First Friday – First District Roundup! (9/2)

The Law Library will be closed on Monday, September 5 in observance of Labor Day. Enjoy the three day weekend!

08/31/2022
State of Ohio v. Catherine Scott
C-210627
Quote from Judge Crouse:
On the evening of June 10, 2020, Scott was driving home from Friendship Park near downtown Cincinnati in her white Hyundai Sonata. Cincinnati Police Lieutenant David Schofield testified that he was in an unmarked police vehicle when he observed a “smaller white Hyundai with heavily dark-tinted windows heading southbound” in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. Schofield testified that “the vehicle was driving at a very rapid rate of speed,” and that it “did not come to a complete stop at the red light at West Liberty Street to northbound Central Parkway. The vehicle slowed to make the northbound turn and did not use a signal as it made that turn.” Schofield communicated this information to uniformed officers Newman and Smith, who saw a vehicle matching the description and stopped it.
Newman and Smith approached the vehicle and ordered the driver, Scott, to roll down all of her windows. Both officers testified that they could not see inside the vehicle due to the dark tint. The body-camera footage of the traffic stop shows Scott’s front windows rolled down approximately halfway, while her back windows are rolled down only a few inches. After Scott did not roll her windows down further, Newman approached the vehicle and ordered Scott to step out. Scott told the officers she was afraid and did not exit the vehicle. Eventually, Smith reached in and unlocked the doors from the passenger side. Newman opened the driver’s side door, grabbed Scott’s arm, and pulled her out. Newman testified that Scott walked with him willingly to his cruiser. At no point in the interaction did the officers use a tint meter on her windows.

Defendant’s conviction for excessive window tint under R.C. 4513.241 was not based on sufficient evidence where the state failed to prove that defendant’s windows were tinted in violation of the light-transmittance standards set forth in Ohio Adm.Code 4501-41-03.
Defendant’s convictions for improper change of course and running a red light were based on sufficient evidence and were not against the manifest weight of the evidence where an officer testified that he saw defendant’s car violate the law and came to the scene to verify that the correct car had been pulled over, and defendant testified that she drove past the officer.
JUDGMENT:  AFFIRMED IN PART AND REVERSED IN PART, AND APPELLANT                                       DISCHARGED IN PART

8/31/2022
State of Ohio v. Antoine James
C-210597
Quote from Judge Myers:
James was charged with assault in violation of R.C. 2903.13. The victim of the offense was Ceaira Brooks. At a bench trial, Ceaira testified that on November 30, 2019, she saw James “beating up on” her cousin Ardrella Brooks,1 who was James’s girlfriend, outside an after-hours party in downtown Cincinnati. Ceaira intervened and told James to stop hitting Ardrella. James then got in Ceaira’s face. Ardrella pulled Ceaira away from James and got into Ceaira’s car. Before Ceaira could join Ardrella in the car, James pressed up against her from behind and she pushed him away. Ceaira drove Ardrella home.
Ceaira testified that as she waited in the car for Ardrella to enter her home, she saw James approach Ardrella and attack her again. James then spit on Ceaira through her car window. According to Ceaira, she exited from the car to examine her clothing for spittle, and James hit her in the face with his fist. Ceaira testified that she fell to the ground, skinned her knee, scraped her hand, and broke her nails, and that she experienced pain for approximately one week. After getting up, Ceaira called the police. A photograph depicting the injuries to Ceaira’s face, taken approximately a day and a half later, was admitted into evidence.

