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State v. Byrne

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District

July 8, 2013

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
LIAM J. BYRNE, Defendant-Appellant.

CRIMINAL APPEAL FROM BUTLER COUNTY AREA I COURT Case No. CRB1200452

Michael T. Gmoser, Butler County Prosecuting Attorney, Kimberly L. McManus, Government Services Center for plaintiff-appellee

Wayne Staton, Timothy J. Meloy, for defendant-appellant

OPINION

RINGLAND, J.

{¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Liam Byrne, appeals his conviction for criminal trespass from the Butler County Area I Court.

{¶ 2} Byrne was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity chapter located at Miami University in Oxford. On April 5, 2012, the national organization of the Sigma Chi fraternity revoked the Miami University chapter's charter. The Sigma Chi housing corporation hired the city of Oxford police to be present at the time the announcement was made to the fraternity members, and throughout the period of time that the residents of the house would have to move out.

{¶ 3} Rob Hornback, the vice president of the Sigma Chi housing corporation board at the time, compiled a list of all students who resided at the Sigma Chi house. That list of students, certain fraternity alumnae, and the residents' parents were the only people that the Oxford police were to permit inside the house following the announcement. Fraternity members who lived elsewhere were not to be permitted on the premises. Byrne's name was not on that list.

{¶ 4} On April 6, 2012, in the early morning hours following the night of the announcement, Byrne and several others entered the house. Byrne asserts that he showed the officers his identification and told them that he lived there. The testifying officers who were present that night did not recall Byrne showing them his identification, nor were they sure how Byrne entered the house.

{¶ 5} After approximately two or three hours, Officer Sikora entered the main area of the house where Byrne and others were conversing with Sergeant King and another officer. Officer Sikora, recognizing Byrne, checked the aforementioned list and found that Byrne's name was not present. Officer Sikora made Sergeant King aware of this, at which time Sergeant King informed Byrne that he was not on the list and would have to leave. After Sergeant King let Byrne "vent for several minutes, " he escorted him to the exit door.

{¶ 6} Sergeant King heard the exit door open, but then heard someone running up the nearby stairwell. Sergeant King followed the noise and found Byrne on a bed in a second floor room with a blanket over his head. Sergeant King again informed Byrne that he had to leave and again escorted him to the exit door, this time watching to ensure he left. At that point, Sergeant King testified that he saw Byrne continuing to remain on the property outside the house where he was barking at the dog in the backseat of Sergeant King's cruiser. Sergeant King then arrested Byrne and charged him with criminal trespass.

{¶ 7} Byrne was subsequently convicted of crim inal trespass, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree in violation of Oxford Codified Ordinance (OCC) 541.05 on September 14, 2012.

{¶ 8} Byrne now appeals the trial court's decision, raising two assignments of error for our review. Because both assignments of error hinge on whether Byrne had privilege to remain at the Sigma Chi house, we will discuss them together.

{¶ 9} Assignment of Error No. 1:

{¶ 10} THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT RULED THAT [BYRNE] REMAINED IN THE SIGMA CHI HOUSE WITHOUT HAVING ...


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