Appeal from the Massillon Municipal Court, Case No. 2012-CRB-01461
ROBERT ZEDELL MASSILLON LAW DEPARTMENT For Plaintiff-Appellee
MICHAEL THOMPSON For Defendant-Appellant
Hon. William B. Hoffman, P.J. Hon. Sheila G. Farmer, J. Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, J.
(¶1} Appellant Michael Glenn Dobbins appeals from the September 11, 2012 and October 9, 2012 judgment entries of the Massillon Municipal Court finding him guilty upon bench trial of one count of domestic violence. Appellee is the state of Ohio.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
(¶2} At the time of these events, appellant had been married to Rosza Dobbins for six years and the couple had three children together, ages five, three, and one. The family lived at 5753 Oak Drive, Jackson Township, Stark County, Ohio. Mrs. Dobbins is originally from Hungary but is a recently naturalized U.S. citizen who speaks and understands English.
(¶3} On June 5, 2012, Ptl. McDannold of the Jackson Township Police Department reported to the domestic violence shelter in downtown Canton to speak with Mrs. Dobbins in reference to an incident which occurred on May 18, 2012. Mrs. Dobbins described an incident of physical violence and completed a sworn affidavit. A few hours after meeting with officers, Mrs. Dobbins e-mailed photos to the Jackson Township Police Department which she said were related to the incident.
(¶4} Mrs. Dobbins stated around 8:00 p.m. on May 18, 2012, she put her youngest child to bed and the other two children were downstairs with appellant watching television. Mrs. Dobbins went downstairs and found her daughter with appellant on the couch, playing with appellant's iPhone. Mrs. Dobbins grabbed the phone from her daughter. She told police and later testified appellant jumped up and wrestled her down, grabbed her by the arm and sweater, and pushed her to the floor.
(¶5} After the incident, appellant and Mrs. Dobbins both went upstairs and appellant made a call on his phone. Mrs. Dobbins testified appellant started recording her on his phone and called his attorney. He also told her his parents were coming over to the house. She was afraid that if she called the police that evening, she might go to jail and lose her children.
(¶6} Mrs. Dobbins told police and later testified she took photos of herself with her own phone after the May 18 incident. On May 21, she showed the photos to her mother-in-law in an attempt to prove to her husband's family that he hurt her.
(¶7} Events came to a head on June 4, 2012. Appellant attended a graduation ceremony and while he was gone, Mrs. Dobbins moved out of the residence. When appellant returned, he found the house empty and called police. No one was arrested that evening. The next day, appellant's parents came over to the house for the 3-year-old's birthday. On the pretext of going to McDonald's, Mrs. Dobbins put the three children in her car and drove off, followed by appellant and his parents. Mrs. Dobbins drove to the Crisis Center and was directed to the domestic violence shelter. During her stay at the shelter, Mrs. Dobbins was urged to contact police about the May 18 incident.
(¶8} A number of witnesses testified on appellant's behalf. Two friends of appellant's spoke to Mrs. Dobbins about why she wanted to end the marriage; they testified she never told them about any physical violence. Appellant's sister and brother-in-law testified that Mrs. Dobbins had asked to meet with them privately in late March or early April, 2011, and told them she wanted a divorce. We note appellant's sister testified, "The first thing I asked her was has [appellant] ever hit her or the kids, " and Mrs. Dobbins said no. ...