As the trier of fact, the trial court was in the best position to judge the credibility of the witnesses, and it was entitled to believe the testimony offered by the victim over that offered by defendant. 
No abuse of discretion occurred in the trial court’s imposition of a 180-day jail term. 
Where no statute authorized the trial court to impose a jail term consecutive to a community-control sentence, the trial court erred in ordering the jail term in this case to be served consecutively to a community-control sentence imposed in another case. 
Where the trial court imposed a jail term and not a community-control sentence, it was not authorized to impose an order for defendant to stay away from the victim. 
JUDGMENT:     Affirmed IN PART, SENTENCE REVERSED IN PART, AND CAUSE REMANDED

08/31/2022
Dianna G. Gardner, by and through her daughter and power of attorney, Kelly Strunk v. Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
C-210376
Quote from Judge Crouse:
On March 19, 2019, plaintiff-appellant Diana Gardner entered the Burlington House Rehab and Alzheimer’s Center. At the time of her admission, Gardner owned real property in West Virginia, but had been attempting to sell the property since December 2018. On August 20, 2019, Gardner applied for long-term Medicaid. The Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services (“HCJFS”) rejected her application because it determined that Gardner’s resources, including the West Virginia property, exceeded $2,000, the Medicaid-eligibility-resource limit.
In October 2019, Gardner appealed the decision and requested a state hearing with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (“ODJFS”) in accordance with R.C. 5101.35(B). The hearing officer affirmed HCJFS’s decision. Gardner filed an administrative appeal to the director of ODJFS in accordance with R.C. 5101.35(C). The director affirmed the denial of Gardner’s Medicaid application. Gardner appealed to the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court pursuant to R.C. 5101.35(E). Her case was heard by a magistrate, who affirmed the denial of her Medicaid application. She filed objections to the magistrate’s decision. The trial court overruled the objections and adopted the magistrate’s decision.

The trial court erred in holding that plaintiff’s real property was not subject to exclusion under the reasonable-efforts exclusion and was therefore a countable resource for purposes of determining plaintiff’s Medicaid eligibility; the state of Ohio must determine Medicaid eligibility utilizing criteria that is no more restrictive than federal supplemental security income eligibility criteria, which requires the exclusion of real property that the applicant is making reasonable but unsuccessful efforts to sell.  
JUDGMENT: REVERSED AND CAUSE REMANDED

08/31/2022
Krissann Stapleton v. Scott Stapleton
C-210329
Quote from Judge Winkler:
Krissann and defendant-appellee Scott Stapleton married in 1987 and had three children, all of whom are now emancipated. Over the course of the approximately 34-year marriage, the parties owned and operated three related businesses: Miami Athletic Club, Inc., (“MAC”) a fitness center; Fitness Xpress, LLC, (“Fitness Express”) a CrossFit gym operated out of MAC; and NTM Enterprises, LLC, (“NTM”) a company that owns the real estate where MAC and Fitness Express are located. We collectively refer to as these entities as the “marital businesses” or the “health club.” The main source of income for the parties during much of the marriage was the operation of the health club that afforded them a “high standard of living.”
In 2019, Krissann filed for divorce and sought spousal support. Scott counterclaimed. The trial court issued various temporary orders, including support orders and orders that became necessary for operating the health club due to the parties’ antagonistic relationship.

            In a divorce case, the trial court did not err as a matter of law or abuse its discretion when it awarded full ownership of the marital businesses to husband where the court properly applied R.C. 3105.171 and provided a comprehensive explanation as to why its allocation of the marital business with a zero net value, as determined by uncontroverted expert testimony, was part of an equitable if not equal division of property.
            The trial court did not err as a matter of law or abuse its discretion by declining to award spousal support to wife after a long-duration marriage where the court properly considered all the income the husband would derive due to his full ownership of the marital businesses, and carefully considered all the factors set forth in R.C. 3105.18(C)(1) as applied to the circumstances of the case, including the precarious state of the marital businesses, wife’s strong work history, and the substantial investable assets awarded wife.
JUDGMENT:   AFFIRMED   

08/31/2022
State of Ohio v. William O'Neal
C-190736
Quote from Judge Winkler:
The Reagan Tokes Law, as defined under R.C. 2901.011, departs from the existing definite sentencing scheme and provides an indefinite sentencing scheme for non-life-sentence felony offenses of the first or second degree committed on or after March 22, 2019. In November 2019, O’Neal pled guilty to one count of felonious assault with a three-year-firearm specification and one count of having weapons under a disability. Because these offenses occurred on or about June 24, 2019, and the felonious-assault offense was a second-degree felony, O’Neal was subject to the newly enacted indefinite sentencing provisions under the Reagan Tokes Law for that offense.

