and thus was inadmissible under Evid.R. 404(B): The juvenile court’s error was harmless where, after excluding the improper evidence, substantial other evidence supported the outcome of the trial beyond a reasonable doubt and where the trial court took other extensive measures to limit similar evidence and seemingly did not rely on the evidence in adjudicating the juvenile delinquent. The juvenile court did not err in adjudicating defendant delinquent where the adjudications were supported by legally sufficient evidence and were not against the manifest weight of the evidence.BergeronHamilton 6/14/2024 6/14/2024 2024-Ohio-2278
State v. Bradford C-230455ADMISSIBILITY – EVIDENCE – EVID.R. 404(B) – OTHER ACTS – SUFFICIENCY – MANIFEST WEIGHT: Where defendant was convicted of violating a protection order, the trial court erred in violation of Evid.R. 404(B) by admitting evidence of the underlying offense that resulted in the issuance of the protection order because the validity of the protection order was not a material issue in the case because defendant stipulated to the validity and service of the protection order, but the error was harmless because there is no reasonable possibility that this evidence contributed to his conviction given the other evidence presented at trial. [See CONCURRENCE: The erroneous admission of other-acts evidence that defendant threw urine on the victim would not be harmless if defendant’s identity were at issue.] Defendant’s conviction was supported by sufficient evidence and not against the manifest weight of the evidence where the protection order prohibited defendant from entering the victim’s place of employment, the victim was a streetcar operator, a witness testified that defendant was on the streetcar platform as the victim approached, and the factfinder found the witness’s testimony to be credible.ZayasHamilton 6/12/2024 6/12/2024 2024-Ohio-2233
Devito v. Devito C-230539DOMESTIC RELATIONS – DIVORCE - PROPERTY DIVISION – DISTRIBUTIVE AWARD - FINANCIAL MISCCONDUCT: The trial court did not err in making a distributive award to wife from husband’s separate property: Although the trial court improperly characterized husband’s criminal actions and 30-year prison term as financial misconduct under R.C. 3105.171(E)(4), it also properly found that the distributive award was necessary to effectuate an equitable division of property under R.C. 3105.171(E)(1), R.C. 3105.171(B), and the court’s equitable powers.WinklerHamilton 6/12/2024 6/12/2024 2024-Ohio-2234
State v. Littlepage C-230368POSTCONVICTION — JURISDICTION — CRIM.R. 32.1 — GUILTY PLEA: The common pleas court lacked jurisdiction to entertain defendant’s Crim.R. 32.1 motion to withdraw his guilty plea where his conviction based upon that plea had been affirmed on direct appeal and where the issue presented in the motion to withdraw did not depend for its resolution upon evidence outside the record of the proceedings leading to defendant’s conviction and could have been raised in the direct appeal.CrouseHamilton 6/12/2024 6/12/2024 2024-Ohio-2231
State v. Smith C-230415, C-230416JURISDICTION – VENUE – EVIDENCE: The evidence was insufficient to support defendant’s convictions where the state failed to prove venue beyond a reasonable doubt when it failed to present evidence as to the city, county, or state where the offenses occurred. [But see DISSENT: There was sufficient evidence that venue was proper in Hamilton County where the evidence showed that the investigating and arresting officers worked for the Green Township Police Department, the offenses occurred on the North Bend off-ramp of westbound Interstate 74 next to the “Welcome to Green Township” sign, a sign at the police station said “Green Township Police Department, Hamilton County, Ohio,” and defendant and the charging documents were transported to the Hamilton County Justice Center.]KinsleyHamilton 6/7/2024 6/7/2024 2024-Ohio-2189
State v. McCloud C-230493TESTIMONY – ADMISSIBILITY – HEARSAY – EVIDENCE – SUFFICIENCY – MANIFEST WEIGHT – AGGRAVATED ROBBERY – ATTEMPTED MURDER: The trial court erred in allowing the hearsay testimony of a witness, but the error was harmless because it did not affect the outcome of the trial. Defendant’s conviction for aggravated robbery was supported by sufficient evidence and not against the weight of the evidence where the evidence established that defendant obtained the victim’s cell phone and identification after shooting him multiple times. Defendant’s conviction for attempted murder was not against the weight of the evidence where the evidence established that defendant shot the victim in the chest, stomach, and wrist and attempted to shoot the victim in the head.ZayasHamilton 6/7/2024 6/7/2024 2024-Ohio-2190
State v. Smith C-230022, C-230023SENTENCING – JUDICIAL BIAS – CONSTITUTIONAL LAW/CRIMINAL – EIGHTH AMENDMENT – CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT: The trial court did not exhibit judicial bias in imposing sentence where the record does not reflect that the trial court’s sentence was based on bias or prejudice. The trial court did not err in sentencing defendant to an aggregate term of 79 years’ imprisonment where the sentence was not based on impermissible considerations, was not contrary to law, and did not violate the Eight Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.ZayasHamilton 6/7/2024 6/7/2024 2024-Ohio-2187
State v. Allen C-230280CRIM.R.33(B) — UNAVOIDABLE PREVENTION: The common pleas court did not abuse its discretion by denying defendant’s Crim.R. 33(B) motion for leave to file a new-trial motion based on newly discovered evidence: Defendant could not demonstrate that he was unavoidably prevented from discovering the evidence upon which he now relies to support his new-trial motion where he did not specify what evidence had been recently discovered or suppressed, and, presuming the evidence to which defendant was referring was the arresting officer’s statement, defendant cannot show that it had been suppressed by the state when defense counsel acknowledged on the record that he had received the statement in discovery.ZayasHamilton 6/7/2024 6/7/2024 2024-Ohio-2188
