Friday First District Roundup 4-3-20

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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City of Cincinnati, State of Ohio v. Gregory White
Case #C190262

Quote from Judge Zayas' Opinion:

Defendant-appellant Gregory White was found guilty after a bench trial of operating a vehicle without reasonable control, a violation of R.C. 4511.202, and failing to stop after an accident on a public highway, a violation of R.C. 4549.02. White challenges his convictions as based upon insufficient evidence and contrary to the weight of the evidence. For the following reasons, we reverse his convictions. Facts

In the early morning hours of January 1, 2016, White was driving his Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck north on I-75 towards the I-74 interchange in Cincinnati. While on I-75, between Harrison Avenue and Hopple Street, White rearended a Ford Explorer. After the accident, White pulled over to the side of the highway to speak to the driver of the Ford Explorer, Julian Vega.

As White stopped, Vega exited from his vehicle and began banging on the driver’s side window of White’s truck. White testified that there was no way he could talk to Vega because Vega “was just banging on the window like he was trying to get into my car but I had my door locked.” White said Vega “was real angry” to the point that White felt his safety was in jeopardy and that he had to leave. White drove off, but Vega pursued him.

State of Ohio v. Leroy Acoff
Case # C190229

Quote from Judgment Entry:

Defendant-appellant Leroy Acoff originally pleaded guilty to having weapons while under a disability and was placed on community control. The court informed him that if he violated the terms of his community control, he would receive a sentence of 36 months’ incarceration.

Acoff was subsequently charged with several violations of the conditions of his community control. Those violations included going to Florida without obtaining the approval of his probation officer, being charged with domestic violence in Florida, failing to report to his probation officer, testing positive for cocaine, and failing to make payments towards his court costs and fines.

State of Ohio v. William Curry
Case #C190107

Quote from Judge Crouse's Opinion:

Defendant-appellant William Curry appeals his conviction for domestic violence. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm the judgment of the trial court. Facts and Procedure

The evidence presented below depicts two largely conflicting versions of events. The following facts, however, are undisputed. At the time of the incident, defendant-appellant William Curry and Dionte Nelson were in a relationship. Curry resided with Nelson at Nelson’s house. When Curry returned home from work in the early morning hours of December 17, 2018, he began arguing with Nelson about her children being awake. The argument eventually escalated into a physical altercation that formed the basis of the charges in this case.

At trial, Nelson testified that Curry began touching her face during the argument. Nelson stated that Curry was “like brushing my face with his hands.” According to Nelson, she asked Curry to stop, but he refused. Nelson testified that she then “pushed him in the face,” and “he punched me in my ear.” Nelson stated that the punch “hurt. It really hurt.” She later noticed blood on her ear.

State of Ohio v. Damon Bush
Case #C190094

Quote from Judge Myers' Opinion:

Damon Bush appeals the judgment of the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court convicting him of nonsupport of dependents, in violation of R.C. 2919.21(B). We find no merit in his sole assignment of error and we affirm his conviction. I. Background

On October 19, 2016, Bush was indicted on one count of nonsupport. He was arrested approximately 21½ months later on August 3, 2018. Four months after his arrest, on December 4, 2018, Bush filed a motion to dismiss the indictment on the ground that his right to a speedy trial had been violated. At a hearing on Bush’s motion, Margie Priestle, an investigator in the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office, testified that her job is to locate individuals who have been indicted for felony nonsupport and provide that information to the sheriff’s office. To ascertain a defendant’s address, she interviews witnesses and researches various databases.

State of Ohio v. Kevin Rogers
Case #C190051

Quote from Judgment Entry:

Defendant-appellant Kevin Rogers presents on appeal a single assignment of error challenging the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court’s judgment overruling his “Motion to Resentence the Defendant.” We overrule the assignment of error and affirm the court’s judgment as modified to dismiss the motion.

Rogers was convicted in 2000 of murder, felonious assault, and aggravated robbery. He unsuccessfully challenged his convictions on direct appeal and in postconviction motions filed in 2o17 and 2018. State v. Rogers, 1st Dist. Hamilton No. C-000299, 2000 WL 1886627 (Dec. 29, 2000); State v. Rogers, 1st Dist. Hamilton No. C-170599 (Dec. 19, 2018).

State of Ohio v. Manuel Pineda Ventura
Case #C180618

Quote from Judgment Entry:

Defendant-appellant Manuel Pineda Ventura appeals from the judgment of the Hamilton County Municipal Court convicting him, after a bench trial, of disorderly conduct, in violation of R.C. 2917.11.

In his sole assignment of error, Ventura argues his conviction is against the manifest weight of the evidence. We disagree. The evidence at trial showed that Ventura bit Charles Brewster on his torso during an altercation occurring outside the entrance to Brewster’s apartment building. At the time Brewster encountered Ventura, Brewster was in a weakened state and returning home from the hospital. Ventura was in the company of several friends.

State of Ohio v. Donta Williams
Case #C180291

Quote from Judge Winker's Opinion:

Following a jury trial, defendant-appellant Donta Williams was convicted of murder under R.C. 2903.02(A) and tampering with evidence under R.C. 2921.12(A)(1). He now appeals those convictions. We find no merit in his six assignments of error, and we affirm the trial court’s judgment. Factual Background

The record shows that on February 13, 2016, about 9:00 a.m., a resident of Tulsa Court heard a loud noise outside his home. He looked out and saw that a car had crashed into a telephone pole. He called 911.

Police and emergency crews responded to the scene, and found Derrick Johnson dead in the driver’s seat. The car was still running, and Derrick had what appeared to be a gunshot wound on the left side of his face, near his ear.

No shell casings were found at the scene, causing police to believe that Derrick had been shot with a revolver. One bullet was found lodged in a seatbelt, and there was a bullet hole in the pillar behind the driver’s side front door. Police also found a coat, later identified as Williams’s coat, nearby.

State of Ohio v. Buddy Struckman
Case #C180287

Quote from Judge Mock's Opinion:

Following a jury trial, defendant-appellant Buddy Struckman was convicted of two counts of unlawful possession of a dangerous ordnance under R.C. 2923.17(A), namely an automatic weapon and a suppressor. He was also convicted of two specifications under R.C. 2941.144 that he had possessed an automatic firearm that was equipped with a suppressor. Struckman has filed a timely appeal from those convictions. We find no merit in his three assignments of error, and we affirm his convictions. Factual Background

The record shows that on April 20, 2015, Officer Drew Jones of the Lockland Police Department received a dispatch about shots fired in the area of Maple Street and Locust Avenue. Officer Jones had interacted with Struckman at a house located at 622 Maple Street, which was near to that area. He and his partner drove to that address to investigate.

The officers received no response when they knocked on the door. At that time, they noticed security cameras attached to the house and became worried for their safety. The officers decided to call in the SWAT team. They also obtained a search warrant for the premises.