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State v. Godfrey

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Third District

August 5, 2013

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
YUL T. GODFREY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT. STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
YUL T. GODFREY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

Appeals from Upper Sandusky Municipal Court Trial Court Nos. TRD 1005424 and CRB-1000454B:

Jerome Phillips for Appellant.

Richard A. Grafmiller for Appellee.

OPINION

WILLAMOWSKI, J.

{¶1} Defendant-appellant Yul T. Godfrey ("Godfrey") brings this appeal from the judgment of the Upper Sandusky Municipal Court finding him guilty of vehicular manslaughter and failure to yield. For the reasons set forth below, the judgments are affirmed in part and reversed in part.

{¶2} On November 19, 2004, Godfrey was turning his semi-truck and trailer left onto State Route 15. A 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe driven by Juliana Karmann ("Karmann") was traveling northwest on State Route 15 at that time. Karmann's vehicle struck Godfrey's trailer behind the rear wheels. The vehicle then traveled through the median and struck another vehicle and some trees before stopping. Karmann was killed and her three passengers were injured. On November 22, 2004, Godfrey was charged with vehicular homicide, a first degree misdemeanor in violation of R.C. 2903.06, vehicular manslaughter, a second degree misdemeanor in violation of R.C. 2903.06, and failure to yield, a minor misdemeanor in violation of R.C. 4511.43. Godfrey entered pleas of not guilty to all charges.

{¶3} On January 5, 2012, a bench trial was held before the Upper Sandusky Municipal Court. The trial court found Godfrey not guilty of vehicular homicide, but guilty of vehicular manslaughter and failure to yield. Sentencing was set for a later date. On January 18, 2012, Godfrey filed a motion for a new trial pursuant to Crim.R. 33(A)(4). The state filed no response to the motion. However, on March 23, 2012, private attorneys for the Karmann family filed a victim's motion in opposition to Godfrey's motion. A hearing was held on the motion on March 26, 2012. The trial court overruled the motion. On May 2, 2012, the trial court sentenced Godfrey to ninety days in jail, with the sentence suspended, a $750 fine, and court costs of $219 for the vehicular manslaughter and a $75 fine and court costs of $551.97 for the conviction on the failure to yield charge. Godfrey appeals from this judgment and raises the following assignments of error.

First Assignment of Error
The trial court erred by not applying the correct legal standard to determine if the victim's vehicle was traveling at a reasonable rate of speed given the surrounding circumstances.
Second Assignment of Error
The trial court erred by ignoring stipulated facts in evidence when it denied [Godfrey's] motion for a new trial.
Third Assignment of Error
The trial court erred by allowing private attorneys to participate on behalf of the prosecution ...

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