First District Roundups are Back in Action!

First Friday Roundups are back!

Hello! I am Ana Mendoza – the new outreach librarian at the Hamilton County Law Library and I hope to continue the roundups as well as my predecessor. In the future I will try start the roundups with upcoming CLEs & events at the law library and quickly move to the good stuff. Thank you!

State of Ohio vs. Buddy Bullock
Quote from Judge:
After a jury trial, defendant-appellant Buddy Bullock was convicted of two counts of assault stemming from separate physical confrontations with corrections officers while he was an inmate at the Hamilton County Justice Center. The state alleged that Bullock grabbed the genitals of the officers during each confrontation. The defense argued that Bullock did not knowingly cause physical harm to the officers and that the officers’ claims were made up or exaggerated to cover for their excessive use of force. Bullock has appealed, arguing in one assignment of error that his convictions were against the manifest weight of the evidence.
Defendant’s convictions for assault were not against the manifest weight of the evidence where the victims testified that defendant grabbed their genitals during separate altercations, an eyewitness to one of the assaults testified that she witnessed defendant grab the victim’s genitals, and surveillance video of the incidents did not contradict the witnesses’ testimony as defendant claimed.

Duke Energy One, Inc. vs. Cincinnati State Tech. & Comm. College
Quote from Judge Winkler:
Plaintiff-appellant Duke Energy One, Inc., (“Duke Energy One”) appeals the judgment of the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas dismissing its amended complaint seeking to recover specific property, namely electrical equipment, installed by Duke Energy One on the campus of defendant-appellee Cincinnati State Technical and Community College (“Cincinnati State”). The case involves whether the court of common pleas has subject-matter jurisdiction over the action or whether exclusive jurisdiction lies in the Court of Claims, where Duke Energy One previously filed a lawsuit against Cincinnati State. Additionally we must determine whether Duke Energy One can obtain the requested relief when the complaint admits that the Court of Claims in the prior action between these parties found the contract involving the equipment void for failure to comply with a mandatory state statute requiring the certificate of the fiscal officer for Cincinnati State.
 The Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas did not err by dismissing a company’s lawsuit against a state of Ohio community college solely seeking the return of electrical equipment installed on the campus under a lease the Court of Claims previously found to be void due to the lack of certification by the college’s fiscal officer; while the Court of Claims Act did not divest the court of common pleas of subject-matter jurisdiction over the claim for equitable relief, the company could not recover under a theory of unjust enrichment because “courts will not lend their aid to enforce such a [void government] contract, directly or indirectly, but will leave the parties where they have placed themselves.”  See Buchanan Bridge Co. v. Campbell, 60 Ohio St. 406, 420, 54 N.E. 372 (1899).

Colerain Twp. Bd. of Trustees vs. Bench Billboard Co.
Quote from Judge Bergeron:
The parties in this appeal have been at odds for nearly 30 years over advertising bench billboards located in Colerain Township. In the latest chapter of their feud, the trial court imposed civil penalties and attorney fees against defendantappellant Bench Billboard Company (“BBC”) for bench billboards it found to be in violation of Colerain Township Zoning Resolution 63-14 (“Zoning Resolution 63-14”). But because we are unable to determine the billboards for which it awarded penalties, we are constrained to vacate the penalties and fees and to remand this cause for further proceedings before the trial court.

Where the trial court limited its grant of summary judgment to injunctive relief for violations of plaintiff township’s zoning resolution at specific locations, and where it is not clear from the record whether the civil fines and penalties assessed by the trial court were limited to those specific violations, the fines and penalties must be reversed and the cause remanded for the trial court to assess fines and penalties only for those locations included in the grant of summary judgment.

Bayliss vs. Durrani
Quote from Judge Crouse:
On May 2, 2016, Billy Spivy and 11 other plaintiffs filed a complaint against Abubaker Atiq Durrani, the Center for Advanced Spine Technologies (“CAST”), West Chester Hospital, UC Health, and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Spivy’s complaint also included claims against The Christ Hospital (“TCH”). The other plaintiffs have dismissed their appeals, leaving Crystal Garrison, administrator of the estate of Billy Spivy,1 as the sole plaintiff-appellant. Garrison has appealed from the trial court’s judgment dismissing the case against defendantappellee TCH for failure to perfect service of process and failure to prosecute.

The trial court did not err in holding that defendant did not waive service of process because defendant did not appear for purposes of the present case; defendant’s alleged appearances actually pertained to other unrelated cases and/or a collateral matter. 

In Re: James Sullivan
Quote from Judge Crouse:
On January 15, 2021, Sullivan was found in direct criminal contempt of court and sentenced to three days in jail for “causing total disruption in the courtroom, screaming and yelling in the courtroom.”1 After he was sentenced, Sullivan was taken from the courtroom to be booked into the jail. During a search of Sullivan’s person, a Hamilton County Sheriff’s Deputy found a body camera in Sullivan’s pocket, which he believed to be recording.

