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Case CaptionCase No.Topics and IssuesAuthorCitation / CountyDecidedPostedWebCite
State v. Williams C-150249IMPEACHMENT - EVIDENCE/WITNESS/TRIAL -SUBSTITUTION OF TRIAL JUDGE - EVID.R. 403 - NEW TRIAL - ALLIED OFFENSES - R.C. 2941.25 - CONSTITUTIONAL LAW/CRIMINAL - SENTENCING: Evid. R. 607 requires a showing of surprise and affirmative damage before a party may impeach its own witness with a prior inconsistent statement. The trial court erred in finding that the state had demonstrated "affirmative damage" under Evid.R. 607 where the witness's testimony was neutral testimony in that it did not contradict any facts in that witness's prior statement; however the defendant was not materially prejudiced by the admission of the witness's prior inconsistent statement where the jury was properly instructed that the statement was to be used for impeachment purposes only. The trial court did not err in allowing the state to impeach its own witness under Evid.R. 607 where the witness's trial testimony contradicted facts in a statement she had given to police prior to trial, and where the state had no reason to believe that she would not testify in a manner consistent with her prior statement. Under Crim.R. 25(A), when a judge presiding over a jury trial is unable to proceed, a new trial judge may be designated, and provided the newly designated judge has familiarized himself with the trial record, that judge may preside over the remainder of the trial. The newly designated judge did not abuse his discretion in violation of defendant's constitutional rights by failing to grant defendant a new trial where there was no indication that the substitute judge was unable to properly preside over the remainder of the trial; the defendant did not have a Sixth Amendment right to have the same judge preside over his jury trial, and there was no Fifth Amendment due process violation resulting from the substitution. The trial court did not violate Evid.R. 403(A) when it allowed the state to play certain portions of the defendant's interview with police where the complained-of police comments and statements were necessary to put the defendant's statement into context and were beneficial to the jury's overall understanding of the defendant's statement. The trial court did not err when it failed to grant defendant's motion for a new trial because defendant's bases for a new trial were not supported by the record. The aggravated murders of two separate victims are not allied offenses of similar import. Aggravated murder and aggravated robbery of a single victim are not allied offenses of similar import where the victim was shot in the back of the head at close range demonstrating a specific intent to kill separate from the motive for robbery. The charge of having a weapon while under a disability was dissimilar to aggravated-murder and aggravated-robbery charges, because the weapon-under-a-disability statute manifests a legislative purpose to punish the act of possessing a firearm while under a disability separately from any offenses committed with the firearm. Where the sentence pronounced in open court was subsequently modified in the court's entry imposing sentence, the trial court violated defendant's due-process right, embodied in Crim.R. 43(A), to be present during sentencing.StautbergHamilton 9/16/2016 9/16/2016 2016-Ohio-5827
State v. Sweeten C-150583CONSTITUTIONAL LAW/CRIMINAL - SEARCH AND SEIZURE - COUNSEL - ALLIED OFFENSES - R.C. 2941.25 - WEAPONS - SENTENCING: The stop of the vehicle in which defendant was a passenger did not violate his Fourth Amendment rights where the police officer had authority under former R.C. 2935.03(E)(3) to stop the vehicle on the streets immediately adjacent to the boundaries of his jurisdiction. The continued detention of defendant after the stop of the vehicle did not violate defendant's Fourth Amendment rights where the stop lasted only a couple of minutes, defendant made furtive movements, and the officer discovered a warrant in the same name as the defendant's, even though the warrant was actually for the defendant's father, and where the police officer acted in good faith. Defendant's arrest did not violate his Fourth Amendment rights because the police officer had probable cause to arrest defendant where, after the officer had ordered the defendant to get out of the vehicle for safety reasons, defendant volunteered that he had a handgun concealed in the waistband of his pants. Defendant was not denied the effective assistance of counsel even though counsel did not file a motion to suppress on the basis that the stop of the vehicle was illegal where the police officer had been outside his jurisdiction when he had stopped the vehicle, because that motion would not have been successful. Defendant could be convicted of both carrying a concealed weapon and having weapons while under a disability because the having-weapons-while-under-a-disability statute manifests a legislative intent to punish the act of possession of a firearm while under a disability separately from any offense committed with a firearm, and therefore, the two offenses were of dissimilar import. The trial court did not err in imposing consecutive sentences where it made the required findings to justify consecutive sentences, announced the findings at the sentencing hearing, and incorporated them into the sentencing entry.MockHamilton 9/16/2016 9/16/2016 2016-Ohio-5828
State v. Crawley C-160421SENTENCING: Where the appellate court reversed the defendant's sentences for the trial court's failure to provide the defendant his right of allocution and remanded the matter to the trial court for a resentencing hearing, the trial court erred in failing to conduct the resentencing hearing de novo, including a failure to make consecutive-sentencing findings.FischerHamilton 9/16/2016 9/16/2016 2016-Ohio-5829
State v. Cockrell C-150497JUVENILE - BINDOVER - EVIDENCE - PROBABLE CAUSE - R.C. 2152.12 - CONSTITUTIONAL LAW/CRIMINAL - COUNSEL: There was probable cause to believe that the juvenile defendant had a firearm on or about his person and used it in the commission of an armed robbery where the record contains evidence that the victim of the armed robbery observed that at least two of the four robbers had guns, guns that were within the reach of the juvenile were recovered from a vehicle in which the juvenile was a passenger immediately after the robbery, and there were four guns in the vehicle, one for each participant in the robbery. For purposes of R.C. 2152.12(A), a "case" is defined as those charges that arose from a common nucleus of operative facts, regardless of whether the charges were filed under a single case number from a single complaint. Ohio's mandatory-transfer scheme does not violate the Due Process or Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, or Article I, Sections 2 and 16 of the Ohio Constitution. Where the trial court determined that defendant was entitled to a certain number of days of jail-time credit, the court erred in failing to include the number of days of credit in its sentencing entry, and the cause must be remanded for the trial court to correct the error in a nunc pro tunc entry. Counsel was not ineffective for failing to raise a constitutional challenge that would not have succeeded. Defendant's claim of ineffective assistance of counsel was rendered moot where the alleged deficient performance related to an assignment of error that was sustained on appeal.MockHamilton 9/14/2016 9/14/2016 2016-Ohio-5797
