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Case CaptionCase No.Topics and IssuesAuthorCitation / CountyDecidedPostedWebCite
State v. Hendrix C-150194, C-150200EVIDENCE - JURIES : Where the prosecutor used defendant's prior convictions to impeach defendant's general credibility on cross-examination, the trial court did not commit plain error in allowing the prosecutor to question defendant, consistent with Evid.R. 609, regarding the name of the crime, the place of conviction, and the punishment, even though defendant had stipulated to certain prior convictions for the purposes of proving weapons-under-disability charges. The trial court did not err in denying defendant's challenge under Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 106 S.Ct. 1712, 90 L.Ed.2d 69 (1986), to the state's use of a peremptory challenge to strike an African-American juror where the state provided at least one race-neutral explanation for the peremptory strike: the police department that had investigated the charges against defendant had also investigated a criminal complaint against the prospective juror's husband.FischerHamilton 4/27/2016 4/27/2016 2016-Ohio-2697
Stallworth v. Wal-Mart Stores E., L.P. C-150355EMPLOYER/EMPLOYEE - RACIAL DISCRIMINATION - DAMAGES: In a racial-discrimination action brought under R.C. 4112.02(A), the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding that a cease-and-desist order issued by the Ohio Civil Rights Commission was supported by reliable, probative and substantial evidence. The complainant, an African-American employed as an overnight stocker by respondent Wal-Mart, established a prima facie case of racial discrimination by demonstrating that he had been treated differently than similarly-situated nonprotected employees, specifically, all Caucasian overnight stockers. The Ohio Civil Rights Commission's findings that the complainant's employment had not been "voluntarily terminated" for a failure to show up for work for three consecutive days without calling in, and that the complainant had neither used profanity nor been insubordinate during a meeting with a manager, were supported by reliable, probative and substantial evidence. The trial court did not err in holding Wal-Mart liable under a theory of "cat's paw" liability where the evidence demonstrated that the complainant's employment had been terminated by a supervisor who had been influenced by the discriminatory actions and animus of a subordinate. Because Wal-Mart failed to introduce any evidence of substantially-equivalent employment positions that had been available, the trial court did not err in failing to find that the complainant had not met his statutory duty to mitigate damages.HendonHamilton 4/22/2016 4/22/2016 2016-Ohio-2620
Chase Home Fin., L.L.C. v. Pfaffl C-150483DEBTOR-CREDITOR - FORECLOSURE - PROCEDURE/RULES: In a foreclosure action, the trial court did not err in granting summary judgment to the plaintiff on a promissory note where the plaintiff was a holder in due course and had taken the note free of the claims and defenses asserted by the defendants. The trial court fully complied with Civ.R. 53 by conducting an independent review of the matters objected to before ruling on the objections to the magistrate's decision. HendonHamilton 4/22/2016 4/22/2016 2016-Ohio-2621
State v. Beasley C-150431APPELLATE REVIEW/CRIMINAL - CRIMINAL RULE 11 - PLEAS: A trial court's blanket policy of refusing to accept no-contest pleas is error; but the alleged error was not preserved and defendant forfeited her right to raise that issue on appeal where defendant's counsel stated that defendant would have entered a no-contest plea but for the trial court's policy against accepting such pleas, but the court's statement of its policy had occurred in chambers and no other mention of the policy appeared on the record, and defendant never attempted to plead no contest on the record. [But see DISSENT: The trial court abused its discretion in refusing to accept defendant's no-contest plea based upon its blanket policy: if defense counsel's statement as to the trial court's policy had been incorrect neither the trial court nor the lawyers, pursuant to their ethical duty of candor, would have agreed to the statement on the record, and no reason existed for defendant to enter a no-contest plea on the record when doing so would have been futile.]MockHamilton 4/20/2016 4/20/2016 2016-Ohio-1603
In re E.B. C-150351DELINQUENCY - JURISDICTION/VENUE - PROCEDURE/RULES - SENTENCING - WEAPONS: The juvenile's appeal from a nunc pro tunc order was properly before the appellate court, even though the time to appeal the trial court's original order had run, where the nunc pro tunc order made substantive changes to the juvenile's sentence. The juvenile court committed plain error when it imposed a three-year gun specification where there was no evidence that the juvenile was the principal offender or that the juvenile had used, furnished or disposed of the firearm used in an aggravated robbery.DeWineHamilton 4/13/2016 4/13/2016 2016-Ohio-1507
State v. Curtis C-150174HOMICIDE - ROBBERY - WEAPONS - EVIDENCE/WITNESS/TRIAL - R.C. 2941.25/ALLIED OFFENSES - PROSECUTOR - JURY INSTRUCTIONS - CRIMINAL MISCELLANEOUS: Defendant was properly found guilty of murder with a specification, aggravated robbery, carrying a concealed weapon, and having a weapon while under a disability where two witnesses saw him approach the victim, demand money, and shoot the victim in the chest to facilitate taking the money, and the victim died almost immediately. Defendant's trial was not unfair due to prosecutorial misconduct in eliciting false testimony where the testimony was elicited by defense counsel. The prosecutor's actions-calling certain telephone evidence "better than DNA," making isolated comments during closing argument about "defense tactics," and asking the jury to make reasonable assumptions from the evidence presented-did not require reversal of defendant's convictions. The trial court did not abuse its discretion where in the presence of the jury it ejected two spectators for sleeping in the courtroom. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in giving the jury a Howard charge where the jury was instructed in such a way that there was no potential for coercion. Murder and aggravated robbery were allied offenses of similar import subject to merger where the aggravated-robbery count required proof of serious physical harm, and the only serious physical harm that occurred was the murder. [But see DISSENT: The import of the murder, causing the death of another, was different than the import of the robbery, a theft offense, and merger was not required merely because the harm that resulted in the murder charge was also the predicate conduct for the aggravated-robbery charge.] Having a weapon while under a disability and carrying a concealed weapon were not allied offenses subject to merger.MockHamilton 3/30/2016 3/30/2016 2016-Ohio-1318