State v. Brown C-210355CRIMINAL MISCELLANEOUS – INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL – EVIDENCE – SUFFICIENCY – MANIFEST WEIGHT: The trial court did not err by receiving defendant’s testimony while he was handcuffed because the case was tried to the court, and the record did not show that defendant was prejudiced by the restraints. Defense counsel was not ineffective for failing to object to the restraints because defendant was not prejudiced by the restraints. Defense counsel was not ineffective for failing to request a continuance after learning the victim conducted her own investigation because the decision to cross-examine the victim instead of seeking a continuance was a strategic decision that cannot form the basis of a claim for ineffective assistance of counsel. Defendant’s convictions were not against the weight of the evidence where the evidence established that the victims identified defendant as the perpetrator, and the factfinder found the testimony of the victims to be credible.ZayasHamilton 6/5/2024 6/5/2024 2024-Ohio-2148
State v. Hammock C-230548, C-230549EVIDENCE — R.C. 2921.31 — CRIMINAL TRESPASS — R.C. 2911.21 — OBSTRUCTING OFFICIAL BUSINESS — SUFFICIENCY — MANIFEST WEIGHT: Defendant’s conviction for criminal trespass in violation of R.C. 2911.21(A)(3) was not supported by sufficient evidence where the evidence showed that she was the owner of the premises where she allegedly trespassed. Defendant’s conviction for obstructing official business in violation of R.C. 2921.31(A) was supported by sufficient evidence and not against the manifest weight of the evidence where the evidence showed that, when a police officer attempted to enter her home to execute a search warrant, she pushed the door closed the first time the officer pried the door open and then, while swatting her arm at the officer, attempted to push the door closed the second time the officer pried the door open, to the point that the officer requested assistance from others on the scene with pushing the door open.ZayasHamilton 6/5/2024 6/5/2024 2024-Ohio-2149
State v. Stewart C-240255JURISDICTION — FINAL APPEALABLE ORDER — CRIM.R. 32(C): This court has jurisdiction to consider this appeal from a conviction of domestic violence entered by the Hamilton County Municipal Court where the judge’s sheet, although it contained separate dated entries for the finding of guilt and the sentence imposed, is one document for purposes of Crim.R. 32(C). Our prior case law holding otherwise is overruled: State v. Daniels, 1st Dist. Hamilton No. C-140242, 2014-Ohio-5160, and State v. Wyche, 1st Dist. Hamilton No. C-160678, 2017-Ohio-7041.KinsleyHamilton 6/5/2024 6/5/2024 2024-Ohio-2150
State v. Dale C-230474AUTOMOBILES/CRIMINAL – OVI – IMPAIRMENT – EVIDENCE – SUFFICIENCY – MANIFEST WEIGHT: Defendant’s conviction for operating a motor vehicle while impaired was supported by sufficient evidence and not against the weight of the evidence where the evidence established that defendant admitted to consuming alcohol, and the officer testified that defendant had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, performed poorly on the field-sobriety tests, was stumbling, confused, forgetful, combative and intoxicated, and the factfinder found the testimony of the officer to be credible.ZayasHamilton 5/24/2024 5/24/2024 2024-Ohio-2001
State v. Storms C-230593SECOND AMENDMENT — CARRYING CONCEALED WEAPONS — CONSTITUTOINAL LAW/CRIMINAL: The trial court erred in denying defendant’s Second Amendment challenge to the charge of carrying concealed weapons where the trial court did not apply the correct legal standard set forth in New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn. v. Bruen, 597 U.S. 1, 142 S.Ct. 2111, 213 L.Ed.2d 387 (2022), to defendant’s challenge.BockHamilton 5/22/2024 5/22/2024 2024-Ohio-1954
State v. Tarrance C-230475EVIDENCE – PROTECTION ORDER - AUTHENTICATION OF DOCUMENTS – SUFFICIENCY – DOUBLE JEOPARDY: In a prosecution for violating a protection order under R.C. 2919.27, the trial court erred in admitting into evidence a copy of a protection order that was not certified or testified to as correct by a witness who compared the copy with the original order. Because the state did not present a certified copy of the protection order, it failed to prove a prima facie element of the offense, and therefore, the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction. When a conviction is reversed due to insufficient evidence, the double-jeopardy clause bars a retrial.WinklerHamilton 5/22/2024 5/22/2024 2024-Ohio-1952
State v. Warner C-230388RAPE — R.C. 2907.02(A)(1)(b) —EVIDENCE — SUFFICIENCY — MANIFEST WEIGHT — HEARSAY — STATEMENTS MADE FOR MEDICAL DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT: Defendant’s conviction for rape of a person under the age of 13 was supported by sufficient evidence where the victim testified at trial that defendant performed acts constituting cunnilingus with the victim when she was less than 13 years of age. The trial court did not commit plain error in admitting the entire forensic interview of the child-rape-victim where defendant did not object to the video, the victim testifying at trial removed any Confrontation Clause concerns, and many of the victim’s statements in the interview were made for the purpose of medical diagnosis and treatment.BockHamilton 5/22/2024 5/22/2024 2024-Ohio-1949
In re J.F. C-230464, C-230465, C-230466CONSTITUTIONAL LAW/CRIMINAL — SEARCH AND SEIZURE — AUTOMOBILE — MOTION TO SUPPRESS — FOURTH AMENDMENT — TRAFFIC STOP — PROTECTIVE CONDUCT — R.C. 2923.16(B) — CONSTRUCTIVE POSSESSION — EVIDENCE: The trial court did not err in denying the juvenile’s motion to suppress a gun found in the car he was driving where the officers’ protective conduct of asking the juvenile to roll down his tinted windows during a lawful traffic stop to look in the back seat and determine whether any other occupants were present was not unconstitutionally intrusive conduct because, just like in Pennsylvania v. Mimms, 434 U.S. 106, 108-109, 98 S.Ct. 330, 54 L.Ed.2d 331 (1977), the conduct was a minimally invasive additional intrusion to the lawful traffic stop that was reasonable and no more intrusive than necessary under the circumstances to protect the officers’ safety. The juvenile’s adjudication for improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle in violation of R.C. 2923.16(B) was supported by sufficient evidence and not against the manifest weight of the evidence where the evidence showed that the juvenile was exercising dominion and control over the vehicle when the firearm was found, was the only occupant in the vehicle, admitted that he had previously touched the firearm, the firearm was plainly visible, and the location of the firearm in the vehicle permits the inference that the juvenile could have placed the firearm in the exact position it was in by reaching behind him from the driver’s seat and placing it there.ZayasHamilton 5/22/2024 5/22/2024 2024-Ohio-1950
