Medina County Courthouse

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ninth District Court of Appeals Releases Seven Opinions on Monday, March 18, 2013

The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Appellate District, which covers Lorain, Medina, Summit, and Wayne Counties released seven opinions on Monday, March 18. Five were from Medina County, one was from Lorain County, and the remaining opinion was from Wayne County.

The five opinions from Medina County were: 

Sturdevant v. Likley, 2013-Ohio-987, which deals with the torts of defamation, false light, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The appellant was appealing the granting of a motion for summary judgment. The opinions contains a discussion of the Restatement of Torts, 2nd, Sections 602 and 652. The decision affirmed the trial court's granting of the motion for summary judgment. 

State v. Samples, 2013-Ohio-986, which deals with the issue of sufficiency of the evidence in a case involving driving while under the influence. The Court of Appeals found that the evidence was insufficient to sustain a conviction for operating while under the influence of a drug of abuse. In particular the Court noted that the State had not produced evidence showing what "drug of abuse" Mr. Samples had consumed. Since the term "drug of abuse" is the same as the term "controlled substance" used in a different section of the Revised Code, and since that section lists the names of "controlled substances", it was necessary for the State to establish the identity of the "drug of abuse." The Court reversed Mr. Samples' conviction. 

State v. Miller, 2013-Ohio-985, which deals with the issues of whether a Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper had a reasonable suspicion to justify the continued detention of a car's operator who had originally been stopped for expired license plates, and whether the consent of the driver to a search was voluntary. The Court of Appeals overruled the first assignment of error, but granted the second assignment. Although there were three assignments of error listed, since the Court of Appeals reversed on the second assignment. the Court did not issue any decision on the third assignment. 

Michaels v. Michaels, 2013-Ohio-984, which deals with the issue of spousal support and contempt of court for non-payment of spousal support. The issue of spousal support dealt with whether the husband, who was obligated to pay spousal support, had shown a significant change of circumstances to justify a modification of his support order. The trial court concluded that he had, and the Court of Appeals affirmed that decision. On the second assignment of error, the Court of Appeals held that the doctrine of res judicata barred the wife from raising the issue on the appeal covered by the March 18th decision. 

State v. Ibrahim, 2013-Ohio-983, which deals with the issue of whether there was sufficient evidence to allow the State to withstand a motion for a directed verdict made pursuant to Crim. R. 29. The charge involved possession of a controlled substance. The issue on appeal was whether there was enough evidence to allow the jury to find that the defendant constructively possessed the controlled substance. The trial court found that there was, but the Court of Appeals disagreed. The decision contains a discussion of the concept of "constructive possession" and its application to a situation involving multiple occupants of a van, which had been involved in an traffic accident. 

The Lorain County opinion was: 

Bonnette v. Bonnette, 2013-Ohio-981,  which deals with the issue of dismissal of an appeal for failure to file the appeal timely. The opinion contains an interesting discussion of Civ. R. 52, which concerns findings of fact and conclusions of law, and App. R. 4. 

The Wayne County opinion was: 

State v. Hillman, 2013-Ohio-982, which deals with the issue of whether a defendant could raise an issue of withdrawal of a no-contest plea in a post-conviction relief petition when it could have been raised on a direct appeal. The Court of Appeals held that the trial court committed reversible error when it heard the post-conviction relief petition because the issue should have been raised on a direct appeal. 

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