State v. Amos C-150265JUVENILE - BINDOVER: In a discretionary bindover proceeding, the juvenile court properly bound over the 15-year-old juvenile to the common pleas court on three charges of aggravated robbery and the accompanying firearm specifications, one charge of possession of cocaine, and one charge of improperly possessing a firearm in a motor vehicle where the state presented sufficient evidence to establish probable cause that the juvenile had committed the offenses and the other requirements for discretionary bindover had been met under R.C. 2152.12(B). The juvenile's guilty pleas in common pleas court did not waive his ability to challenge any defects in the juvenile court's bindover proceedings because the bindover proceedings did not relate to the juvenile's factual guilt, but to the subject-matter jurisdiction of the common pleas court to try the juvenile as an adult. The juvenile court properly found that the state had presented sufficient evidence to establish probable cause to support a charge that, had it been committed by an adult, would have constituted the crime of aggravated robbery with the accompanying firearm specifications where the state presented testimony that the 15-year-old juvenile defendant and three codefendants had taken substantial steps to complete the underlying theft offense against an undercover police officer where they had placed a fake advertisement on Craigslist for a computer, they had met the undercover officer at a prearranged location, one of the codefendants had entered the officer's vehicle, pulled out a weapon and pointed it at the undercover officer, and the codefendant would have completed the theft offense had the undercover officer not pulled out a weapon and prevented him from doing so. The juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that the 15-year-old juvenile was not amenable to rehabilitation in the juvenile system, but should be bound over to the common pleas court for prosecution as an adult for his participation in three aggravated robberies, with the accompanying firearm specifications, one count of possession of cocaine, and one count of improperly possessing a firearm in a motor vehicle, where the juvenile court, in accordance with R.C. 2152.12(C), ordered an investigation into the juvenile defendant's social history, education, family situation, and mental health, held a hearing, discussed on the record the factors in R.C. 2152.12(D) and (E) that weighed in favor of and against transfer, and recorded the factors on a worksheet attached to its entry transferring jurisdiction to the common pleas court.FischerHamilton 3/30/2016 3/30/2016 2016-Ohio-1319
State v. Jones C-150331DRUGS: Defendant's conviction for possession of prescription drugs without a prescription, in violation of Cincinnati Municipal Code 601.23, was not supported by sufficient evidence because defendant had a prescription for the drugs.DeWineHamilton 3/30/2016 3/30/2016 2016-Ohio-1320
Amankwah v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. C-150360INSURANCE - NEGLIGENCE - CONTRACTS: Summary judgment in favor of the insurance company and agent on the insured's claim for negligent procurement of automobile collision coverage was proper where the insured, a well-educated professor, failed to read the policy declarations for two years, when a simple glance would have revealed the absence of collision coverage, and also failed to examine his bank account for the same two-year period and take notice that his premiums had decreased, when he testified that he had expected his premiums to increase. Although an insured can assume that a renewal or replacement policy contains the same terms as an original policy, unless the insured receives adequate notice as to a change in policy conditions, that rule applies to unilateral policy changes made by an insurance company where the policy is due to expire and coming up for an annual renewal, and that rule does not apply to a change in a policy brought about by a condition changed by the insured. Summary judgment in favor of the insurance company and agent on the insured's claim for contract reformation on the basis of mistake was proper because reformation is an equitable remedy available to a complaining party who has acted with reasonable diligence, and the insured cannot claim relief on the grounds of mistake when the loss occasioned by the alleged mistake was the result of his own negligence as a matter of law.FischerHamilton 3/30/2016 3/30/2016 2016-Ohio-1321
Weitzel v. Cincinnati C-150415CIVIL SERVICE: The decision of the court of common pleas affirming the Cincinnati Civil Service Commission's denial of a candidate's challenge to the grading on the 2013 Fire Captain's promotional examination was not contrary to law and was supported by a preponderance of reliable, probative and substantial evidence where the evidence demonstrated that the use of Z-scoring, and the Z-scoring formula that was used, did not contradict the stated terms of the promotional exam for weighting the exam parts or the Commission's "continuous" scale requirement, and the formula was not arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable in giving effect to seniority points.CunninghamHamilton 3/30/2016 3/30/2016 2016-Ohio-1322