Olthaus v. Niesen C-230513 & C-230515SANCTIONS — EXCUSABLE NEGLECT — FRIVOLOUS CONDUCT — R.C. 2323.51 — EVIDENTIARY HEARING — ABUSE OF DISCRETION — RELEVANCE: Where plaintiff filed a motion requesting leave to file a response out of time the day after defendants filed a motion to grant their motion for sanctions as unopposed, and where plaintiff’s counsel was out of town and encountered confusion regarding submitting the response, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by granting plaintiff leave to file the answer out of time. Where plaintiff and his counsel did not address binding precedent or argue for a modification of or exception to such precedent throughout litigation on both the merits and defendants’ joint motion for sanctions, the trial court erred in declining to award sanctions pursuant to R.C. 2323.51(A)(2)(a)(ii) because no reasonable attorney would have proceeded on a legal theory unwarranted in existing law without advocating for some modification of or exception to the doctrine. Where the record contains undisputed evidence of the social media posts and conduct at issue, the trial court did not err in declining to award sanctions under R.C. 2323.51(A)(2)(a)(iii) because plaintiff did not present factual allegations that lacked evidentiary support. Where defendant failed to raise a claim for sanctions pursuant to R.C. 2323.51(A)(2)(a)(i) below, he waived the right to raise the argument on appeal. Where defendants attempted to call plaintiff’s attorneys as witnesses during the R.C. 2323.51(B)(2) hearing on the sanctions motion, the trial court did not err in denying defendants’ request where the testimony was not relevant to the objective inquiry of R.C. 2323.51.BergeronHamilton 5/22/2024 5/22/2024 2024-Ohio-1953
West v. Cincinnati C-230469INJUNCTION – MUNICIPAL – PROCEDURE/RULES – R.C. 9.68: The trial court did not err in proceeding to the merits of plaintiff’s request for declaratory and injunctive relief despite ongoing criminal proceedings against plaintiff for violating the city ordinance against which he sought equitable relief because, in R.C. 9.68(B), the General Assembly created an exception to the general principle that courts should not act in equity during the pendency of criminal proceedings where the plaintiff has an adequate remedy at law. The trial court did not err by consolidating the trial on the merits into the preliminary injunction hearing without notice under Civ.R. 65(B) because defendants did not show how they were prejudiced by the unnoticed consolidation. The question of whether the trial court erred by entering final judgment prior to defendants filing their objections to plaintiff’s proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law is moot because defendants properly preserved all of their arguments for appeal. The trial court did not err by enjoining Cincinnati Municipal Code 915-3(b) because it restricts the storage of firearms in a way not specifically provided for by federal or state law and thus is preempted and nullified by R.C. 9.68, Ohio’s statewide firearms uniformity law. The trial court erred in enjoining all other parts of Cincinnati Municipal Code 915, because all of those parts either do not relate to firearms at all or do not regulate firearms in a way that conflicts with R.C. 9.68.BergeronHamilton 5/22/2024 5/22/2024 2024-Ohio-1951
State v. Jackson C-230446POSTCONVICTION — INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL: The common pleas court did not abuse its discretion by granting defendant’s petition for postconviction relief where there was competent, credible evidence supporting the court’s finding that trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel by failing to argue in defendant’s motion to suppress that his cognitive deficits prevented defendant from knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waiving his Miranda rights and voluntarily confessing: the trial court properly relied on the expert psychologist’s opinion set forth in his report to determine that trial counsel’s performance was deficient where the expert, after completing his report, reviewed the video recordings of defendant’s police interviews and opined that the recordings further supported his opinion that defendant’s intellectual capacity prevented him from competently waiving his rights. [But See DISSENT: The trial court abused its discretion by granting postconviction relief when it failed to apply the proper analysis to determine whether defendant had been prejudiced by trial counsel’s deficient performance.]BockHamilton 5/17/2024 5/17/2024 2024-Ohio-1880
State v. J.B. C-230499, C-230500, C-230501, C-230502, C-230503, C-230504, C-230505R.C. 2953.32 – RECORD SEALING – ABUSE OF DISCRETION: The trial court abused its discretion by denying defendant’s applications for record sealing where the trial court based its decision on the number of and nature of defendant’s misdemeanor convictions, and therefore, the cause must be remanded with instructions to the trial court to grant the applications.BergeronHamilton 5/17/2024 5/17/2024 2024-Ohio-1879
In re Guardianship of Hyde C-230576GUARDIANSHIP – ABUSE OF DISCRETION – REMOVAL – R.C. 2109.24 – BEST INTERESTS – SUP.R. 66.09 – DUE DILIGENCE – LEAST RESTRICTIVE ALTERNATIVE: The trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying mother’s applications to remove the guardian of her adult daughter and appoint her as guardian where the trial court based its decision on the best interests of the ward and the record supports the trial court’s decision. The trial court did not err in concluding that the guardian had fulfilled its duties where the guardian supported the effort to move the ward to a less restrictive environment, acted in the ward’s best interests, and meaningfully visited with the ward at least five times in one year.BergeronHamilton 5/17/2024 5/17/2024 2024-Ohio-1878
