Medina County Courthouse

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Ninth District Opinions for Sept. 4-11, 2013

State v. Taylor, 2013-Ohio-3906 reversed a decision from the Summit County Court of Common Pleas denying a motion to suppress. The basis for the appellate court's ruling was that the officer who made the traffic stop didn't have a reasonable, articulable suspicion that the occupants of the car were engaging in a criminal activity. The basis for the stop was that the defendant and the driver of the car had come from a location about 30 to 40 minutes away to buy lye. Lye is a substance used in the manufacture of meth. The store where the lye was purchased is a store that employs a off-duty Akron police officer. In the past that officer had tipped off the officer making the stop about people purchasing lye. Of the 20 previous tips, 19 had led to drug-related offenses. The Court of Appeals, however, found that those facts were not enough to warrant a traffic stop. 

State v. Legg, 2013-Ohio-3905 reversed a decision of the Summit County Common Pleas Court finding that the offenses of child endangering and murder were not allied offenses of similar import. What is somewhat unusual about the case is that when the trial court held a change of plea hearing the parties stipulated that the two offenses were subject to merger. When conducting the sentencing hearing, however, the trial court found that they were not subject to merger. Since the case was resolved by a plea, there were no facts on which the trial court could base its ruling. The case was remanded so that the trial court can conduct a new sentencing hearing. 

In re Z.H., 2013-Ohio-3904 reversed a decision by the Summit County Juvenile Court. The grounds for the appeal was that the service of process on him of the petition terminating parental rights. The first issue was whether the denial of the motion under Civ. R. 60 (B) (5) and under the common law to set aside a judgment because of defective service was a final and appealable order. The appellate court determined that it was a final order. Then the trial court considered whether the method used to "serve" the Z.H.'s father comported with due process. The method used was to serve by publication by using the initials of the child. The Court of Appeals found that it did not provide due process. The case was then remanded back to the trial court. 

In re C.A., 2013-Ohio-3903 affirmed a decision by the Summit County Juvenile Court finding that a child was delinquent by committing a act that would be a felony if committed by an adult, namely felonious assault. The trial court also found that the juvenile had used a firearm in the assault and therefore he was committed to the Division of Youth Services for a minimum term of two years and a maximum term until age 21. The juvenile appealed arguing that the evidence was insufficient for the court to have made such a finding and that the verdict was against the manifest weight of the evidence. Both arguments were rejected. 

State v. Horton, 2013-Ohio-3902 affirmed the conviction of Mr. Horton for felony murder, felonious assault, both with firearm specifications and of having a weapon while under a disability. Horton appealed raising several assignments of error. He argued that the trial court had allowed the State to improperly challenge a juror on the basis of race; that the jury instructions were defective in that the trial court did not include a mens rea in the instructions for the felony murder charge; that the evidence was insufficient to sustain a conviction; that the verdict was against the manifest weight of the evidence; that the indictment was defective in that it did not set forth a mens rea for the felony murder charge; and that the trial court improperly required Mr. Horton to testify on his own behalf by stating that it would not give the instruction for defense of another after the close of the State's case. All of the assignments of error were overruled. 

State v. Treadwell, 2013-Ohio-3870 affirmed Mr. Treadwell's conviction for failure to register as a sex offender by the Lorain County Common Pleas Court. Treadwell argued that his convictions were based on insufficient evidence and were also against the manifest weight of the evidence. Both assignments of error were rejected by the appellate court. 

Thomas v. Strba, 2013-Ohio-3869 reversed a decision by the Medina County Common Pleas Court granting a motion for summary judgment. The trial court had held that the building of a hunting stand was a "recreational activity". The appellate court held that the doctrine of recreational immunity should not cover activities that are done in preparation of engaging in a recreational activity. The case was remanded back to the trial court for further proceedings. 

State v. Smith, 2013-Ohio-3868 affirmed a conviction in the Wayne County Municipal Court for leaving the scene of an accident and for failing to keep an assured clear distance. Ms. Smith appealed citing three assignments of error. They were that the conviction was based on insufficient evidence; that the conviction was against the manifest weight of the evidence; and that her trial counsel was ineffective. All three assignments of error were overruled. 

Matheny v. Norton, 2013-Ohio-3798 reversed a decision of the Summit County Common Pleas Court that granted a summary judgment to the City of Norton on a petition to compel arbitration. The appeal involved whether or not an employee waived his rights under the collective bargaining agreement with the City of Norton if he filed a grievance under the bargaining agreement. While the trial court found that there was a waiver, the appellate court found that there was not. The second assignment of error dealt with the trial court not holding a hearing on the petition to compel arbitration. The appellate court held that R.C. 2711.03(A) requires the trial court to hold a hearing. The case was remanded back to the trial court. 

State v. Jacobs, 2013-Ohio-3797 was an appeal from the Stow Municipal Court. Ms. Jacobs challenged her traffic ticket on the basis that R.C. 4511.213 is unconstitutional. Jacobs was given the traffic ticket and entered a plea of not guilty. The case was then heard by a magistrate. Jacobs argued that since there was not a subsection listed, the magistrate should have considered whether the entire statute was "void for vagueness". The magistrate limited the analysis to just one subsection. The trial court, however, when it heard the objections, considered the whole statute and found that it wasn't unconstitutional. The appellate court affirmed the trial court. Ms. Jacobs also argued that the statute was void for vagueness. The Court of Appeals also rejected this argument. 

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