Friday First District Roundup 5-1-20

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

Interested in getting these weekly updates sent right to your inbox? Sign up here!

State of Ohio v. Scott A. Gerhardt
Case #C190360

Quote from Judgment Entry:

Defendant-appellant Scott A. Gerhardt was involved in a serious single-car accident on interstate 71 on September 4, 2016. State Trooper Jeffrey Madden was called to the scene. Prior to the crash, motorists had reported that Gerhardt’s vehicle had been weaving dangerously on the interstate. When Madden arrived, Gerhardt had already been detained by deputies from the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department and officers from the Montgomery Police Department, had been handcuffed and was being placed in a cruiser. Madden was told that Gerhardt was restrained because of his aggressive behavior. Madden was also informed that one of the officers smelled alcohol on Gerhardt’s breath. Madden noticed a strong odor of alcohol coming from Gerhardt as soon as he approached him. He also saw that Gerhardt’s eyes were glassy and red.

State of Ohio v. Steven Jent
Case #C190348

Quote from Judgment Entry:

Defendant-appellant Steven Jent appeals the judgments of the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, revoking his community control and imposing a sentence of 18 months in the case numbered B-1805518 and 12 months in the case numbered B-1804830-B. In December 2018, the trial court sentenced Mr. Jent to 90 days and imposed four years of community control on both his theft, a felony of the fourth degree, and forgery, a felony of the fifth degree, offenses. As to the conditions of his community control, the court instructed Mr. Jent to pay the court costs of the proceedings, make restitution to the victim in the amount of $7,500, stay away from the victim, maintain employment (or perform community service), and submit monthly drug screens. In April 2019, the Hamilton County Adult Probation Department filed a complaint against Mr. Jent, alleging that he violated his community control when he failed to report to his probation officer and failed to pay his court costs and make restitution. After Mr. Jent pled no contest to his violations, the court revoked his community control and sentenced him to 18 months for his theft offense and 12 months for his forgery offense, running the sentences consecutively for a total of 30 months.

TBS Transportation, LLC, Troy W. Sublett v. Tri-State Used Auto Sales, d.b.a. Tri-State Auto Sales, Pierre Jackson, Krishaun Gilmore
Case #C190254

Quote from Judge Mock's Opinion:

In this case, we address the question of whether a trial court may properly award a default judgment when the defending parties have filed an answer in the proceeding. Since it may not, we reverse the judgment of the trial court.

Plaintiffs-appellees TBS Transportation, LLC., and Troy Sublett (“TBS”) filed a lawsuit against defendant-appellant Tri-State Used Auto Sales, d.b.a. Tri-State Auto Sales, and its owners, defendants-appellants Pierre Jackson and Krishaun Gilmore (collectively “Tri-State”). The suit alleged that TBS purchased a Porsche from Tri-State. The agreement was not committed to writing. According to the complaint, the parties had agreed on a sales price of $13,000, with payments of $500 per month. According to the complaint, TBS had made the monthly payments timely, until the balance reached $1500. At that point, TBS contacted Tri-State to ask to completely pay off the vehicle. Tri-State informed TBS that TBS actually owed more than $13,000 on the vehicle, and refused to release their lien or accept $1500 as final payment. Tri-State later repossessed the vehicle.

State of Ohio v. Don F. Buttram
Case #C190034

Quote from Judge Crouse's Opinion:

Defendant-appellant Don Buttram appeals his conviction for obstructing official business. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

On October 1, 2018, Officer Kelly Garner of the Norwood Police Department received a call to investigate a possible overdose. Garner, as well as fire and EMS units, responded to Buttram’s address. Garner activated a body-worn camera upon her arrival. The body camera captured the entirety of Garner’s encounter with Buttram

Dileep Koleti, Anusha Koleti v. Martha Mehlman
Case #C190015

Quote from Judge Zayas' Opinion

Defendant-appellant Martha Mehlman appeals the judgment of the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, which awarded $8,833.91 in attorney fees to plaintiffs-appellees Dileep and Anusha Koleti on a claim arising under the Ohio Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (“OUFTA”), R.C. Chapter 1336. For the following reasons, we reverse the trial court’s judgment.

The Koletis’ case against Martha stemmed from a business deal between the Koletis and Martha’s now-deceased husband, Timothy Mehlman. Acting as a real estate broker, Timothy helped facilitate a contract between the Koletis and another individual for the purchase of a gas station and convenience store. The Koletis gave Timothy a $50,000 deposit for the purchase, but later found out that the contract was fraudulent—the individual they contracted with was not the owner of the property. On October 29, 2015, the Koletis filed a lawsuit against Timothy to recover their deposit and punitive damages. A year later, the Koletis obtained a judgment against Timothy for $51,911, plus interest, and sanctions in the amount of $1,072.50. Timothy was also indicted on two counts of theft and one count of unauthorized use of property for depriving the Koletis of their deposit money and obtaining it through deception. Timothy eventually pled guilty to unauthorized use of property, and the counts for theft were dismissed.

State of Ohio v. William Arnold
Case #C180670

Quote from Judge Winkler's Opinion:

Following a jury trial, defendant-appellant William Arnold was convicted of one count of reckless homicide under R.C. 2903.041, one count of felonious assault under former R.C. 2903.11(A)(1), one count of abduction under R.C. 2905.02(A)(2), and one count of tampering with evidence under R.C. 2921.12(A)(1). We find no merit in his five assignments of error, and we affirm his convictions.

The record shows that on February 29, 2016, at about 12:30 a.m., Rhonda Byrd received a call from her 16-year-old daughter, Hailey Hall. Hall asked Byrd to pick her up at Inner Circle Night Club, also known as Annie’s Night Club. Byrd told Hall she would need a few minutes to get dressed and find the location of the night club. Once she was ready, Byrd called Hall back. A man answered Hall’s phone. Byrd described the man’s voice as deep, like that of a middle-aged black man. Hall then got on the phone, and said she had a ride and she would be home “in a little bit.”

In re: D.W., a minor child
Case #C180654

Quote from Judge Crouse's Opinion:

D.W. appeals from judgments of the Hamilton County Juvenile Court that adjudicated him delinquent for having engaged in conduct which, if it had been engaged in by an adult, would have constituted the offense of aggravated robbery with a firearm specification. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm the juvenile court’s judgments.

In the case numbered 18-3794X, D.W. was accused of being delinquent for committing an act which, if it had been committed by an adult, would have constituted the offense of aggravated robbery in violation of R.C. 2911.01(A). In the case numbered 18-5090X, D.W. was further accused of being delinquent for committing an act which would have constituted the offense of robbery in violation of R.C. 2911.02(A)(1). Each offense was supplemented with one- and three-year gun specifications pursuant to R.C. 2941.141 and 2941.145. Prior to trial, D.W. stipulated to his participation in the robbery. However, he elected to proceed to a joint bench trial with S.D. on the aggravated-robbery charge and the firearm specifications; the key inquiry at trial being whether they used firearms during the offense.