State v. Matthews C-240016CRIM.R. 11 — PLEA COLLOQUY — CONSECUTIVE SENTENCES — R.C. 2929.14(C)(4) — ALLIED OFFENSE — MERGER — KIDNAPPING — RAPE — REAGAN TOKES LAW: Where the trial court failed to substantially comply with Crim.R. 11(C)(2) by not informing defendant that he was subject to a mandatory prison term but defendant was not prejudiced by the trial court’s omission, defendant’s pleas were entered knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently. Where the trial court failed to make a finding under R.C. 2929.14(C)(4) that defendant’s consecutive sentences were not disproportionate to the seriousness of his conduct and the harm he posed to the public, the trial court erred in imposing consecutive sentences. Where defendant’s convictions for kidnapping and rape were committed with a separate animus and motivation, those convictions were not allied offenses subject to merger. Where the trial court failed to provide the sentencing notifications set forth in R.C. 2929.19(B)(2)(c)(i)-(v), the trial court did not comply with the requirements of the Reagan Tokes Law, and the cause must be remanded to the trial court to provide the required notifications.KinsleyHamilton 5/15/2024 5/15/2024 2024-Ohio-1863
State v. Hardman C-230295POSTCONVICTION — INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL: The common pleas court did not abuse its discretion by denying defendant’s postconviction claims for ineffective assistance of counsel where there was competent, credible evidence supporting the court’s finding that trial counsel’s performance was not deficient in advising defendant to reject a plea offer and not to testify in his own defense: concerning the plea offer, the evidence demonstrated trial counsel did not misadvise defendant on the applicability of self-defense and properly conveyed the offer; concerning the decision not to have defendant testify, the evidence demonstrated that counsel discussed the matter with defendant, defendant acquiesced to counsel’s decision, and counsel was able to obtain a jury instruction on the affirmative defense of self-defense without defendant’s testimony.ZayasHamilton 5/15/2024 5/15/2024 2024-Ohio-1866
State v. Kelly C-230544HEARSAY — HARMLESS ERROR — DRUGS — SUFFICIENCY — MANIFEST WEIGHT: Where the trial court admitted a strip-search report and a contraband report that allegedly contained hearsay statements and where the disputed statements were duplicative of the police officer witness’s admissible testimony, any error by the trial court in admitting the hearsay statements was harmless. Where testimony established that the drugs were found on defendant’s person during a strip-search, there was sufficient evidence to convict defendant of possession. Where the jury was in the best position as the fact-finder to give more weight to the officer’s testimony than defendant’s testimony, defendant’s conviction for possession of cocaine was not against the manifest weight of the evidence.KinlseyHamilton 5/15/2024 5/15/2024 2024-Ohio-1864
State v. Harris C-230463COMMUNITY CONTROL – R.C. 2929.19: The trial court did not err when it found defendant guilty of a community-control violation where defendant pled no contest and the probation report reflects that defendant’s unsuccessful discharge from the River City Correctional Center was based on his irate behavior and request to leave the program rather than because of his medical condition. The trial court erred when it sentenced defendant to a prison term following a community-control violation where the trial court failed to comply strictly with the warnings required by R.C. 2929.19(B)(4) at defendant’s previous sentencing hearing.CrouseHamilton 5/15/2024 5/15/2024 2024-Ohio-1865
Travelers Property Casualty Corp. v. Chiquita Brands Internatl., Inc. C-230094INSURANCE – SUMMARY JUDGMENT – DECLARATORY JUDGMENT – DOCTRINE OF INFERRED INTENT – HARMLESS ERROR – DICTA – APPELLATE REVIEW – STANDING – AGGRIEVED PARTY: The trial court correctly assigned both insurers and the insured a burden to demonstrate they were entitled to summary judgment where both insurers and the insured sought a judicial determination of the scope of the insurance policies at issue and both insurers and insured moved for summary judgment in their favor. The trial court properly granted summary judgment in favor of insurers and against their insured where the insurance policies at issue limit liability coverage to accidents and not intentional acts, and the trial court properly inferred the insured’s intent to harm the plaintiffs in an underlying civil suit because the insured made payments to a terrorist organization knowing or intending those payments would be used to prepare or carry out acts of terrorism and those payments necessarily resulted in the harm to the victims of the acts of terrorism. The trial court properly granted summary judgment though it erroneously relied on an overruled legal test for inferring an insured’s intent to injure because the error was harmless as the trial court arrived at the correct result. Though the trial court mischaracterized an argument by the insured as raising an affirmative defense that the court ultimately determined was nonviable, the error was harmless as the trial court’s decision was otherwise correct. The trial court properly granted summary judgment though it held that dicta had precedential effect, because the dicta was ultimately correct and any potential error from relying on the dicta was harmless. Where the trial court granted the insurer’s motion for summary judgment in its entirety and awarded it the relief requested, the insurer was not an aggrieved party, and therefore, had no standing to appeal the judgment.WinklerHamilton 5/10/2024 5/10/2024 2024-Ohio-1775
State v. Nelson C-230422RESTITUTION – R.C. 2901.11(A)(1) – ATTORNEY FEES – CAUSATION: The trial court erred when it awarded restitution to the victim of defendant’s assault to compensate the victim for attorney fees where the victim hired a private attorney to assist the state in its criminal prosecution of defendant, because the fees were not reasonably foreseeable and therefore were not the proximate result of the offense.BockHamilton 5/10/2024 5/10/2024 2024-Ohio-1773
