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Case CaptionCase No.Topics and IssuesAuthorCitation / CountyDecidedPostedWebCite
State v. Howard C-170453VIOLATING A CIVIL PROTECTION ORDER – EVIDENCE – AUTHENTICATION – SUFFICIENCY: Testimony that a Facebook messenger screenshot fairly and accurately depicts the messages received is sufficient evidence to support the document’s authenticity, and the burden shifts to the opponent to present evidence to rebut the testimony. Defendant’s conviction for violating a civil protection order was supported by sufficient evidence where the state presented unrefuted evidence that defendant attempted to contact the victim through Facebook messenger.ZayasHamilton 9/14/2018 9/14/2018 2018-Ohio-3692
Johnson v. Hisle C-170717CIV.R. 3(A) – PROCEDURE/RULES – JURISDICTION: The trial court erred in continuing to exercise jurisdiction over the case where plaintiff instructed the clerk of court to attempt service of the complaint outside the one-year period in Civ.R. 3(A), because the instruction for service functioned as a notice of dismissal of plaintiff’s claims.MillerHamilton 9/14/2018 9/14/2018 2018-Ohio-3693
Bank of Am., N.A. v. Smith C-170654PROCEDURE/RULES — FORECLOSURE — DEFAULT JUDGMENT – CIV.R. 55: The trial court properly denied defendants-mortgagors’ motion to dismiss the complaint in an in rem foreclosure action where plaintiff mortgagee had attached to its complaint a valid copy of the assignment of the mortgage and a note that referenced the mortgage and had alleged that it was seeking only to enforce its security interest against the property; it was entitled to enforce the promissory note, which contained a blank indorsement in its name; and it was the assignee of the mortgage at the time of the foreclosure action. The trial court erred under Civ.R. 55 by adopting the magistrate’s decision and granting a default judgment in favor of plaintiff where defendants had appeared and “otherwise defended” against the allegations in plaintiff’s complaint by filing a timely motion and an amended motion to dismiss the complaint and by removing the case to federal court; the magistrate had failed to give defendants 14 days to file a responsive pleading after ruling on their motion to dismiss, in violation of Civ.R. 12(A)(2); and the magistrate had applied the Civ.R. 56 summary-judgment standard instead of the Civ.R. 55 default-judgment standard.DetersHamilton 9/12/2018 9/12/2018 2018-Ohio-3638
In re T.J. C-170584; C-180002; C-180329CHILDREN—TEMPORARY CUSTODY: The juvenile court did not err in adjudicating the child abused and dependent and in determining that it was in the child’s best interest to be placed in the temporary custody of a children’s services agency where the record contained evidence that the child suffered from mental-health issues and had extensive behavioral problems at school, and mother refused to recognize the child’s fault in these aggressive incidents and refused offered therapeutic services for the child; mother had thrown a mirror at the child; the child expressed that she did not want to return to mother’s care; mother and child had a volatile relationship; and mother had refused to sign a release of information, a necessary prerequisite to participating in a diagnostic assessment. Where the magistrate and the child were able to effectively communicate in an in camera hearing held via a video teleconference, and the child was able to clearly articulate her feelings regarding placement despite being hospitalized, the juvenile court did not err in overruling mother’s motion to set aside the magistrate’s order reflecting that the in camera hearing had taken place and continuing the matter for disposition. Where a children’s services agency was not required to obtain an agreement between the parties before filing a proposed change to a case plan, and where mother failed to file objections and request a hearing after receiving notice of the proposed change to the case plan, the juvenile court did not err by approving and incorporating the amended case plan.MyersHamilton 9/12/2018 9/12/2018 2018-Ohio-3639
State v. Pennington C-170199; C-170200COUNSEL – EVIDENCE/WITNESS/TRIAL – HOMICIDE – INVITED ERROR – EVID.R. 404(B) – EVID.R. 405 – EVID.R. 609: Trial counsel’s decision not to call a forensic pathology expert and instead rely on cross-examination of the state’s forensic pathology expert fell within the wide range of reasonable professional assistance and did not constitute ineffective assistance of counsel. Defendant failed to establish that prejudice resulted from trial counsel’s decision not to call a forensic pathology expert where nothing in the record indicated that testimony from another forensic pathologist would have been favorable to defendant and would have altered the outcome of the trial. Defendant could not establish that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to discover that the model of handgun used in a murder offense was the subject of a class-action lawsuit that had alleged defects with the handgun’s firing, because defendant’s allegations of ineffectiveness were based on facts not appearing in the record. The appellate court will not second-guess trial counsel’s decision not to call a witness, because that is a matter of trial strategy. In defendant’s trial for murder and having weapons while under a disability, the trial court properly admitted into evidence a weapon and ammunition not used in the shooting of the victim where the evidence was relevant to the question of whether defendant knowingly possessed any firearm, for purposes of the weapons-under-disability charge, and the admission of the evidence did not contravene Evid.R. 404(B). Defendant cannot challenge testimony elicited during his cross-examination of a state’s witness on hearsay and confrontation grounds, because any error in the admission of the testimony was invited or induced by the defendant. The appellate court engages in the presumption that, in a bench trial, even where defense counsel has failed to object to a prosecutor’s question to a witness, the trial court is able to distinguish between what the prosecutor tries to get the witness to say and the witness’s actual testimony. Where the defense elicited testimony about defendant’s nonviolent character, the trial court did not err by allowing the prosecutor to rebut the character evidence by inquiring into a prior domestic-violence complaint against defendant, even though the complaint had not resulted in a conviction. The ten-year limitation in Evid.R. 609 for use of evidence of a prior conviction for impeachment purposes does not apply if it is being used as a prior specific instance of conduct pursuant to Evid.R. 405. Defendant’s murder conviction under R.C. 2903.02(A) was based upon sufficient evidence, because a rational trier of fact could have concluded beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant had purposely killed the victim by shooting her in the face where a forensic pathologist opined that the manner of death was homicide and not suicide as claimed by defendant, and the state presented evidence that defendant was the only other person in the home at the time of the shooting, defendant had been so angry with the victim that the victim was scared that defendant would harm her, the murder weapon was clean and devoid of blood and other matter that, according to experienced investigators, would normally be present if the gunshot wound had been self-inflicted, and defendant lied about having the gun.MyersHamilton 9/12/2018 9/12/2018 2018-Ohio-3640
