Friday First District Roundup 2-26-21

In re: D.G
Case #C200371
Quote from Judge Bergeron's Opinion:
In this parental termination case, we must evaluate the weight and sufficiency of the evidence underlying the trial court’s grant of permanent custody to the Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services (“HCJFS”), as well as the applicability of R.C. 2151.35(B)(1) when all parties expressly waive the 90 day dispositional deadline. Because we find the trial court’s decision supported by both the weight and sufficiency of the evidence, and we conclude that parents may explicitly waive the dispositional deadline, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Cummins & Brown, LLC, Phyllis E. Brown v. James Cummins 
Case #C200166 
Quote from Judge Zayas' Opinion:
Plaintiffs-appellants Cummins & Brown, LLC, and Phyllis Brown (collectively, “Brown”) appeal the trial court’s judgment denying their motion to assess deposition expenses as court costs as set forth under the settlement agreement entered into between Brown and defendant-appellee James Cummins. Because the trial court lacked jurisdiction to entertain Brown’s motion to enforce the settlement agreement, we vacate the judgment denying that motion.
In March 2017, Brown and Cummins dissolved their law firm by executing the “Protocol and Final Agreement for Winding Up Cummins & Brown, LLC” (“wind-up agreement”). Three months later, Brown sued Cummins, alleging breach of the wind-up agreement, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. During the discovery period, Brown took the deposition of Cummins and Paul Gafney, the accountant for the former law firm. Brown paid the costs associated with each deposition and then filed the invoices detailing those costs with the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts. 

In re: N.S
Case #C190713
Quote from Judge Zayas' Opinion:
Defendant-appellant N.S. appeals his September 5, 2019 adjudication by the Hamilton County Juvenile Court for violating a condition of probation. The record reveals, and the state concedes, that N.S was never actually placed on probation and ordered to comply with conditions of probation prior to the alleged violation. Therefore, we reverse the adjudication and discharge N.S. from further prosecution. 

State of Ohio v. Derrick D. Blassingame 
Case #C190555 
Quote from Judge Zayas' Opinion:
Following a bench trial, defendant-appellant Derrick D. Blassingame was convicted of disorderly conduct in violation of R.C. 2917.11(A)(4), a minor misdemeanor, and ordered to pay a fine of $100. In his appeal, Blassingame argues that the trial court erred by denying his motion for a continuance and contests the sufficiency and weight of the evidence underlying his conviction. For the following reasons, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.
On April 14, 2019, Blassingame was arrested and charged with failing to provide identifying information in violation of R.C. 2921.29 (“Charge A”) and interfering or impeding pedestrian or vehicular traffic on a public right-of-way in violation of Cincinnati Municipal Code 910-13 (“Charge B”). The next day Blassingame was assigned a public defender. A month later, Blassingame appeared at his guilty-plea hearing with a different public defender. After the guilty-plea hearing but before he was sentenced, Blassingame asked to withdraw his guilty plea and requested new counsel be appointed because he was unhappy with his current attorney’s performance. The trial court continued the case and agreed to appoint new counsel.

State of Ohio v. Deondra Brooks 
Case #C190549
Quote from Judge Myers' Opinion:
In this appeal, Deondra Brooks challenges the voluntariness of his guilty pleas to felony drug and weapon offenses in two cases. Finding no merit in Brooks’s sole assignment of error, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.
In the case numbered B-1703247, Brooks pled guilty to two counts of aggravated trafficking in drugs and one count of trafficking in heroin. Before Brooks was sentenced in that case, he was indicted on multiple felony counts in the case numbered B-1804661.
Both cases were scheduled for June 24, 2019, the earlier case for sentencing and the new case for trial. Before that date, Brooks filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea in the case numbered B-1703247, which the court denied on June 24 after a hearing. The new case was continued for trial, and the court revoked Brooks’s bond pending sentencing in the earlier case.

State of Ohio v. Damarco Elliott 
Case #C190430 
Quote from Judge Bergeron's Opinion:
We confront in this case a so-called “agreed sentence” in a deal struck between a defendant and the state. The problem, as we shall see, is that an “agreed sentence” conjures up a variety of meanings both in the case law and, in all likelihood, in the mind of a defendant. To attempt to clarify the confusion in this area, we elaborate on the effect of an agreed sentence so that the defense, the state, and the trial court are all on the same page. In this case, while the deal was labeled as an “agreed sentence,” the court explained to the defendant that it was not obliged to accept the proposed sentence, and could deviate in either direction. The defendant acknowledged that at the time of his plea, preventing him from now unwinding his plea after the trial court took the very actions that it warned him about. We therefore overrule both assignments of error and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

In re: M/E.
Case #C200349 
Quote from Judge Bergeron's Opinion:
In this parental custody case involving two children, the juvenile court granted permanent custody of one child to Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services (HCJFS) and legal custody of the other to a relative. Mother now appeals, presenting one assignment of error, challenging the court’s decision as against the weight and sufficiency of the evidence. After carefully reviewing the record, we conclude that the evidence supported the juvenile court’s decision, and we therefore affirm its judgment.
This case began in October 2016 when HCJFS obtained interim custody of Mother’s two children: J.M., a three-year-old boy; and C.E., a seven-yearold girl. C.E. had come to school distraught after having an altercation with Mother, and upon further inquiry, reported that Mother instructed her not to come home after school. C.E. also expressed fear of returning home because Mother belittled her with derogatory language and whipped her with a belt. Beyond those concerns, she had anxiety regarding whether Mother would be able to provide adequate food for the family. These fears arose against a backdrop of Mother’s intermittent homelessness and untreated anger and mental illness challenges, including bipolar disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. Violence was also an issue, as Mother previously lost custody of her two children after assaulting police officers. Additionally, neither child’s father had any contact with them since the outset of this case. 

