Fifth District Summary for the Week of 11/08/2011

State v. Robinson: This appeal of Mr. Robinson’s felonious assault conviction arises out of Stark County. And, fortunately for gun-nuts everywhere, this is the type of case they’re always looking for. Unfortunately for Mr. Robinson, he was punished twice for this crime. Not only was he sentenced to eleven years in prison, he was also shot in the groin, the blood from which led police to his location. The trial court found that he hit a convenience store clerk on the head with a gun. And luckily for gun-nuts everywhere (and the victim), the next clerk on duty had arrived early and was an armed ex-Marine. This was not a difficult case for the Court to decide, but it will be hard for the anti-gun movement to ignore.

State v. Morrow: This appeal by Mr. Morrow comes with great sorrow from The Law Office of Brian Jones. Once again, the formidable duo of a great lawyer and his indispensable law clerk (now an associate attorney) could not overcome the record. Simply put, we felt the record was wrought with testimony from unreliable witnesses. While it is clear the Court disagreed with that contention, there was little explanation. Apparently, the testimony of an “old drug dealer” who conveniently omitted key events as well as several unreliable witnesses was enough to convict Mr. Morrow in this case.

State v. Todd: The Court shows its sense of humor by titling this case “On” a motorcycle vs. “In” a motorcycle. This turns out to be an apt title as this case is essentially an argument over semantics. In short, Mr. Todd was charged under a statute that prohibits improperly storing a gun while “in” a motor vehicle. Mr. Todd’s counsel astutely argued that his client was “on” a motor vehicle rather than “in” or occupying one. However, the Court does not accept this argument and rejects the various assignments of error arising out of the argument over “in” vs. “on.”

State v. Backie: Dear Home Invaders: Don’t rob anyone, especially people who know you and have just visited their house days prior. Mr. Backie, the trial court and this Court found, was part of a three-man crew who robbed a couple of $350. It’s not hard to solve a crime when two of the perpetrators knew the victims and had just been in their house a few days prior to the robbery while the victims were discussing cash located in their bedroom. Thus, the Court found that there was sufficient evidence to sustain the conviction and the gun specification.

State v. Monk: While not much is going on in this case, it does leave us with several reminders. First, F3’s can be punished by 1-5 years in jail; a 5-year sentence is not contrary to law and the trial court need only state that they considered the sentencing factors for felonies. Second, the trial court doesn’t have to grant a continuance just because a defendant retained new counsel at the last minute. Third, you have to spell out in detail your reasons for ineffective assistance of counsel. It’s a hard test to meet and the Court is not going to do the work for you. Mr. Monk lost on all of his assignments of error.

State v. James: Who knew that running outside a hospital naked, then swearing at the police and trying to run away when they question you could lead to a tasing and multiple criminal charges? It gets better though. After a multitude of continuances, motions, and an appeal arguing speedy trial, Mr. James is able to walk free (hopefully not naked this time though). The Court found that he wasn’t brought to trial within 90 days as required for his misdemeanor charges and there was no explanation for the delay.

State v. Mills: “Various incidents, disputes, and disharmony over time i.e., shutting off of well water, driving by and flipping people off, name-calling, cussing, spinning tires, throwing rocks, culminated in the events of August 27th.” Though this case sadly resulted in a son being charged in connection with aiding in his father’s murder, it should come as no surprise after reading the facts of this case. A backyard brawl seemed inevitable between these two families. They carried a lot of animosity towards each other for a long time. After reviewing the record, the Court found that there was sufficient evidence to support the conviction and that Mills’s counsel was not ineffective. However, the dissent points out that the specific facts of the fight are murky at best. This must have been a tough case for all involved.