U.S. Bank Natl. Assn. v. Campbell C-230366FORECLOSURE – APPELLATE JURISDICTION – FINAL ORDER: The trial court’s order adopting the magistrate’s decision is not a final, appealable order because it does not contain a statement of the relief to which the parties are entitled, and it is not definite enough to be susceptible to further enforcement.CrouseHamilton 5/10/2024 5/10/2024 2024-Ohio-1774
Jones v. Durrani C-220426 & C-220427MEDICAL MALPRACTICE — Civ.R. 42 — JOINT TRIAL — JURY INSTRUCTION — PREJUDICE — R.C. 1343.03 — PREJUDGMENT INTEREST — EVIDENCE: The trial court did not abuse its discretion in joining two medical-malpractice actions for trial where there were issues of law and fact common to both cases that predominated in each case, the trial court instructed the jury that each case should be considered on its own merit, and the jury’s verdicts indicate that the jury was able to successfully parse through the evidence and reach independent conclusions as to both the common and unique questions of law and fact. The trial court erred in issuing an absent-defendant jury instruction where the instruction required, rather than permitted, a negative inference to arise from the defendant’s absence and did not limit the inference to only that evidence which the absent defendant would naturally produce, but such error did not amount to reversible error where there is no indication on the face of the record that the erroneous instruction was so prejudicial as to require reversal. The trial court abused its discretion in awarding the plaintiffs prejudgment interest where there is no evidence in the record to support the trial court's factual findings under R.C. 1343.03(C).ZayasHamilton 5/10/2024 5/10/2024 2024-Ohio-1776
State v. Acklin C-230396 & C-230397CONSTITUTIONAL LAW/CRIMINAL – SUPPRESSION – INVITED ERROR – OPERATING A VEHICLE WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE – MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE: Defendant abandoned at the suppression hearing the argument raised on appeal that evidence must be suppressed because the police officers lacked probable cause to arrest defendant and invited any error by the trial court not deciding the motion to suppress on that issue, and therefore, defendant cannot raise the abandoned argument on appeal. Defendant’s conviction for operating a vehicle while under the influence was not against the manifest weight of the evidence where there are some inconsistencies between the testimony of the police officers and the officers’ body-worn camera footage, but the trier of fact did not clearly lose its way in resolving those discrepancies where the body-worn camera footage supported the officers’ testimonies that defendant displayed physical indicia of intoxication.WinklerHamilton 5/8/2024 5/8/2024 2024-Ohio-1762
In re J.S. C-230482, C-230483, C-230484, C-230485, C-230486FELONIOUS ASSAULT — EVIDENCE — WEIGHT — SELF-DEFENSE: The trial court’s finding that the state rebutted the juvenile defendant’s self-defense claim was not against the manifest weight of the evidence where the record reflected that defendant shot the unarmed victim after being punched and continued shooting as the victim fled.BockHamilton 5/8/2024 5/8/2024 2024-Ohio-1764
State v. Gowdy C-230644GUILTY PLEA — SELF-DEFENSE — JURY INSTRUCTION —JURY TRIAL: The trial court’s premature ruling on self-defense did not coerce defendant into entering a guilty plea where defendant knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently chose to plead guilty to reduced charges rather than risk a trial on greater charges.BockHamilton 5/8/2024 5/8/2024 2024-Ohio-1765
Queen City Cleaning, L.L.C. v. I74 Wired, L.L.C. C-230331CONTRACTS – DISCOVERY – MOTION TO COMPEL – CIV.R. 56 – ABUSE OF DISCRETION – SUMMARY JUDGMENT – BREACH OF CONTRACT – CONTRACT INTERPRETATION – IMPLIED COVENANT OF GOOD FAITH AND FAIR DEALING – IMPLIED-IN-FACT CONTRACT – UNJUST ENRICHMENT – FRAUD: The trial court did not abuse its direction in impliedly denying plaintiff’s motion to compel discovery and plaintiff’s motion for a continuance under Civ.R. 56(F) and instead ruling on defendant’s dispositive motion for summary judgment where plaintiff’s substantial rights were not harmed by closing discovery because plaintiff stated in its memorandum in opposition to summary judgment that it had sufficient facts to survive summary judgment. The trial court correctly granted summary judgment in favor of defendant and against plaintiff on whether defendant breached the contract by providing notice of termination because there is no genuine issue of material fact that the defendant provided to plaintiff the written notice to terminate required by the contract and there are no facts suggesting defendant breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of defendant and against plaintiff on whether defendant breached the contract by refusing to pay amounts owed prior to providing notice of termination where there is no genuine issue of material fact that the amounts were due for services rendered prior to defendant sending notice to terminate the contract and defendant had not paid those amounts. The trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of defendant and against plaintiff on whether defendant breached the contract by not paying amounts owed under the contract during the 30-day notice period where there is no genuine issue of material fact that the termination clause keeps the contract in force for 30 days after a party provides written notice to terminate, and sets the amounts owed while the contract is in force, and the plain language of the satisfaction clause permits defendant to inspect services and make complaints, not withhold payment. The trial court correctly granted summary judgment in favor of defendant and against plaintiff on plaintiff’s claims for breach of an implied-in-fact contract, unjust enrichment, and fraud where the breach-of-implied-in-fact-contract and unjust-enrichment claims are precluded by the presence of an express contract and the fraud claim merely restates the breach-of-contract claim as a fraudulent breach of contract, which is not a recognized tort claim.WinklerHamilton 5/8/2024 5/8/2024 2024-Ohio-1761