             The trial court erred by imposing a definite sentence for a second-degree-felony offense, instead of an indefinite sentence as required by the Reagan Tokes Law, which is not unconstitutional on its face.  See State v. Guyton, 1st Dist. Hamilton No. C-190657, 2022-Ohio-2962.  JUDGMENT:    REVERSED AND CAUSE REMANDED

09/02/2022
State of Ohio v. Jerome Mosley
C-200268, C-200269
Judgement Entry:
The court sua sponte removes these cases from the regular calendar and places them on the court’s accelerated calendar, 1st Dist. Loc.R. 11.1.1(A), and this judgment entry is not an opinion of the court. See Rep.Op.R. 3.1; App.R. 11.1(E). In July 2020, Jerome Mosley pled guilty to three counts of aggravated robbery with firearm specifications and three counts of having a weapon while under a disability. The trial court imposed a nine-year mandatory incarceration sentence to be served consecutively to an indefinite three to four-and-a-half-year sentence under the Reagan Tokes Law. Mr. Mosley now appeals, claiming in his sole assignment of error that the Reagan Tokes sentencing scheme is violative of both the Ohio and the United States Constitutions....
This court recently rejected similar constitutional challenges to the Reagan Tokes Law after a thorough analysis of the statute and relevant case law. See State v. Guyton, 1st Dist. Hamilton No. C-190657, 2022-Ohio-2962. Guided by that precedent, which we incorporate by reference, we overrule all of Mr. Mosley’s assignments of error and affirm the judgment of the trial court.
A certified copy of this judgment entry shall constitute the mandate, which shall be sent to the trial court under App.R. 27. Costs shall be taxed under App.R. 24.

09/02/2022
State of Ohio v. Michael L. Perry
C-200178
Quote from Judge Myers:
Perry entered a guilty plea to one count of felonious assault, in violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(1), a second-degree-felony offense. The offense occurred on or about June 7, 2019, subjecting Perry to the indefinite sentencing provisions of the Reagan Tokes Law, effective March 22, 2019. Prior to sentencing, Perry raised a constitutional challenge to the Reagan Tokes Law and requested to be sentenced under the former, definite sentencing scheme. The trial court rejected Perry’s constitutional challenge and imposed an indefinite sentence of a minimum term of three years in prison and a maximum term of four-and-one-half years in prison. In addition, the court told Perry that he would be required to register with Ohio’s Violent Offender Database pursuant to R.C. 2903.41 through 2903.44 (“Sierah’s Law”) upon his release from prison.
In his first assignment of error, Perry argues that the trial court erred by classifying him as a violent offender under Sierah’s Law because he was not convicted of a predicate offense listed in R.C. 2903.41(A). The state concedes the error. Because felonious assault, the offense for which Perry was convicted, is not a predicate offense listed in R.C. 2903.41, the trial court erred by classifying Perry as a violent offender. See State v. Freeman, 1st Dist. Hamilton No. C-190751, 2021-Ohio2283, ¶ 13-14. We sustain Perry’s first assignment of error.

The trial court erred by classifying defendant as a violent offender and telling him he would be required to register with Ohio’s Violent Offender Database upon his release from prison because felonious assault, the offense for which defendant was convicted, is not a predicate offense listed in R.C. 2903.41.
Defendant cannot demonstrate that the indefinite sentencing scheme embodied in the Reagan Tokes Law is unconstitutional on its face because the law does not violate the separation-of-powers doctrine.  See State v. Guyton, 1st Dist. Hamilton No. C-190657, 2022-Ohio-2962.    JUDGMENT:   AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, AND CAUSE REMANDED