State of Ohio v. Joseph P. Findler 
Case #C190606 
Quote from Judge Crouse's Opinion:
Defendant-appellant Joseph P. Findler was convicted of speeding in violation of Cincinnati Municipal Code 506-8. He has appealed, arguing in four assignments of error that the trial court erred (1) by not conducting an evidentiary hearing on the state’s motion to quash his subpoena, (2) by granting the motion to quash, (3) by making and admitting hearsay statements, and (4) by improperly restricting the scope of cross-examination and demonstrating bias against him and in favor of the state.
We overrule all assignments of error and affirm the judgment of the trial court. 

State of Ohio v. James Emanuel 
Case #C190450 
Quote from Judge Myers' Opinion:
On July 13, 2017, defendant-appellant James Emanuel was convicted of sexual imposition, a conviction that automatically classified Emanuel as a Tier I sexual offender. The municipal court judge’s sheet, which sentenced Emanuel, contains the notation, “all warnings about responsibilities as a sex offender were read to defendant.” This sentencing entry does not contain the language “Tier I.” The record contains a notification of registration duties signed by Emanuel indicating that he was a Tier I sex offender. This notification explains in detail all of Emanuel’s duties. And, consistent with the judgment entry’s notification that all responsibilities were read to Emanuel, the judge also signed the written notification form indicating that he read these duties to Emanuel and that he understood them. Emanuel also acknowledged by his signature that the requirements had been explained to him. Emanuel appealed his sexual-imposition conviction, which we affirmed in State v. Emanuel, 1st Dist. Hamilton Nos. C-170445 and C-170446 (July 18, 2018) (“Emanuel I”). The only issues raised in Emanuel’s appeal were the weight and sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction.

State of Ohio v. Leonard Evans 
Case #C190356
Quote from Judgment Entry:
Defendant-appellant Leonard Evans appeals the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court’s judgment overruling his “Motion for Resentencing Based on a Non-Final Appealable Order and Void Judgment Entr[ies].” We reverse the court’s judgment overruling the motion and remand for correction of the March 2016 judgment of conviction. 

State of Ohio v. Devonta Allen
Case #C200099
Quote from Judgment Entry:
Defendant-appellant’s appointed counsel has advised this court that, after a thorough review of the record, he can find nothing that would arguably support appellant’s appeal, and that the appeal is wholly frivolous. See Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 87 S.Ct. 1396, 18 L.Ed.2d 493 (1967); see also Freels v. Hills, 843 F.2d 958 (6th Cir.1988). Counsel, as required by Anders, has communicated this conclusion to appellant, and has offered appellant an opportunity to respond and to raise any issues. Counsel has also moved this court for permission to withdraw as counsel. See Anders at 744; see also 1st Dist. Loc.R. 16.2(C)(1) and 16.2(D)(2).

State of Ohio v. Jackie Jackson 
Case #C190676
Quote from Judge Winkler's Opinion:
Following no-contest pleas, defendant-appellant Jackie Jackson was convicted of one count of having weapons while under a disability under R.C. 2923.13(A)(2), one count of carrying concealed weapons under R.C. 2923.12(A)(2), and one count of improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle under R.C. 2923.16(B). He now appeals, and in his sole assignment of error, he contends that the trial court erred in overruling his motion to suppress evidence found in his car. He argues that (1) the police did not have a reasonable and articulable suspicion to stop his vehicle, (2) there was not reasonable suspicion or concern for officer safety to justify removing Jackson from his vehicle or searching his vehicle, and (3) the plain-view exception to the warrant requirement did not apply. We find no merit in his arguments, and we affirm his convictions.

H&R Cincy Properties, LLC, Harjinder Sandhu, Nancy Asha, Hisham Asha, Dina Towers Condominium Owners Association and Its Board of Trustees v. Marcus Fontain, Ramona Fontain, Cinvesco, LLC, Cinvexco, LLC, Dina Towers Association  
Case #C190584
Quote from Judge Crouse's Opinion:
The appeals before us stem from a dispute among condominium owners in Dina Towers, a 30-unit condominium building located in Hamilton County, Ohio. Collectively, plaintiffs H&R Cincy Properties, owned by Harjinder Sandhu, and Nancy Asha and Hisham Asha own ten condominium units (“condos”) and are members of the Dina Towers Condominium Owners Association (“DTCOA”). Defendants Marcus Fontain, Romona (a.k.a. “Norma”) Fontain, Cinvesco, L.L.C., and Cinvexco, L.L.C., own the other 20 condos. In a complaint filed in October 2017, plaintiffs alleged, inter alia, that defendants acted illegally to take control of the DTCOA, replace its board of trustees, steal the funds in its operating and reserve bank accounts, and obtain sole ownership of Dina Towers. According to the complaint, defendant Dina Towers Association (“DTA”) was formed by defendants to replace the DTCOA.
Plaintiffs moved for the appointment of a receiver to take control of the DTCOA and manage the property during the litigation. On August 10, 2018, the trial court appointed Prodigy Properties as receiver. Shortly thereafter, on August 27, 2018, the parties entered into a settlement agreement. The parties agreed that defendant DTA would distribute $2,000 to the receiver as a startup fee and $11,000 to cover the receiver’s monthly fees and the wind-down fee. They agreed that the receivership would terminate on February 11, 2019. DTA was designated to pay the court costs.