State v. Wright C-230456FOURTH AMENDMENT — SEARCH AND SEIZURE — AUTOMOBILE EXCEPTION — DRUG DOG — PROBABLE CAUSE — MOTION TO SUPPRESS — WAIVER: Defendant’s argument that a drug-detection dog’s sniff constituted a search under the Fourth Amendment because the dog could not differentiate between legal and illegal forms of marijuana was waived where defendant did not make this argument before the trial court. The trial court did not err in denying defendant’s motion to suppress evidence found during a search of defendant’s vehicle where officers had probable cause to believe the vehicle contained contraband based on multiple factors, including a drug-detection dog’s alert.BockHamilton 5/8/2024 5/8/2024 2024-Ohio-1763
In re Z.F. C-240050CUSTODY – MANIFEST WEIGHT – JUVENILE – PARENTAL TERMINATION – BEST INTEREST – EVIDENCE – SUFFICIENY: The juvenile court’s granting of permanent custody of the children to the Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services was supported by sufficient evidence and was not against the manifest weight of the evidence because under R.C. 2151.414(E), the children cannot and should not be placed with father and father failed to show that he was able to provide stable housing and an adequate permanent home for the children pursuant to R.C. 2151(D)(1)(d).KinsleyHamilton 5/3/2024 5/3/2024 2024-Ohio-1698
State v. Griffin C-230524, C-230525SEARCH AND SEIZURE – SEARCH WARRANT - STALENESS: The trial court did not err in denying defendant’s motion to suppress evidence found during the search of his home in accord with a warrant where the warrant listed having weapons under disability rather than felonious assault, which was the offense that the police were investigating, because the failure to specify the offense to which the evidence is related by name or code section in the affidavit is not constitutionally significant and does not require the suppression of evidence seized pursuant to that warrant. The information in the affidavit supporting the search warrant was not stale where the warrant was sought a week after a shooting as part of an ongoing investigation and where the perpetrator was originally unidentified.WinklerHamilton 5/3/2024 5/3/2024 2024-Ohio-1699
State v. Johnson C-230439, C-230440, C-230441, C-230442CONSTITUTIONAL LAW – SPEEDY TRIAL – R.C. 2945.71: The trial court erred in dismissing the traffic charges against defendant on constitutional speedy-trial grounds, because the state’s delay in serving defendant was not the result of a deliberate act, but was merely negligent—the state made initial efforts to serve defendant, including an attempt to serve defendant at an unrelated court proceeding, but thereafter, the state failed to act with reasonable diligence—and defendant failed to show particularized trial prejudice. Where the trial court granted defendant’s motion to dismiss on constitutional speedy-trial grounds, and the trial court did not make any findings or legal conclusions with regard to defendant’s statutory speedy-trial argument, the cause must be remanded for the trial court to decide in the first instance whether defendant’s statutory speedy-trial rights were violated.WinklerHamilton 5/3/2024 5/3/2024 2024-Ohio-1700
In re A.C. C-230359, C-230360, C-230361JUVENILE — JURISDICTION — FINAL APPEALABLE ORDER — R.C. 2505.02 — PLEA AGREEMENT: Because judicial release hearings are special proceedings and the state’s substantial right of enforcement of its plea agreements was affected by the juvenile court’s order granting the juvenile’s motion for early judicial release, the state sought leave to appeal from final appealable orders under R.C. 2505.02(B) where the state and the juvenile had entered into a plea agreement whereby the juvenile court was prohibited from granting early judicial release from the Department of Youth Services and the court had granted the juvenile’s motion for early judicial release. Where the juvenile court was not a party to the plea agreement, it was free to grant the juvenile early judicial release in contravention of the plea agreement. [But see DISSENT: The juvenile court erred in granting judicial release because A.C. entered into a binding plea agreement with the state where he agreed to serve the entire term of his juvenile disposition, effectively waiving his eligibility for judicial release.]KinsleyHamilton 5/1/2024 5/1/2024 2024-Ohio-1661
Shram v. Masadeh C-230352, C-230357DISCOVERY – ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE – MOTION TO COMPEL – FINAL ORDER – R.C. 2505.02(B)(4): Where defendant, a managing member of one company and a 50-percent member of another company, did not meet his burden of establishing that he was asserting the attorney-client privilege in the best interests of the companies rather than on his own behalf, the trial court did not err in granting a motion to compel documents that defendant alleged were privileged. Where a trial court’s interlocutory order concerning discovery of a privileged matter is a final order pursuant to R.C. 2505.02(B)(4), an appellate court’s review is limited to matters concerning the discovery of privileged material.CrouseHamilton 5/1/2024 5/1/2024 2024-Ohio-1662
State v. Cook C-230235FELONIOUS ASSAULT – R.C. 2901.11(A)(1) – INTENT – KNOWINGLY – R.C. 2901.22(B) – EXPERT TESTIMONY – CREDIBILITY: Defendant’s conviction for felonious assault is supported by sufficient evidence because a rational trier of fact could find that defendant’s testimony describing her decision to drive across the parking lot and surveillance footage showing defendant striking the victim with her car established that defendant acted knowingly. Defendant’s conviction for felonious assault is not against the manifest weight of the evidence because although defendant presented expert testimony that she had operated her vehicle as a flight reaction to an attack, the trial court was entitled to find that expert testimony not credible and undermined by surveillance footage in the record.BockHamilton 5/1/2024 5/1/2024 2024-Ohio-1664
