Friday First District Roundup 8-20-21

State of Ohio v. Scott French 
Case # C200331
Quote from Judge Myers' Opinion:
Defendant-appellant Scott French appeals his conviction for escape. In three assignments of error, French challenges the validity of his guilty plea, the effectiveness of his trial counsel, and the sentence imposed. Finding no merit to French’s assignments of error, we affirm.
French was indicted for escape in violation of R.C. 2921.34(A)(1), a felony of the third degree, after he fled from a halfway house where he was under detention. He pled guilty to the offense as charged, and the trial court imposed a sentence of 18 months in prison.
The Guilty Plea
In his first assignment of error, French argues that the trial court erred in accepting a guilty plea that was not made knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily. He contends that he was not adequately informed of his constitutional rights or of the consequences of his plea, but he does not point to any specific failure by the trial court. 

In re: S.D. 
Case #C200307
Quote from Judge Zayas' Opinion:
S.D. appeals the judgments of the Hamilton County Juvenile Court overruling his motion to dismiss the rape charge and imposing serious youthful offender dispositional sentences for rape and three counts of importuning. For the reasons discussed below, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.
Factual Background
On October 15, 2019, complaints were filed against S.D. alleging rape, a felony of the first degree if committed by an adult, and three counts of importuning, felonies of the third degree if committed by an adult. On October 25, 2019, the state filed motions for relinquishments on each case. After the parties stipulated to probable cause, the juvenile court conducted an amenability hearing and retained jurisdiction, finding S.D. was amenable to treatment within the juvenile system.
On March 12, 2020, S.D. filed a motion to dismiss the charge, seeking to reduce or dismiss the rape charge after S.D. was indicted for rape and three counts of importuning, and each count alleged S.D. was subject to a serious youthful offender (“SYO”) designation. The motion focused on the mitigating factors with respect to S.D. The juvenile court overruled the motion.
On June 17, 2020, S.D. filed a motion to dismiss under Juv.R. 29. S.D. asked the court to dismiss the complaint, or to dismiss or reduce the rape charge, and to consider postponing the disposition under Juv.R. 29(F)(2). At the hearing on the motion, S.D. argued that it would be in his best interest to dismiss or reduce the rape charge because he could be successfully rehabilitated in the juvenile system after a dismissal or reduction due to the other three felonies. He further argued that the reduction or dismissal would allow for an eventual expungement and protect him from a permanent label. The state argued that dismissal or reduction was not in the best interest of the community because there was insufficient time to ensure successful completion of therapy, the public interest and safety would not be protected, and S.D. would not be held accountable.

State of Ohio v. Andre Curry 
Case #C200254
Quote from Judge Myers' Opinion: Defendant-appellant Andre Curry appeals from the trial court’s judgment revoking his community control and imposing a lifetime driver’s license suspension. In a single assignment of error, Curry argues that his sentence was contrary to law because the trial court failed to impose the license suspension as part of his original sentence. The state concedes the error.
Curry was indicted for failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer, in violation of R.C. 2921.331(B), a felony of the third degree under R.C. 2921.331(C)(5). He entered a guilty plea to a reduced charge of failure to comply, a felony of the fourth degree under R.C. 2921.331(C)(4). A felony violation of R.C. 2921.331(B) carried a mandatory class two driver’s license suspension, for which the trial court was required to impose a definite period of suspension of three years to life. See R.C. 2921.331(E); R.C. 4510.02(A)(2).
The trial court sentenced Curry to a three-year period of community control, with the condition that he complete the River City treatment program and aftercare. The trial court failed to impose the mandatory driver’s license suspension required by R.C. 2921.331(E). Neither party appealed the sentence.

State of Ohio v. William Richardson 
Case #C200187
Quote from Judge Winkler's Opinion:
After pleading no contest, defendant-appellant William Richardson was convicted of one count of possession of drugs under R.C. 2925.11(A) and one count of illegal use or possession of drug paraphernalia under R.C. 2925.14(C)(1). He now appeals those convictions. We find no merit in his sole assignment of error, and we affirm the trial court’s judgment.
The record shows that Norwood police officers Ryan Harrison and Nathan Fornash were dispatched to 2744 Norwood Avenue for what Officer Harrison described as “family trouble.” Officer Fornash stated that the cause of the disturbance was Theodore Steinle. Steinle’s mother had called police asking them to talk to him and get him off the property.
When the officers arrived, Steinle’s mother directed them to the back of the house where they saw two men standing next to a car in the driveway and talking. Officer Fornash approached one of the men, who identified himself as Steinle. Steinle provided Officer Fornash with his identification, which revealed that Steinle had open warrants. Officer Fornash arrested him. While searching Steinle, the officer discovered what appeared to be methamphetamine in Steinle’s possession. 

