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State v. Baker

Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District

June 19, 2013

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
LUCIUS BAKER, Defendant-Appellant.

Criminal Appeals From Hamilton County Municipal Court TRIAL NOS. C-11CRB-33848A, B

Joseph T. Deters, Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney, and Scott M. Heenan, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Plaintiff-Appellee,

Robert R. Hastings, Jr., for Defendant-Appellant.

OPINION

Dinkelacker, Judge.

{¶1} Defendant-appellant Lucius Baker appeals convictions for negligent assault and criminal damaging or endangering. We find merit in one of his two assignments of error. Consequently, we reverse his conviction for negligent assault and order him discharged on that count, but affirm his conviction for criminal damaging or endangering.

I. Factual Background

{¶2} The record shows that Baker had entered into an agreement to lease wheel rims for his car from Rent-N-Roll. Because Baker's account was severely delinquent, Adam Armacost, Rent-N-Roll's sales manager, and Edward Holbrook, a wheel technician, went to Baker's place of employment to repossess the rims. There was an empty parking space behind Baker's car, and they parked their company van diagonally behind Baker's car to block him from leaving.

{¶3} Baker happened to be leaving work to go to the hospital to be with his wife who was having a difficult pregnancy at the same time Armacost and Holbrook were repossessing the rims. According to Armacost, he asked Baker how he was doing, and Baker replied, "good." Baker testified that he told Armacost and Holbrook that he had already talked to the head manager about his account and that he had to go to the hospital to be with his wife.

{¶4} Armacost stood in front of Baker's car. Armacost and Holbrook testified that Baker backed his car into the open passenger side door of the company van, damaging the door. Then Baker drove forward out of the parking space and hit Armacost, knocking him back several feet and injuring his knee.

{¶5} Armacost called the police. When the investigating officer offered him medical assistance, Armacost refused treatment at that time, although he did go to the hospital later that afternoon.

{¶6} Baker testified that he did not back up his car because he had backed into the space upon arriving and all he had to do was "pull straight out." He stated that Armacost had approached his driver's side door and told him "you're not leaving." Baker had said that he did not have time to talk about it right then. He got into his car and started it. Armacost had slapped the fender on his car, and again had said "you're not leaving." Baker then had driven off He stated that he had not hit Armacost or the company van, and he was unaware of any problem until he was contacted by a police officer.

{¶7} Baker was charged with assault under R.C. 2903.13(A) and criminal damaging or endangering under R.C. 2909.06(A). After hearing the evidence, the trial court convicted Baker of criminal damaging or endangering. But on the assault charge, the court stated that Baker's conduct was "incredibly stupid, " but that "I do not feel it rises to the level of misdemeanor one assault. I do feel that it was negligent. And on the assault, you will be found guilty of the lesser offense of negligent assault." This appeal followed.

II. Is Negligent Assault is a Lesser-Included Offense of Assault?

{¶8} Baker presents two assignments of error for review, which we address out of order. In his second assignment of error, Baker contends that the trial court erred in finding that negligent assault is a lesser-included offense of assault, and in convicting him of negligent assault. He argues that the offense of negligent assault contains an additional element ...


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