Edje v. Holmes C-230286DIVORCE — DIVISION OF PROPERTY — SPOUSAL SUPPORT — ATTORNEY FEES – R.C. 3105.171 — R.C. 3105.18(C)(1) – R.C. 3105.73: In a divorce case, the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it awarded wife the entire equity of real property purchased during the marriage where the court considered husband’s financial contribution to the down payment and costs but found that husband financially abandoned wife and unfairly burdened her with financial obligations related to the real property. In a divorce case where the husband failed to file transcripts with his objections to the magistrate’s decision, the trial court did not fail to consider husband’s legal arguments when his objections were primarily fact-based and he failed to cite any law in support of his claims. The trial court’s award of attorney fees to wife was reasonable where the magistrate found that husband failed to comply with discovery requests and mandatory disclosures in a timely manner.BockHamilton 5/1/2024 5/1/2024 2024-Ohio-1663
Schafer v. Levey C-230410JURISDICTION —ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE — DISCOVERY: The trial court erred in granting defendant’s motion to compel communications between plaintiff and her former attorney without conducting an evidentiary hearing or in-camera review to determine the applicability of the attorney-client privilege.KinsleyHamilton 4/26/2024 4/26/2024 2024-Ohio-1605
State v. Shinholster C-230457; C-230436EVIDENCE – SUFFICIENCY – MANIFEST WEIGHT – SELF-DEFENSE – FELONIOUS ASSAULT – AIDING AND ABETTING – MERGER – ALLIED OFFENSES – CRIM.R. 29: The trial court did not lose its way and create a manifest miscarriage of justice with respect to its finding that the state had disproven at least one element of self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt. Where the judge orally denied defendant’s Crim.R. 29 motion during trial and found defendant guilty of the correct counts, the trial court’s clerical error on its entry denying defendant’s Crim.R. 29 motion does not provide a basis for vacating the conviction. Defendant’s convictions for two counts of felonious assault were allied offenses where defendant committed both offenses with the same animus against the same victim. Defendant’s conviction for felonious assault was supported by sufficient evidence and was not against the manifest weight of the evidence where defendant arrived at the affray armed and instructed her codefendant to shoot.BergeronHamilton 4/26/2024 4/26/2024 2024-Ohio-1606
State v. Roberts C-220615CUSTODIAL INTERROGATION — MIRANDA — FIFTH AMENDMENT — EVID.R. 404(B) — AGGRAVATED MURDER — AGGRAVATED ROBBERY — EVIDENCE — SUFFICIENCY — EVIDENCE TAMPERING — R.C. 2921.12(A): Where defendant was not given Miranda warnings while in police custody, the trial court committed prejudicial error in admitting his statements. Where defendant had stopped the car he was driving on the side of the road and a police officer stopped to check on defendant’s welfare, defendant was in custody for purposes of the Miranda warnings because, several minutes into the encounter, a reasonable person would have understood himself to be in custody. Where defendant was convicted of the aggravated murder of his mother, evidence of defendant taking his aunt’s car without her permission and of her observation of smoldering curtains in her dining room at the time of his departure were inadmissible for the purpose of proving intent, motive, preparation, and plan under Evid.R. 404(B). Where there was evidence that there was recent tension between defendant and the victim, that defendant was around the victim at the time of her death, and that there was a struggle which lasted at least a few minutes between defendant and the victim, there was sufficient evidence of prior calculation and design to support an aggravated murder conviction under R.C. 2903.01(A). Where defendant was found with the victim’s car and wallet soon after he left the victim’s residence and she was later found strangled to death in her residence, a conviction for aggravated robbery under R.C. 2911.01(A)(3) would have been supported by sufficient evidence and not against the manifest weight of the evidence. Where there was no evidence of when defendant reset his cell phone or when he knew about an ongoing investigation, defendant’s conviction for evidence tampering was not supported by sufficient evidence.KinlseyHamilton 4/26/2024 4/26/2024 2024-Ohio-1604
State v. Vannatter C-230568SENTENCING – POSTRELEASE CONTROL – R.C. 2929.191 – R.C. 2929.11 – R.C. 2929.12: Where the trial court failed to properly advise defendant of the potential term of postrelease control at the sentencing hearing, the cause must be remanded for a notification-of-postrelease-control hearing pursuant to R.C. 2929.191. The trial court’s decision imposing the maximum sentence of three years’ imprisonment was not contrary to law where the trial court discussed the purposes of felony sentencing, considered multiple statutory sentencing factors, and the sentence was within the permissible statutory range for a third-degree felony.WinklerHamilton 4/24/2024 4/24/2024 2024-Ohio-1549
State v. Modreski C-230511SEARCH AND SEIZURE — EXIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES: Where a report from a social services worker of a malnourished infant lacked the suggestion that the infant needed immediate medical aid, there were no exigent circumstances justifying the warrantless search of defendant’s home.KinsleyHamilton 4/24/2024 4/24/2024 2024-Ohio-1550
In re G.W. C-230268CUSTODY — CONTEMPT: The juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in denying father’s motion to hold mother in contempt where the record supported the juvenile court’s finding that mother substantially complied with the terms of the parties’ shared-parenting plan. The juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in awarding mother custody of the minor child where the juvenile court properly considered the statutory best-interest factors and the record supported the court’s finding that the child had adjusted to her school in mother’s district.BockHamilton 4/24/2024 4/24/2024 2024-Ohio-1551
In re M.H. C-240002JUVENILE – PLAIN ERROR – EVIDENCE – HEARSAY – EVID.R. 801 – CUMULATIVE EVIDENCE – PERMANENT CUSTODY – CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE – BEST INTEREST: The juvenile court did not commit plain error by admitting certain testimony by the agency caseworker where the complained-of testimony included admissible nonhearsay statements by mother offered against her, was largely cumulative to mother’s own testimony, and was not so prejudicial to affect the basic fairness, integrity, or reputation of the judicial process required for plain error. The juvenile court properly granted permanent custody of the children to the agency where clear and convincing evidence supported its findings that the children cannot be placed with either parent in a reasonable time or should not be placed with either parent and that a grant of permanent custody to the agency was in the best interest of the children.WinklerHamilton 4/24/2024 4/24/2024 2024-Ohio-1548