State v. Whatley C-150471AGGRAVATED BURGLARY - EVIDENCE - DEADLY WEAPON: To satisfy the elements of aggravated burglary, the defendant may form the purpose to commit the criminal offense and acquire the deadly weapon at any point during the course of the trespass. The defendant's conviction for aggravated burglary was based on sufficient evidence where the defendant brought a pocketknife with him, and, during his trespass in the victim's apartment, acquired a butcher knife and a pair of scissors, with which he stabbed the victim.StautbergHamilton 9/9/2016 9/9/2016 2016-Ohio-5713
State v. Blair C-160333EXPUNGEMENT: While probation under former Ohio law was civil in nature, it was replaced with community control, which is criminal in nature. In a case of first impression, the trial court did not err in overruling the defendant's motion to seal the record in a criminal case in which she had been acquitted, because she had a pending criminal proceeding where she was on community control for a misdemeanor in another case.FischerHamilton 9/9/2016 9/9/2016 2016-Ohio-5714
State v. Landrum C-150718EVIDENCE/WITNESS/TRIAL - AGGRAVATED MENACING: The defendant's aggravated-menacing conviction was supported by sufficient evidence and was not against the manifest weight of the evidence with regard to whether the victim, the defendant's niece, believed that the defendant would cause her serious physical harm: the evidence presented at trial showed that the defendant had run toward the victim, while brandishing a knife and yelling threats, and although the victim testified that she had not expected her aunt to actually use the knife, the victim testified that she had been in a state of fear and had felt threatened.FischerHamilton 9/7/2016 9/7/2016 2016-Ohio-5666
In re L.S. C-150526SEARCH AND SEIZURE - CONSITUTIONAL LAW/CRIMINAL - CRIMINAL MISCELLANEOUS: In an adjudication for carrying a concealed weapon, the trial court erred in holding that the search of the juvenile's book bag that was located between his legs on the floor of the vehicle in which the juvenile was a passenger was justified as an inventory search, because the police department's official policies and procedures for an inventory search did not have a specific policy about the opening of closed containers during an inventory search. The search of the juvenile's book bag was justified under the automobile exception to the warrant requirement, because the officers had probable cause to believe that it might contain contraband or evidence of a crime where the vehicle in which the juvenile was a passenger ran a stop sign, engaged in a high-speed chase with police, ran a red light and stopped only after crashing into a sign, the officers approached the car at gunpoint, and the juvenile not only ignored the officers' repeated requests to drop the bag and put his hands up, but acknowledged that the bag was his and told the officers he was taking it. The trial court erred in denying the juvenile's motion to be tried free of restraints without a showing of a particularized need for the restraints, but the error was harmless where the case was tried to the court and the record did not show that the shackles interfered with the juvenile's ability to communicate with his counsel.MockHamilton 8/31/2016 8/31/2016 2016-Ohio-5582
Scheer v. Knierim C-150763JURISDICTION - APPELLATE REVIEW/CIVIL: Defendant's appeal from the trial court's judgment that determined liability but left unresolved the issue of damages must be dismissed because it was not taken from a final order.DeWineHamilton 8/31/2016 8/31/2016 2016-Ohio-5583
Waldman v. Pitcher C-150462; C-150501JURISDICTION/VENUE - JUSTICIABLE CONTROVERSY - DECLARATORY JUDGMENT: An abuse-of-discretion standard applies to the review of a trial court's holding regarding justiciability. Ohio's Declaratory Judgment Act provides that any person interested under a written contract, or other writing constituting a contract, may bring a declaratory-judgment action to have a court determine any question of construction or rights arising under the contract, either before or after there has been a breach of the contract. Ohio's Declaratory Judgment Act does not authorize a court to render an advisory opinion; declaratory-judgment actions must, like any action, satisfy a threshold requirement of justiciability. A justiciable controversy exists for purposes of a declaratory-judgment action when there is a genuine dispute between parties having adverse legal interests of sufficient immediacy and reality to warrant the issuance of a declaratory judgment. Based upon the long-accepted rule that when a plaintiff's self-avoidance of imminent injury is coerced by threatened enforcement action of a private party, in a declaratory-judgment action, while the party suing need not have sustained a cognizable loss, he or she must face a set of circumstances that presents the imminent threat of loss to present a justiciable controversy; when, prior to seeking declaratory relief, a party to a nondisparagement agreement receives a letter from the other parties stating a "clear threat" to enforce specific legal rights if the party makes a disparaging statement, the correspondence may demonstrate the parties' adverse legal interests and the existence of an actual controversy. In a declaratory-judgment action filed by a party to a settlement agreement seeking a declaration that the agreement's nondisparagement provision was unenforceable as being in violation of a public policy encouraging the reporting of incompetent, disreputable, or dishonest activities by tax practitioners, the trial court erred in dismissing the action for lack of a justiciable controversy when the plaintiff's legal right to report alleged contumacious behavior by the defendant tax practitioners, who were parties to the agreement, was actively contested by the defendants, his former partners.CunninghamHamilton 8/31/2016 9/21/2016 2016-Ohio-5909