Marcus Fontain v. Harjinder Sandhu, Jasreen K. Sandhu, H&R Cincy Properties, LLC, Jeffrey S. Lane, April L. Lane, Prodigy Properties, LLC, Brian J. O'Connel, Zachary D. Prendergast, Westfield Insurance Company, et al. 
Case #C200011
Quote from Judge Zayas' Opinion:
Plaintiff-appellant Marcus Fontain appeals from the judgments of the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, which dismissed his second amended complaint against defendants-appellees Harjinder Sandu, Jasreen Sandu, H&R Cincy Properties, LLC, Jeffrey Lane, April Lane, Prodigy Properties, LLC, Brian O’Connell and Zachary Prendergast. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.
Background and Procedural History Case No. A-1705644
In October of 2017, a complaint was filed against plaintiff-appellant Marcus Fontain, and other defendants, alleging illegal actions involving a condominium association. Plaintiffs in that action moved for the appointment of a receiver to take control of the association and manage the property during the litigation. On August 10, 2018, the trial court in that case appointed Prodigy Properties as the receiver. In relevant part, the entry stated:
Except for an act of gross negligence or willful misconduct, the Receiver and all persons engaged by or employed by the Receiver shall not be liable for any loss or damage incurred by the [association], or any other person, by reason of any action or omission by the Receiver or any person engaged or employed by the Receiver in connection with the discharge of the Receiver’s duties and responsibilities in this matter. No person or entity may file suit against the Receiver, its employees, agents, or its attorneys, or take any action against the Receiver or the Receiver’s bond, without first obtaining an order of this Court permitting the suit or action upon motion and an evidentiary hearing; provided, however, that no prior court order is required to file a motion in this action to enforce the provisions of this Order or any other order of this Court in this action. 

State of Ohio v. Bradley Holden 
Case #C190742
Quote from Judge Hendon's Opinion:
Defendant-appellant Bradley Holden brought these appeals after the trial court denied his request for a continuance to allow his retained counsel to argue Holden’s motion to withdraw his guilty pleas. Holden filed the motion pro se and then retained counsel approximately one week before the hearing on the motion. For the reasons stated herein, we reverse the trial court’s judgment and remand it to the trial court to conduct proceedings consistent with this opinion.
I. Facts and Procedure
In August 2019, defendant-appellant Bradley Holden was charged with domestic violence and assault—both of which were misdemeanors in the first degree.
During the October 2019 trial setting, defense counsel stated to the court, “Judge, I haven’t been able to get a clear answer from my client. The matter is set for trial. We are ready to proceed unless he changed his mind.” The court asked Holden whether he wanted to accept the state’s plea deal. Holden, appearing to be reluctant, stated, “Based on everything I heard, I feel like my best option is to accept the plea, but * * *.” The court advised Holden, “If you hem and haw, I will decide for you, and I will decide for you that it will be a trial.” 

Kathern Collett v. Robert Steven Sharkey 
Case #C200446 
Quote from Judge Myers' Opinion:
Plaintiff-appellant Kathern Collett appeals the trial court's granting of summary judgment in favor of defendant-appellee Robert Steven Sharkey on Collett's complaint for negligence.
In a single assignment of error, Collett argues that the trial court's grant of summary judgment was in error. We find her argument to be without merit and affirm the trial court's judgment.
Factual and Procedural Background
Collett, Sharkey, and Sharkey's former girlfriend Kimberly Winters were in Sharkey's kitchen when Sharkey lifted an ice machine from the countertop. After Collett warned Sharkey that water spilled from the ice machine onto the floor, Collett slipped and fell in the water, sustaining injuries. Collett asserted a negligence claim against Sharkey alleging that he breached his duty of care as a property owner by spilling water on the floor, failing to clean up the spilled water, and failing to warn her about the hazard created by the spilled water.