State v. Browner C-240058SENTENCING – MODIFICATION – RIPENESS – R.C.2947.151 –PLAIN ERROR: The trial court did not commit plain error when it ordered that defendant was not eligible for sentence reduction programs under R.C. 2947.151 after defendant pleaded guilty to a community-control violation and the trial court imposed the remainder of defendant’s suspended sentence. The trial court’s order that defendant was not eligible for a sentence reduction under R.C. 2947.151 after imposing the remainder of his suspended sentence was not a modification of his sentence, but an instruction to the sheriff on how defendant was to serve out his incarceration.KinlseyHamilton 4/24/2024 4/24/2024 2024-Ohio-1547
State v. Akins C-230302CONSTITUTIONAL LAW/CRIMINAL – VOIR DIRE – PEREMPTORY CHALLENGE – BATSON V. KENTUCKY – CONFRONTATION CLAUSE – EVIDENCE – MURDER – TAMPERING WITH EVIDENCE – HAVING A WEAPON WHILE UNDER A DISABILITY –COUNSEL – EVID.R. 609 – EVID.R. 404 – MISTRIAL – SUPPRESSION – JURY INSTRUCTIONS – PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT – SENTENCING – CONSECUTIVE SENTENCES – PROPORTIONALITY: The trial court properly overruled defendant’s Batson challenge where the prosecutor provided a race-neutral explanation and defendant makes no argument as to why that explanation was pretextual beyond arguing that the explanation would not support striking the juror for cause: The trial court properly resolved the Batson challenge procedurally where the trial court allowed defendant to respond to the state’s race-neutral explanation and then clearly rejected the challenge on the record. The trial court erred in admitting statements by a nontestifying witness in violation of the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment to the United State Constitution, but the error was harmless because the erroneously admitted testimony was cumulative to other testimony and the other evidence presented established defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Defendant’s conviction for murder with a firearm specification was supported by sufficient evidence and not against the manifest weight of the evidence where, though a masked shooter murdered the victim and no witness could identify the shooter, the evidence supported a reasonable inference that defendant was the masked shooter because the shooter was shot while escaping, defendant arrived at a hospital shortly after the murder with gunshot wounds, and defendant’s pants were stained with the victim’s blood. Defendant’s conviction for having a weapon while under a disability was supported by sufficient evidence and not against the manifest weight of the evidence where defendant’s conviction for murder with a firearm specification was supported by sufficient evidence and was not against the manifest weight of the evidence, defendant stipulated to having been convicted of a felony offense of violence and defendant stipulated that he was not relieved from the disability from that conviction. Defendant’s conviction for tampering with evidence was supported by sufficient evidence and not against the manifest weight of the evidence where the evidence permitted an inference that defendant was the masked shooter and defendant threw his bloody clothes into a trash can, suggesting an intent to impair their ability to serve as evidence in the impending murder investigation. Defendant was not deprived of his right to the effective assistance of trial counsel where his trial counsel did not move for a mistrial after being denied the ability to cross-examine the state’s cooperating witness based on a prior conviction because the existence and nature of the witness’s conviction were brought out on direct examination and Evid.R. 404 bars defendant from using that conviction to argue the witness committed the murder because he committed a similar offense in the past. Defendant was not deprived of his right to the effective assistance of trial counsel where trial counsel failed to proactively attempt to suppress any evidence of defendant’s refusal to answer questions while in police custody because a failure to file a motion to suppress is not per se ineffective assistance and defendant was not prejudiced by trial counsel raising the issue during trial via an objection. The trial court did not abuse its discretion by rejecting defendant’s proposed jury instructions concerning the credibility of the state’s cooperating witness and instead providing the Ohio Jury Instruction where defendant was not entitled to the special instruction and cites no authority that his proposed instructions were correct statements of law or that the provided Ohio Jury Instruction was an incorrect statement of law. The state did not violate defendant’s right to a fair trial by calling defendant a contract killer during closing argument where the name-calling was improper and unnecessary but was one isolated comment during closing argument of a two-week long trial and the trial court promptly issued a curative instruction that the comment was not evidence. The state did not violate defendant’s right to a fair trial by commenting during the rebuttal portion of closing argument that defendant did not ask follow-up questions to witnesses on the contested issue of the identity of the masked shooter where the statements did not imply defendant had a burden of proof, were fair comments in response to defendant’s closing argument on what the witnesses testimony did and did not say about the identity of the masked assailant, and the trial court instructed the jury that the state bore the ultimate burden of proof. The trial court properly imposed consecutive sentences where the aggregate sentence of 21 years’ to life imprisonment was not disproportionate to defendant’s conduct and took into consideration defendant’s prior felony record and two prior prison terms.WinklerHamilton 4/19/2024 4/19/2024 2024-Ohio-1491
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