State v. Rucker C-170488APPELLATE REVIEW/CRIMINAL – JURISDICTION – FINAL ORDER – SEX OFFENSES: The trial court’s order purporting to classify defendant as a Tier II sex offender under Ohio’s version of the Adam Walsh Act was not final and appealable, because it did not meet the requirement that the judgment of conviction must be a single document that includes the fact of conviction, the sentence, the judge’s signature, and the time stamp; therefore, defendant’s appeal from that order must be dismissed.ZayasHamilton 9/7/2018 9/7/2018 2018-Ohio-3575
State v. Olagbemiro C-170451, C170452AUTOMOBILES – CONSTITUTIONAL LAW/CRIMINAL – SEARCH AND SEIZURE: The trial court did not err by denying defendant’s motion to suppress drugs, claimed to be the fruits of an illegal search of the passenger compartment of an automobile during a lawful traffic stop, because a limited protective search of the automobile was warranted for officer safety where the police possessed a reasonable belief, based on the totality of the circumstances, including the observance of furtive movements and some corroboration of a tip from a confidential informant, that defendant, who was the passenger, was trafficking in heroin, was dangerous, and may have gained immediate control of a weapon.CunninghamHamilton 9/5/2018 9/5/2018 2018-Ohio-3540
State v. Siemering C-170611APPELLATE REVIEW—SENTENCING—JURISDICTION—CONSTITUTIONAL LAW/CRIMINAL: The common pleas court had no jurisdiction to entertain defendant’s postconviction motion seeking resentencing for his community-control violations, because the motion was not reviewable under any postconviction procedure provided by statute or rule, and his sentences were not void: the trial court had not demonstrably lacked the authority to impose a prison term, because in the absence of a transcript of the prior sentencing hearing, the record cannot be said to show the alleged deficiency in R.C. 2929.19(B)(4) notification; and the trial court, in originally sentencing defendant, had had the discretion and statutory authority to order that his community-control sanctions be served consecutively to the prison term imposed for another offense.MockHamilton 9/5/2018 9/5/2018 2018-Ohio-3541
State v. McHenry C-170671VEHICULAR MANSLAUGHTER – R.C. 2945.75(A)(2) – COUNSEL: Where defendant was charged with vehicular manslaughter, a misdemeanor of the second degree in violation of R.C. 2903.06(A)(4), and the complaint did not allege any element that would have elevated the degree of the offense, R.C. 2945.75(A)(2) was inapplicable. Where trial counsel’s decision not to hire a crime scene reconstructionist and to instead cross-examine the state’s witness was a matter of trial strategy, and where it cannot be demonstrated that the outcome of the proceedings would have been different but for counsel’s failure to hire such an expert, counsel did not render ineffective assistance.MyersHamilton 8/24/2018 8/24/2018 2018-Ohio-3383
State v. Patterson C-170329FELONIOUS ASSAULT – RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERTY – EVIDENCE – CONSTITUTIONAL LAW/CRIMINAL – ID/PHOTOS – EVIDENCE/WITNESS/TRIAL – SENTENCING – CONSECUTIVE SENTENCES: In a felonious-assault prosecution, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting a Facebook photograph depicting defendant with a gun where a detective testified that he had used the photograph in the course of his investigation to confirm defendant’s identity as the perpetrator, and the victim testified that the gun in the photograph was similar to the gun that the victim had seen defendant brandish. Where a police officer testified that in the aftermath of a shooting he had shown the victim several Facebook photographs of defendant’s accomplice to confirm the accomplice’s identity, the trial court did not err in overruling defendant’s motion for a mistrial based upon the state’s failure to preserve those photographs: defendant argued that the photographs may have contained defendant, so the photographs would have been at most potentially useful for defendant, and nothing suggested that the officer had acted in bad faith by failing to save the photographs. Defendant did not demonstrate ineffective assistance of counsel for counsel’s failure to file a motion to suppress defendant’s admission to a police officer that he had been at the scene of a shooting, but had not been the shooter, because the record does not demonstrate that defendant made the statement without having been advised of his rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 479, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966). Defendant’s felonious-assault conviction was neither based on legally insufficient evidence nor contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence: the evidence adduced by the state at trial showed that defendant and an accomplice pointed guns at the victim, defendant threatened to shoot him, and the accomplice’s gun discharged. Defendant’s receiving-stolen-property conviction was neither based on legally insufficient evidence nor contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence: the evidence adduced by the state at trial showed that defendant had been driving a stolen vehicle the same day it had been reported stolen, and once a police officer initiated a stop of the vehicle, defendant crashed the vehicle into a post and fled on foot. The trial court did not err in imposing consecutive sentences: the trial court’s judgment entry tracked the necessary statutory language for consecutive-sentencing findings, and although the trial court did not recite the statutory language at the sentencing hearing, the appellate court can discern from the trial court’s comments that it engaged in the necessary analysis.DetersHamilton 8/22/2018 8/22/2018 2018-Ohio-3348