Friday First District Roundup 12-27-19

Each Friday, we highlight decisions of the First District Court of Appeals in the past week. For question about these cases, contact Vanessa Seeger.

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Oliver Baker v. Clyde Austin
Case #C190139

Quote from Judge Crouse's Opinion:

Defendant-appellant Clyde Austin appeals from the trial court’s February 13 order overruling his motion to set aside the judgment. For the reasons set forth below, we reverse the trial court’s judgment and remand for further proceedings.

On August 14, 2018, plaintiff-appellee Oliver Baker brought an eviction action against Austin. In his complaint, Baker sought a writ of eviction, damages for unpaid rent, and damages for waste and destruction of the premises. Austin filed an answer and a jury demand on August 24, 2018. The trial court scheduled the cause for a jury trial on February 4, 2019, at 10:00 a.m.

In re: C.W.
Case # C180690

Quote from Judge Zayas' Opinion:

Following a bench trial before a magistrate, 12-year-old C.W. was adjudicated delinquent for committing acts that had he been an adult would have constituted telecommunications harassment, under R.C. 2917.21(B)(1), and inducing panic, under R.C. 2917.31(A)(3). For the following reasons, we reverse the juvenile court’s judgments.

Facts and Procedural History

This case stemmed from two comments made by C.W. to an Instagram post, one of which stated, “DUMB FUCK COME TO SYCAMORE YOU WONT,” and another which stated, “I’ll square up to these stupid coons.” C.W., a Sycamore Junior High School student, published these comments on the Instagram page of the socalled “Clown Clan,” , from his cell phone while he was at home on the evening of September 29, 2016. He deleted them approximately two hours later.

Walter Reinhaus v. Zoning Board of Appeals of The City of Cincinnati
Case #C180616

Quote from Judgment Entry:

Appellant Walter Reinhaus appeals from the judgment of the trial court adopting the magistrate’s decision upholding the decision of appellee, the Zoning Board of Appeals of the city of Cincinnati (“ZBA”). The ZBA’s decision denied in part Reinhaus’s request for a certificate of appropriateness. Reinhaus sought the certificate to make exterior modifications to his circa 1880 industrial brick building.

Due to its location, Reinhaus’s property is subject to the historic conservation guidelines for the Over-the-Rhine (“OTR”) historic zoning district of the city. Reinhaus was required to obtain a certificate of appropriateness to modify the building’s facade, including his plan to add new door openings and Juliet balconies in-between existing window openings on the front and to add a metal spiral staircase, instead of a regular staircase, to connect second and third level metal decks on the side. The city’s Urban Conservator, the Historic Conservation Board (“HCB”), the ZBA, and the court of common pleas rejected Reinhaus’s request for these two modifications because Reinhaus failed to demonstrate, as required by Cincinnati Municipal Code 1435-09-2, that the modifications substantially conformed to the guidelines for the historical district or that the denial of the request would cause him to suffer economic hardship.

State of Ohio Ex Rel. New Prospect Baptist Church v. Hon. Robert P. Ruehlman, Judge Court of Common Pleas, Hamilton County, Ohio
Case # C180591

Quote from Judge Mock's Opinion:

This is an original action in which the relator, New Prospect Baptist Church (“New Prospect”), a local religious organization, seeks writs of prohibition and mandamus involving respondent, the Hon. Robert P. Ruehlman, a judge of the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas.

New Prospect seeks to prevent respondent from enforcing an August 16, 2018 permanent injunction issued under Civ.R. 65, in a nuisance action brought against the city of Cincinnati in the case numbered A-1804285 (“the underlying case”). Based on affidavits from public health and police officials, respondent found that illegal encampments by homeless persons on public rights-of-way on Third Street in downtown Cincinnati were a nuisance and constituted “a hazard to the health and safety of the general public, including those living in the illegal encampments.”

Audrey N. Griffin v. James A. Griffin
Case #C180550

Quote from Judge Winkler's Opinion:

Defendant-appellant James A. Griffin (“James”) appeals from the divorce decree entered by the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division, granting plaintiff-appellee Audrey N. Griffin’s (“Audrey”) complaint for divorce. James contends the trial court erred by denying his motion to dismiss the action for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, and that his status as service member entitled him to a stay or continuance of the hearing on his motion. Additionally, he argues the trial court erred by adopting the parties’ agreement on parental rights and responsibilities and by ordering him to pay some of Audrey’s attorney fees. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

State of Ohio v. Kent Smith
Case #C180650

Quote from Judge Crouse's Opinion:

Defendant-appellant Kent Smith committed a string of burglaries, robberies, and felonious assaults in December 2015. Many of the crimes were violent and caused serious harm to the victims, including a 14-year-old boy who was shot in the chest by Smith, and a victim who suffered physical injuries and emotional distress after being assaulted and robbed by Smith twice in a ten-day period. Smith was charged with 19 counts in two indictments. After some of the counts were merged, Smith was convicted of 15 counts and six accompanying firearm specifications. The trial court then imposed the maximum sentence on each count and firearm specification, and ordered all counts and specifications to run consecutively to each other, for a total sentence of 101 years in prison.

Smith has appealed, arguing in seven assignments of error that (1) several of his convictions were based on insufficient evidence; (2) he was denied due process of law when the trial court failed to give an accomplice jury instruction concerning the testimony of codefendant Michele Brown; (3) he was denied a fair trial and due process when the state solicited false testimony; (4) he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel; (5) his right to be free from double jeopardy was violated when the trial court instructed the jury to convict him of burglary in counts seven and eight in the case numbered B-1507289; (6) the trial court deprived Smith of his right to counsel by imposing sentences outside of his presence and the presence of his counsel; and (7) the trial court erred by imposing consecutive sentences without making the required findings under R.C. 2929.14(C)(4) to support consecutive sentences.

There was insufficient evidence to support Smith’s convictions in count two of the case numbered B-1507289A (“B-15”) and count nine of the case numbered B-1601998 (“B-16”), and so we sustain Smith’s first assignment of error in part, and overrule it in part. We sustain Smith’s sixth and seventh assignments of error and remand the cause to the trial court for a new sentencing hearing. We overrule the remainder of Smith’s assignments of error and affirm the judgment of the trial court in all other respects.