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City of Brooklyn v. Kaczor

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District

July 3, 2013

CITY OF BROOKLYN PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
ADAM M. KACZOR DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

Criminal Appeal from the Parma Municipal Court Case No. 2012 CRB 01567

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Richard J. Stahl Loretta A. Coyne.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Hillary Goldberg Prosecutor Scott Claussen Assistant Prosecuting Attorney City of Brooklyn.

BEFORE: E.T. Gallagher, J., Keough, P.J., and E.A. Gallagher, J.

JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

EILEEN T. GALLAGHER, JUDGE.

{¶1} Defendant-appellant Adam Kaczor ("Kaczor") appeals a judgment from the Parma Municipal Court finding him guilty of obstructing official business. We find merit to the appeal and reverse the trial court's judgment.

{¶2} Plaintiff-appellee, the city of Brooklyn ("Brooklyn"), charged Kaczor with obstructing official business. At a bench trial, Kaczor testified that in the early morning hours of March 8, 2013, he went for a walk because he was having trouble sleeping. Officer James Roach ("Officer Roach") of the Brooklyn Police Department, testified that he observed Kaczor walking down Ridge Road at 2:30 a.m. and requested his identification. Kaczor denied his request and continued walking. Officer Roach asked Kaczor a second time to stop and talk, but he continued walking. When Officer Roach ordered him to stop and turn around, Kaczor complied and asked Officer Roach why he was stopping him. Officer Roach explained that he thought Kaczor looked young and that he wanted to verify his age to determine whether he was out past curfew. Brooklyn has an 11:00 p.m. curfew for youths under 18 years of age.

{¶3} Kaczor believed that Officer Roach had no legitimate reason for stopping him and refused to state his name or age. Officer Roach arrested Kaczor and transported him to the Brooklyn Police Department. During the booking process, Kaczor identified himself and stated that he was 24 years old. Kaczor was not booked for breaking the curfew, but was charged with obstructing official business in violation of Brooklyn Ordinances ("B.O.") 525.07.

{¶4} At the conclusion of a bench trial, the court found Kaczor guilty as charged. Under B.O. 525.07(b), obstructing official business is a second-degree misdemeanor. The court sentenced Kaczor to a $100 fine, which the court suspended along with court costs. Kaczor now appeals and raises four assignments of error.

Sufficiency of the Evidence

{¶5} In the first assignment of error, Kaczor argues the trial court erred in denying his Crim.R. 29 motion for acquittal. In his second assignment of error, he argues there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction. We address the first and second assigned errors together, because they both challenge the sufficiency of the evidence to support Kaczor's conviction.

{¶6} A trial court shall grant a motion for acquittal when there is insufficient evidence to sustain a conviction. Crim.R. 29(A). The test for sufficiency requires a determination of whether the prosecution met its burden of production at trial. State v. Thompkins, 78 Ohio St.3d 380, 390, 1997-Ohio-52, 678 N.E.2d 541. 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. Jenks, 61 Ohio St.3d 259, 574 N.E.2d 492 (1991), paragraph two of the syllabus.

{¶7} Kaczor was convicted of obstructing official business in violation of B.O. 525.07(a), which states:

No person, without privilege to do so and with purpose to prevent, obstruct or delay the performance by a public official of any authorized act within the public official's official capacity, shall do any act that hampers or impedes a public ...

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