Uzi Ora v. Fitness International, LLC, d.b.a. LA Fitness 
Case #C200008
Quote from Judge Bock's Opinion:
Plaintiff-appellant Uzi Ora sued Fitness International, LLC, d.b.a. LA Fitness ("LA Fitness") in both state and federal court, asserting civil rights violations. The state court stayed Ora's case pending the resolution of the federal case. After the federal court granted summary judgment in favor of LA Fitness, LA Fitness moved for dismissal or Ora's state claims based on res judicata.Because we find procedural errors requiring reversal, we do not reach the merit's of Ora's appeal.
Facts and Procedure
In February 2018, LA Fitness moved for summary judgment in federal court, asserting that it had terminated Ora's membership for legitimate reasons. The trial court granted the motion. Ora appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, but his appeal was dismissed for want of prosecution.
In October 2019, LA Fitness filed a motion to dismiss the state court claims, arguing that the federal case had been dismissed by both the federal trial court and the Sixth Circuit. LA Fitness attached a number of exhibits to its motion to dismiss, including documents from the federal case. The state court granted the motion to dismiss on grounds of res judicata.

State of Ohio v. Darrel Arnold 
Case #C200338
Quote from Judge Myers' Opinion:
Defendant-appellant Darrell Arnold appeals the trial court’s judgment finding him guilty of failing to register as a sexual offender in violation of R.C. 2950.04 and sentencing him to three years in prison. In two assignments of error, Arnold challenges the trial court’s imposition of a maximum sentence, arguing that it imposed a maximum sentence as a punishment for Arnold exercising his constitutional right to a jury trial and without considering the purposes of felony sentencing under R.C. 2929.12. Finding his arguments to be without merit, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.
Factual and Procedural Background
Arnold was indicted for failing to register as a sexual offender in violation of R.C. 2950.04 and failing to provide notice of a change of address in violation of R.C. 2950.05. Both offenses were felonies of the third degree, each carrying a maximum sentence of three years in prison.
At a pretrial hearing, the trial court noted on the record that the state had offered Arnold a plea bargain in which he would receive a sentence of two years in prison in exchange for pleading guilty to the offenses. The court further noted that Arnold was entitled to nearly one year of jail-time credit, and it stated:
So they are offering you two, which means you got to do one year but you’re risking—not that I’m going to max you out, but I have to look at your record and everything and consider everything. And when you go to trial, of course, a judge hears more than he does in a plea, a lot of times it comes out worse. * * * You only got one more to serve. If you take the deal, is what I’m saying. They offered you two—they are offering you two years. If you take the deal, you only got like about one more year to serve on that deal. If you get convicted and you get the max, six years, you got five more to serve. So you’re risking five years. That’s all I’m saying. 

State of Ohio v. John Long 
Case #C200240 
Quote from Judge Myers' Opinion:
Defendant-appellant John Long appeals the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court’s judgment denying his Crim.R. 33(B) motion for leave to file a Crim.R. 33(A)(6) motion for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence. We reverse that judgment, because the record provides clear and convincing proof that Long had, within 120 days of the return of the verdict, been unavoidably prevented from discovering, and from presenting in a new-trial motion, the evidence upon which his proposed new-trial motion depended.
The Trial
In 2004, Long was convicted of murder in the stabbing death of Amerrintha Spikes. Cincinnati Police Officer Thomas Coombs and his partner, responding to an emergency call from Shalese Gilmore, were directed by Gilmore and Petrina Crawford to a warehouse loading dock, where Spikes was found dead of multiple stab wounds. Gilmore and Crawford told the officer that they had seen a man whom they recognized from the neighborhood, running from the loading dock into a nearby alley. In that alley, Officer Coombs found a pair of blue jeans shorts. In the pocket of those shorts was a receipt for a bus ticket issued in the name, “John Long.” The shorts were later collected by another police officer and submitted to the coroner’s office for processing.
Forensic analyses of other items found near the crime scene led police to a number of potential suspects who, after further investigation, were cleared. The name on the bus-ticket receipt found in the pocket of the jeans shorts led police to initially develop as a suspect a man named John E. Long. The focus turned to the defendant, John W. Long, four months later, when Marlonda Garrett told the lead detective that she had purchased the bus ticket for John W. Long. Subsequent analysis of biological material found on the jeans shorts showed Spikes’s blood on the outside of the shorts and a mixture of DNA on the waistband consistent with that of Spikes and Long. And Long was identified by Petrina Crawford in a photo spread as the man she saw running from the loading dock and by a police officer as the man who had that night, at three separate locations, approached the officer and questioned her extensively about the murder.