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State of Ohio v. Sharon G. Hurt

February 8, 2013

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
SHARON G. HURT, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kline, J.:

Cite as State v. Hurt,

DECISION AND

JUDGMENT ENTRY

{¶1} Sharon G. Hurt appeals the judgment of the Gallia County Court of Common Pleas, which convicted her of three drug-related charges. Hurt contends that one of her drug trafficking convictions was not supported by sufficient evidence. Because any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of drug trafficking proven beyond a reasonable doubt, we disagree. Next, Hurt contends that her trial counsel was ineffective for failing to move for a waiver of the imposition of court costs. Because Hurt cannot show that her trial counsel's performance was either deficient or prejudicial, we disagree. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

I.

{¶2} Hurt's convictions resulted from two different incidents. On September 18, 2010, law enforcement stopped Hurt in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant based on a tip that she was selling drugs. Law enforcement found that Hurt had 5.7 grams of crack cocaine in her possession. On August 14, 2011, Hurt sold 0.3 grams of crack cocaine to a confidential informant in a gas station parking lot. Hurt then admitted to law enforcement that she had more drugs in a nearby hotel room. Law enforcement searched the hotel room and found 31 baggies of crack cocaine that were stored within a larger baggie. The 31 baggies contained a total of 12.4 grams of crack. Deputy Fred Workman of the Gallia County Sheriff's Department participated in the arrest. At trial, Deputy Workman stated that Hurt told him she shipped the crack to Gallipolis from Columbus.

{¶3} Two indictments were issued against Hurt. One indictment charged Hurt with two drug-related counts from the September 18, 2010 incident (i.e., one count of possession and one count of trafficking for the 5.7 grams of crack). The other indictment charged Hurt with four drug-related counts from the August 14, 2011 incident (i.e., one count of possession and one count of trafficking for the 0.3 grams of crack sold to the confidential informant and one count of possession and one count of trafficking for the 12.4 grams of crack recovered in the hotel room).

{¶4} Eventually, both cases were tried together, and a jury found Hurt guilty of all the charges against her. The trial court merged the counts that were allied offenses of similar import and sentenced Hurt accordingly. The court also ordered Hurt to pay court costs. (Prior to the imposition of court costs, Hurt's retained counsel did not move the trial court for a waiver of court costs.)

{¶5} Hurt appeals and asserts the following assignments of error:*fn1 I. "THERE WAS INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT A CONVICTION FOR COUNT THREE, TRAFFICKING IN DRUGS, IN VIOLATION OF R.C. 2925.03(A)(2)." And II. "SHARON G. HURT WAS DENIED HER RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS WHEN HER TRIAL ATTORNEY PROVIDED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL WHEN HE FAILED TO MOVE THE TRIAL COURT TO WAIVE THE IMPOSITION OF COURT COSTS."

II.

{¶6} In her first assignment of error, Hurt argues that there was insufficient evidence to convict her of Count 3 from the August 14, 2011 incident - trafficking in drugs in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(2).

{¶7} When reviewing a case to determine if the record contains sufficient evidence to support a criminal conviction, we must "examine the evidence admitted at trial to determine whether such evidence, if believed, would convince the average mind of the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The relevant inquiry is whether, after viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime proven beyond a reasonable doubt." State v. Smith, 4th Dist. No. 06CA7, 2007-Ohio-502, ¶ 33, quoting State v. Jenks, 61 Ohio St.3d 259, 574 N.E.2d 492 (1991), paragraph two of the syllabus.

See also Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979).

{¶8} The sufficiency-of-the-evidence test "raises a question of law and does not allow us to weigh the evidence." Smith, 2007-Ohio-502, at ¶ 34, citing State v. Martin, 20 Ohio App.3d 172, 175, 485 N.E.2d 717 (1st Dist.1983). Instead, the sufficiency-of- the-evidence test "'gives full play to the responsibility of the trier of fact fairly to resolve conflicts in the testimony, to weigh the evidence, and to draw reasonable inferences from basic facts to ultimate facts.'" Smith, 2007-Ohio-502, at ¶ 34, quoting Jackson at 319. This court will "reserve the issues of the weight given to the evidence and the credibility of witnesses for the trier of fact." Smith, 2007-Ohio-502, ...


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