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City of Akron v. Prince

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District

June 26, 2013

CITY OF AKRON Appellee
v.
GEORGETTE PRINCE Appellant

APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE AKRON MUNICIPAL COURT COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. 12 CR 10777

GEORGETTE PRINCE, pro se, Appellant.

CHERI CUNNINGHAM, Director of Law, GERTRUDE WILMS, Chief City Prosecutor, and GRETA L. JOHNSON, Assistant City Prosecutor, for Appellee.

DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

BETH WHITMORE, Judge

{¶1} Defendant-Appellant, Georgette Prince, appeals from her conviction in the Akron Municipal Court. This Court reverses.

I

{¶2} On October 3, 2012, Summit County Sheriffs Deputy Todd Buck investigated a complaint of drug use at 1244 Burkhardt Avenue in his role as an AMHA housing fraud investigator. Prince, the primary resident of 1244 Burkhardt Avenue, was outside when Deputy Buck arrived. With Prince's permission, Deputy Buck entered the residence and immediately smelled the odor of burnt marijuana. Deputy Buck then asked Prince to walk him around the residence. While walking through the residence, Deputy Buck observed a burnt marijuana cigar lying in an ashtray. Deputy Buck confiscated the marijuana cigar and charged Prince with possession of a controlled substance, in violation of Akron Municipal Code ("AMC") Section 138.10.

{¶3} Prince's trial was originally scheduled for October 22, 2012, but was later continued to November 5, 2012. Prior to the first trial date, Prince subpoenaed two AMHA representatives, Attorney James Casey and Jerry Westfield, and ordered them to bring to trial any AMHA phone records from anonymous callers that pertained to her residence. Prior to the second trial date, Prince only subpoenaed Jerry Westfield. On the day of trial, no AMHA representatives appeared and the trial court asked Prince whether she would still like to proceed. [1] Prince agreed to go to trial without the AMHA representatives or the records she had subpoenaed.

{¶4} Both the State and Prince presented evidence at the trial and, at its conclusion, the court indicated that it would take the matter under advisement. Subsequently, the trial court issued its judgment entry, finding Prince guilty of possession. In its judgment entry, the court outlined the evidence presented by the State and Prince at trial. It further wrote:

The Court has also had the opportunity to speak with AMHA Attorney James Casey in the wake of trial, who provided to the Court documents and other information regarding this matter which were subpoenaed by Defendant.

The court sentenced Prince to a fine, costs, and a license suspension, but stayed her sentence for purposes of her appeal.

{¶5} Prince now appeals from her conviction and raises two assignments of error for our review. For ease of analysis, we consolidate the assignments of error.

II

Assignment of Error ...

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