Medina County Courthouse

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ninth Appellate District Opinions Released 4.10.2013

The Court of Appeals for the Ninth District released four opinions on Wednesday, April 10. All the opinions were from Summit County. My summaries of the opinions appear below. As always any mistake made in the summaries is solely my responsibility. 

State v. Caldwell, 2013-Ohio-1417, which concerned a criminal appeal from the Summit County Common Pleas Court. Mr. Caldwell assigned five grounds for error, including the admission of hearsay statements and ineffective assistance of counsel. The Court of Appeals first noted that only a few of the alleged hearsay statements were objected to at the time of the trial. The Court of Appeals noted that unless the admission of such statements amounted to plain error, failure to make objections at the time of the trial waived those objections. The Court of Appeals found that if one of the statements was inadmissible, it was harmless error and it found that the other statement was properly admitted. 

The Court of Appeals then considered the ineffective assistance of counsel argument. The Court noted that failure to object to hearsay evidence does not amount to ineffective assistance of counsel, citing to opinions from the Ohio Supreme Court. Mr. Caldwell also argued that his counsel was ineffective because she left a police officer on the jury. The Court of Appeals noted that when that juror was called, the defense had no more peremptory challenges and that there was no reason to successfully challenge for cause. The Court overruled that assignment of error. 

Mr. Caldwell also argued that the trial court should have held a hearing on his motion for a new trial. The Court of Appeals noted that the trial court incorrectly concluded that the issue of ineffectiveness of counsel could not be raised on a motion for a new trial, but also concluded that the error did not prejudice Mr. Caldwell. 

The other two assignments of error were that Mr. Caldwell's conviction was against the manifest weight of the evidence, which the Court rejected. He also argued that the trial court deprived him of confrontation by admitting hearsay statements from co-defendants. The Court of Appeals noted that there was not an objection made at the time of the trial and that Mr. Caldwell had not argued plain error in his initial argument, but only in his reply brief, which is not allowed. The conviction was affirmed. 

Melick v. Melick, 2013-Ohio-1418 was an appeal from the Summit County Domestic Relations Court. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decisions of that court. The opinion carries an interesting discussion of the law regarding the disqualification of a magistrate for alleged bias. The opinion also contains discussion on assignments of error concerning child support and the use of the child support calculation tables. 

Akron City Sch. Dist. Bd. of Edn. v. Summit Cty. Bd. of Revision, 2013-Ohio-1419 deals with issues raised by an appeal from a decision of the Summit County Board of Tax Appeals. The Appellant was a long term lessee of the property involved in the case. The Board ruled that the appellant did not have standing to challenge the assessment. The Court of Appeals affirmed that decision. The Court noted that there is both statutory law and case law that the only a landowner has standing to bring a challenge to the valuation of property for tax purposes. The other assignment of error was rendered moot by the appellant's lack of standing. 

Solomon v. Marc Glassman, Inc., 2013-Ohio-1420 was an appeal from a decision by the Summit County Common Pleas Court granting a motion for summary judgment. The summary judgment was granted to Marc's in a lawsuit brought by a customer who was injured while shopping. The injury occurred when a shopping cart lost a wheel and tipped over. The appellant alleged that she was an invitee and that Marc's had a duty to inspect its shopping carts to make sure that were working properly. Marc's agreed with the appellant that it had such a duty. The Court of Appeals held that there was a question of fact concerning whether that duty was violated and reversed and remanded the case. 

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