Friday First District Roundup: Pervasive misconduct

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

State of Ohio v. Immanuel Lee 
Case #C180489

Case considered on accelerated calendar and dismissed in Judgment Entry.


Defendant-appellant Immanuel Lee was convicted of two counts of violating a protection order in violation of R.C. 2919.27...and was found guilty of telecommunications harassment in violation of R.C. 2917.21...Lee appealed his sentences, claiming in three assignments of error that the
trial court erred when it failed to comply with R.C. 2929.12(D)(2), failed to take his mental illness into consideration, and failed to make the findings mandated by R.C. 2929.14(C)(4) when it imposed consecutive sentences. During oral argument, Lee’s counsel informed the court that Lee had served his sentences and was now out of jail.

State of Ohio v. Robert Donaldson
Case #C180408

Case considered on accelerated calendar and affirmed in Judgment Entry.


Defendant-appellant Robert Donaldson appeals from his conviction for resisting arrest. Raising two assignments of error, Donaldson contends that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to file a timely jury request, and that the conviction was not supported by sufficient evidence and was against the manifest weight of the evidence. For the following reasons, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

State of Ohio v. Randy Hall
Case #C170700


The state secured these criminal convictions by the thinnest of margins— indeed, of the 12 counts of the indictment that proceeded to trial, the trial court granted a Crim.R. 29 acquittal on five counts, the jury returned a defense verdict on two, and the state now concedes that the evidence does not support an additional count. The trial also hinged on a credibility battle between the defendant and his accusers. In light of that backdrop, we find that two interrelated errors deprived the defendant of a fair trial. First, the state belatedly sprung an expert witness on the defense at trial without providing an expert report
as mandated by Crim.R. 16(K). And second, the prosecutor engaged in pervasive misconduct during closing argument, demonizing the defendant as a “wolf” and “predator,” and repeatedly vouching for the credibility of the accusers. Based on these errors, we reverse the convictions and remand for a new trial on the remaining four counts.