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State v. Craft

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District

August 11, 2006

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
JOHNNY CRAFT Defendant-Appellant

Criminal Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 05 CR 310D

For Plaintiff-Appellee: KIRSTEN L. PSCHOLKA-GARTNER, ASSISTANT PROSECUTOR

For Defendant-Appellant: WILLIAM C. FITHIAN, III

Hon. John W. Wise, P. J. Hon. W. Scott Gwin, J. Hon. Julie A. Edwards, J., JUDGES

OPINION

WISE, P. J.

{¶1} Appellant Johnny Craft ("appellant") appeals his conviction challenging the Richland County Court of Common Pleas' decision denying his request to instruct the jury on the affirmative defense of self-defense. The following facts give rise to this appeal.

{¶2} On the evening of April 10, 2005, the victim in this case, sixteen-year-old Lisa Johnson, returned home from spending the day with friends. Lisa intended to eat dinner and leave again to meet her friends in the park. Lisa asked her mother, Marian Jeannie Johnson, permission to go to the park and her mother told her she was not permitted to go. Lisa began arguing with her mother and appellant entered the kitchen to intervene.

{¶3} Appellant had been drinking during the day and was upset with the grades Lisa had received on her report card. Appellant told Lisa she was grounded and called her a "retard." Lisa became even more upset and began yelling at appellant and using vulgar language. During the argument, Lisa was attempting to push past appellant in order to leave the house. However, appellant grabbed Lisa by the face and neck and struck her in the eye.

{¶4} After appellant struck Lisa, she ran from the house. As Lisa was walking down the street, she met a friend, Mona Nuriso, and told her what had just happened. Lisa and Mona returned to the home of her friend's foster mother, Kamesha Raglin. Ms. Raglin called Children's Services to report the incident. Lisa left her friend's house before the police arrived because she did not want to report the incident to the authorities. Lisa eventually returned home during the early morning hours of August 11, 2005.

{¶5} By the next morning, bruises formed on Lisa's face and neck. She also had a black eye and some burst blood vessels in her eye. Lisa called her aunt, Cathy Sparks, and told her what had happened. Lisa asked if she could stay with her aunt after school. Ms. Sparks told her she could stay with her and also told Lisa to go to the school nurse for treatment. Lisa went to the clinic and told the school nurse about the argument with appellant. The school nurse called Children's Services. The police took pictures of Lisa's injuries and Lisa provided a taped statement to Detective Jeff Shook of the Mansfield Police Department.

{¶6} After interviewing Lisa, Detective Shook and Investigator Beth Burns, from Children's Services, went to appellant's home to speak to him. Appellant admitted to hitting Lisa during an argument. Detective Shook placed appellant under arrest for domestic violence. The Richland County Grand Jury indicted appellant on June 8, 2005, for one count of domestic violence. The offense was enhanced to a fifth degree felony because appellant had a prior conviction for domestic violence. This matter proceeded to a jury trial on September 22, 2005. Following deliberations, the jury found appellant guilty as charged. The trial court sentenced appellant to three years of community control and imposed a $500.00 fine.

{¶7} Appellant timely appealed and sets forth the following assignment of error for our consideration:

{¶8} "I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED TO THE PREJUDICE OF THE APPELLANT BY FAILING TO INSTRUCT THE JURY ON SELF-DEFENSE.

APPELLANT WAS DEPRIVED OF A FAIR TRIAL IN VIOLATION OF THE SEVENTH AMENDMENT BY THE COURT'S REFUSAL TO INSTRUCT ...


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