Friday First District Roundup 2-7-20

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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State of Ohio v. Tiarra Bender
Case #C180584

Quote from Judgment Entry:

Following a bench trial, defendant-appellant Tiarra Bender was convicted of domestic violence for assaulting her 13-year-old daughter, T.B. She now appeals.

At trial, the state presented evidence that while Bender’s car was parked in a lot outside of a recreational center, her daughter went to the car alone and started the car. A witness testified that she saw Bender come out of the recreational center, open the driver’s door of the car, and scream at the child. The witness saw Bender grab the child by the arm, causing the child to fall to the ground on her bottom. Bender then grabbed the child by her hair, put her in a headlock, punched her in the head four or five times, and kicked her. According to the witness, the child was able to get away from Bender and run to the other side of the car, where the child “peed her pants.” The witness testified that when Bender pulled the child back into the building, the child “had wet going down her legs.”

State of Ohio v. Earl Jones
Case # C170647

Quote from Judge Crouse's Opinion:

Defendant-appellant Earl Jones appeals his convictions for aggravated murder and carrying a concealed weapon. In his appeal, Jones raises nine assignments of error for our review. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.
Assignments of error:
1. Earl Jones’s Conviction for Aggravated Murder Under R.C. 2903.01(A) is Not Supported by Sufficient Evidence, and the Trial Court Erred When it Denied his Crim.R. 29 Motion.
2. Earl Jones’s Conviction for Aggravated Murder is Not Supported by the Manifest Weight of the Evidence.
3. The Trial Court Violated Earl Jones’s Constitutional Right to Present a Complete Defense.
4. The Trial Court Erred When it Admitted Photographs That Were Both Misleading and Substantially More Prejudicial than Probative.
5. Earl Jones’s Defense Counsel Was Constitutionally Ineffective.
6. The Trial Court Erred When it Denied Earl Jones’s Mistrial Request.
7. The Trial Court Erred When it Admitted Prejudicial Photographs.
8. The Trial Court Erred When it Sentenced Earl Jones to Life Without the Possibility of Parole Despite the Fact that the Record Clearly and Convincingly Did Not Support Such a Punitive Sentence, and R.C. 2953.08(D)(3) is Unconstitutional if it Prohibits Appellate Review of Earl’s Sentence.
9. The Cumulative Effect of the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Assignments of Error Denied Earl Jones a Fair Trial.

In re: K.W.
Case #C190632

Quote from Judgment Entry:

Appellant mother has appealed from the juvenile court’s judgment granting permanent custody of her son K.W. to the Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services (“HCJFS”), which will facilitate K.W.’s case plan goal of adoption. In her sole assignment of error, mother argues the trial court erred by granting permanent custody of K.W. to HCJFS and by denying the maternal aunt’s petition for custody.

Importantly, mother does not challenge the termination of her own parental rights to K.W., but instead argues that the court should have granted the maternal aunt’s petition for custody. The maternal aunt has not appealed the denial of her custody petition.

State of Ohio v. Charles E. Slaughter 
Case #C190180

Quote from Judgment Entry:

Defendant-appellant Charles E. Slaughter appeals from the trial court’s judgment imposing an aggregate prison term of 36 months for the offenses of having weapons while under a disability and receiving stolen property. The court imposed the prison terms after Slaughter rejected the option of placement in a residential community-control program at the River City Correctional Center in lieu of prison.

Slaughter does not contend that the imposition of the prison terms would be unwarranted based on his record and the offenses. Instead, in his sole assignment of error, he argues the process the trial court employed in selecting prison contravened the provisions of R.C. 2929.11 and 2929.12, resulting in sentences that were contrary to law.

State of Ohio v. Brendon Adams
Case #C190016

Quote from Judgment Entry:

Brendon Adams appeals the judgment of the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court convicting him of forgery and theft. In a single assignment of error, Adams argues that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel because counsel failed to object to hearsay testimony and failed to call certain witnesses.

State of Ohio, Ex Rel. Michael A. Rimroth, Michael A. Rimroth v. City of Harrison, Ohio, William Neyer, Mayor of the City of Harrison, The Civil Service Commission, City of Harrison, Ohio
Case #C180691

Quote from Judge Mock's Opinion:

Plaintiff-relator-appellant Michael Rimroth claims that the trial court erred when it denied his administrative appeal of the decision of the defendantrespondent-appellee the Civil Service Commission, City of Harrison, Ohio, to promote Cameron Kugler instead of him to the position of fire captain with defendant-respondent-appellee City of Harrison. He also claims that the trial court erred when it denied his petition for a writ of mandamus seeking an order directing the civil service commission to award him the promotion with back pay. While we agree that the trial court erred in ordering the civil service commission to administer a new written examination, we conclude that Rimroth has failed to establish that he is entitled to the position.

State of Ohio v. Errol Carr
Case #C190009

Quote from Judgment Entry:

Defendant-appellant Errol Carr appeals the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court’s judgment convicting him for trafficking in heroin, aggravated possession of drugs, and having weapons while under a disability. Prior to entering a plea deal, Mr. Carr moved to dismiss the weapons-under-disability charge, asserting the state’s use of his prior juvenile adjudication to prove the “disability” element violated due process. Because this court already answered this question in State v. Carnes, 2016-Ohio-8019, 75 N.E.3d 774 (1st Dist.), and the Ohio Supreme Court accepted discretionary review of Carnes, the trial court denied Mr. Carr’s motion to dismiss. See State v. Carnes, 150 Ohio St.3d 1429, 2017-Ohio-7567, 81 N.E.3d 1271.

A few months later, Mr. Carr entered into a plea deal, ultimately pleading guilty to trafficking in heroin and aggravated possession of drugs and no contest to having weapons while under a disability. After accepting his pleas, the trial court postponed sentencing to allow completion of a presentence investigation (“PSI”) report. At the sentencing hearing, a different judge sentenced Mr. Carr to 12 months on both the drug offenses and 24 months on the disability offense, running all three sentences concurrently for a total of 24 months. In his two assignments of error, Mr. Carr challenges the denial of his motion to dismiss and the 24-month sentence imposed for his weapons-under-disability offense.