Friday First District Roundup 5-15-20

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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In re: L.M.B. and M.A.B.
Case #C200044

Quote from Judge Bergeron's Opinion:

In this parental termination case, we ultimately reject challenges to the juvenile court’s decision to terminate parental rights. Clear and convincing evidence supported the best interest analysis conducted by the court, as evidence filled the record regarding hazards to the children, parental drug use, untreated mental health problems, and the like. For the reasons explained below, we accordingly affirm.

State of Ohio v. LaWayne Whitfield
Case #C190591

Quote from Judge Crouse's Opinion:

Defendant-appellee LaWayne Whitfield was the passenger in a car stopped by Cincinnati Police Officers Oscar Cuiranek and Thomas Wells for a traffic violation. The officers called for a K9 team to conduct a “sniff” around the car, and asked the driver and Whitfield to step out of the car. When Whitfield stepped out of the car, he was frisked and then searched, whereupon officers discovered ten grams of cocaine in his possession. Whitfield filed a motion to suppress the cocaine, which, after a hearing, was granted by the trial court.

The state has appealed, arguing in one assignment of error that the trial court erred in granting Whitfield’s motion to suppress. For the reasons discussed below, we overrule the state’s assignment of error, and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

State of Ohio v. Brandley Femuels
Case #C190486

Quote from Judge Myers' Opinion:

Defendant-appellant Brandley Femuels appeals the trial court’s judgment convicting him of domestic violence in violation of R.C. 2919.25(A), raising five assignments of error for our review. Finding his assignments of error to be without merit, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Emily B. Rummelhoff v. David P. Rummelhoff
Case #C190355

Quote from Judge Zayas' Opinion:

Defendant-appellant David P. Rummelhoff appeals the judgment of the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division, overruling his objections to the adoption of plaintiff-appellee Emily Rummelhoff’s proposed shared-parenting plan, his motion to compel, discovery motions, motions for contempt, motion for a custody and psychological evaluation, and the calculation of child support.

We conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in adopting Emily’s shared-parenting plan and overruling the various motions to compel. However, we agree that the court erred in deviating from the schedule and worksheet to calculate the child-support amount without strictly complying with R.C. 3119.23 and 3119.24. Accordingly, we reverse the court’s child-support award and remand the cause to the domestic relations court for a recalculation of David’s childsupport award, and affirm the judgment in all other respects.

State of Ohio v. Herman See
Case #C190355

Quote from Judge Crouse's Opinion:

This case involves the sexual abuse of three children over the course of 15 years. The victims were biological or stepdaughters of the defendant-appellant Herman See and his codefendant and girlfriend Angela Stites. The charges span two indictments and include multiple counts of rape, sexual battery, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, and gross sexual imposition. After a jury trial, See was convicted and sentenced to four consecutive life terms, to be served consecutively to 221 years in prison. He now appeals.

In six assignments of error, See argues that: (1) the trial court erred in admitting testimony regarding a victim’s post-rape psychological issues; (2) the trial court erred in admitting hearsay testimony; (3) the convictions were based upon insufficient evidence; (4) the convictions were against the manifest weight of the evidence; (5) he was denied effective assistance of counsel; and (6) his cumulative sentence amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.

State of Ohio v. Clayton Rork
Case #C190237

Quote from Judge Bergeron's Opinion:

After a trial court imposes a valid criminal sentence, it cannot modify that sentence absent some statutory authority. The trial court here encountered the defendant on an alleged community control violation, but properly recognized that he had not committed a violation. Nevertheless, the trial court proceeded to resentence him anyway, trespassing the limits of its jurisdiction. The state here concedes the error, and we agree and accordingly reverse.

In early February 2019, defendant-appellant Clayton Rork pleaded guilty in Hamilton County Municipal Court to receiving stolen property pursuant to R.C. 2913.51 and operating a vehicle while intoxicated in violation of R.C. 4511.19 (“OVI”). In exchange for his pleas, other pending charges were dismissed. After accepting his guilty pleas, the trial court sentenced Mr. Rork to (among other things) 180 days’ confinement on each conviction, but suspended the sentences and credited him 15 days on each. Rather than go to jail for the remaining 165 days on each sentence, the court mandated that he participate in 11 months of community control. After receiving his sentences, the court informed Mr. Rork to report to the probation department the next morning

Robert Hollis, Jr. v. State of Ohio
Case #C190195

Quote from Judge Winkler's Opinion:

In 2001 in Florida, petitioner-appellant Robert Hollis, Jr., pleaded no contest to and was convicted of lewd or lascivious battery. Hollis was sentenced to six months’ incarceration and two years of sex-offender probation. Even though Hollis was classified as a sexually-oriented offender, and not a sexual predator, under Florida law he was required to register as a sex offender for life, because Florida law required all sex offenders to register for life. Hollis subsequently violated his probation and was sentenced to ten years’ incarceration.

Hollis moved to Ohio in 2014, and he was automatically classified as a sexual predator under Ohio’s version of Megan’s Law because of his Florida lifetime registration requirement. Hollis filed a motion for reclassification under former R.C. 2950.09(F) and credit for previous registration under former R.C. 2950.07(E). He also moved to vacate the “classification unlawfully imposed by the Hamilton County sheriff.” Hollis argued, among other things, that his Florida offense of lewd or lascivious battery was not substantially equivalent to any Ohio offense. The state argued that the Florida offense was substantially equivalent to Ohio’s unlawfulsexual-conduct-with-a-minor statute.

State of Ohio v. Bobby Burner
Case #C180516

Quote from Judge Bergeron's Opinion:

In 2018, defendant-appellee Bobby Burner sought to collaterally attack his 2016 conviction for sexual imposition, positing that he lacked the requisite competency at the time of his trial. Because this case originated in municipal court, the statute for postconviction relief (R.C. 2953.21) does not apply, and Mr. Burner instead turned to Civ.R. 60(B) through the vehicle of Crim.R. 57(B). To support this application, he presented an expert, but she confessed that she could not render a competency opinion concerning his status in 2016. The trial court nevertheless granted relief under Civ.R. 60(B), erasing Mr. Burner’s conviction, which prompted the state to appeal. Because the court failed to apply the Civ.R. 60(B) standard, and Mr. Burner cannot satisfy it in any event, we are compelled to reverse its judgment.