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State v. Evans

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

September 10, 2013

State of Ohio, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Shareda A. Evans, Defendant-Appellee.

APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas C.P.C. No. 12EP-849

Ron O'Brien, Prosecuting Attorney, and Michael P. Walton, for appellant.

DECISION

T. BRYANT, J.

{¶ 1} Plaintiff-appellant, State of Ohio, appeals from a judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas granting an application, pursuant to R.C. 2953.32, to seal the record of defendant-appellee, Shareda A. Evans. Because the trial court erred in granting the application when there was insufficient evidence to do so and it failed to make the requisite findings, we reverse the judgment of the court of common pleas.

I. BACKGROUND

{¶ 2} On September 21, 2011, the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas convicted appellee of attempted patient abuse in violation of R.C. 2903.34, a misdemeanor of the first degree, and sentenced her to pay the costs of the prosecution. On November 5, 2012, appellee filed, pursuant to R.C. 2953.32(A), a form application to seal the record of her misdemeanor conviction. The preprinted portion of the application included the following unsworn statement:

Applicant is an eligible offender as defined in R.C. 2953.31; and more than three years have passed since applicant's conviction of a felony (more than one year if conviction or bail forfeiture for a misdemeanor). Applicant otherwise satisfies the requirements of R.C. 2953.32 for granting this application.

(R. 2-5.)

{¶ 3} The state objected to appellee's application. In its objection, the state claimed that the facts underlying the conviction raised concerns about whether appellee had been rehabilitated because she had slapped the face of an elderly resident of an assisted living facility. The state argued that the public had a legitimate interest in maintaining access to records involving crimes of violence committed against the elderly by assisted living employees. Thus, the state requested that the trial court deny appellee's application to seal her record.

{¶ 4} A hearing was held on February 21, 2013. At the hearing, appellee stated that she could not get a job because of her conviction. The state argued that based on the seriousness of the offense, the age of the victim, and the position of trust that appellee had held at the facility at the time of the offense, the application should be denied. The trial court gave appellee the opportunity to respond to the state's objection, but she declined. The following exchange then occurred:

THE COURT: All right. With respect to this offense, I agree it was a serious offense. It was indicted as a felony, and I would note that the State did, in disposing of this matter, reduce it to a misdemeanor.
MR. KIRSCHMAN: It would be patient abuse, yes, as a misdemeanor, but patient abuse.
THE COURT: Yes. It was reduced to a misdemeanor. And I would note also that this is the only offense that this lady has. How long ...

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