The trial court erred in denying appellant’s motion for the return of his property because, pursuant to State v. Hammock, 1st Dist. Hamilton No. C-200368, 2021-Ohio-3574, indefinitely confiscating appellant’s cell phone and body camera is not reasonably commensurate with the gravity of the direct-criminal-contempt offenses for which he was convicted.

In Re: David Gipson
Quote from Judge Crouse:
On January 15, 2021, Gipson was found in direct criminal contempt of court for “recording in violation of courthouse rules and committing perjury by lying to the Judge while under oath.” Gipson was accused of recording with his cell phone in the courthouse lobby. Gipson testified under oath that he was not recording. However, he refused to unlock his cell phone to allow the trial court to verify his statement because he argued that it violated his constitutional rights. The court told Gipson that he would “get the forensic guys to open it up.” The court continued the hearing in progress and told Gipson he would be jailed until the next hearing. The court filed a written entry on January 15, 2021 titled, “Entry finding David Gibson [sic] Guilty of Direct Contempt of Court and Imposing Penalty,” but the entry did not include a penalty. Rather, the entry stated that the court “continues the case in progress to 1/19/2021.”
The trial court erred in denying appellant’s motion for the return of his property because, pursuant to State v. Hammock, 1st Dist. Hamilton No. C-200368, 2021-Ohio-3574, indefinitely confiscating appellant’s cell phone and iPad is not reasonably commensurate with the gravity of the direct-criminal-contempt offense for which he was convicted.

State of Ohio vs. McKinney
Quote from Judge Crouse:
Facts and Procedure: In May 2019, McKinney was speeding on Colerain Avenue in Cincinnati, Ohio, with David Coffman in the passenger seat. As McKinney accelerated to 88 m.p.h., he collided with an SUV driven by Vicki Noe. McKinney’s car then ricocheted off Noe’s SUV and veered into oncoming traffic, where he struck a car occupied by Richard and Lyneltea Ritzi. Coffman, Noe, and the Ritzis suffered serious, permanent injuries.
Two years later, McKinney pleaded guilty to four counts of vehicular assault in violation of R.C. 2903.08(A)(2)(b), all fourth-degree felonies.
At the sentencing hearing, the court sentenced McKinney to four consecutive 15-month sentences, for a total of 60 months of incarceration. The court described the collision as “a road rage incident” that was “consistent with [McKinney’s] prior conduct.” The court reviewed McKinney’s criminal history, which included countless license suspensions, seven convictions for driving with a suspended license, numerous speeding violations, and convictions for breaking and entering.
The trial court’s imposition of consecutive sentences was proper under R.C. 2929.14 when the record supported the trial court’s finding that defendant’s history of criminal conduct demonstrated that consecutive sentences were necessary to protect the public from future crime by defendant.

In Re: J.C.
Quote from Judge Bergeron:
A ride home from work led to a delinquency adjudication for carrying a concealed weapon when defendant-appellant J.C.’s brother (the driver of the car) turned around and handed her his gun as police pulled the vehicle over. He assured her that, as a juvenile, she would not face any repercussions for possession of the weapon—a prediction that proved inaccurate. On appeal after her adjudication, J.C. protests several of the juvenile court’s evidentiary determinations, challenges the weight and sufficiency of the evidence in support of the judgment, and disputes the denial of her Juv.R. 29(F)(2)(d)motion. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the juvenile court’s judgment.
The state adequately authenticated a handgun where witnesses testified that the evidence was what the state purported it to be, despite the fact that those witnesses did not testify as to chain of custody.
           The juvenile court did not commit reversible error by excluding the criminal record of a third-party who allegedly placed the juvenile under duress because the probative value of the criminal record was negligible and the juvenile could not prove all of the elements of duress even if that evidence was admitted. 
                 The state presented sufficient evidence to establish that the juvenile possessed a deadly weapon under R.C. 2923.12(A) where it put on undisputed evidence that she possessed a handgun, which is a deadly weapon under R.C. 2923.11.
                  The complaint was not deficient for failing to charge the juvenile under the relevant subsection of R.C. 2923.12 where the complaint unambiguously described the nature and scope of the prohibited conduct.       
           The juvenile court’s finding that the juvenile concealed a handgun was not against the weight of the evidence where the juvenile and the state’s witnesses gave conflicting testimony and the juvenile court made a credibility determination in the state’s favor.
              The state presented sufficient evidence to establish that the juvenile concealed the handgun where the arresting officers testified that the juvenile had a sweatshirt and work apron tightly pressed against her abdomen so as to conceal the handgun within her waistband.
                  The juvenile court’s decision to reject the juvenile’s duress defense was not against the weight of the evidence where the juvenile presented no evidence to establish the fifth element of duress (i.e., imminent harm leaving no alternative but compliance).
                  The juvenile court’s finding that the juvenile knowingly concealed a handgun was supported by sufficient evidence where the juvenile testified that she placed a handgun in her waistband and the arresting officers testified that the juvenile had her sweatshirt and work apron pressed tightly against her abdomen so as to conceal the handgun in her waistband.