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State v. Brock

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

September 12, 2013

State of Ohio, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Xavier Brock, Defendant-Appellant.

APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas C.P.C. No. 11CR-00-1579.

Ron O'Brien, Prosecuting Attorney, and Barbara A. Farnbacher, for appellee.

Edward Y. A. Parks, for appellant.

DECISION

TYACK, J.

(¶ 1} Xavier Brock is appealing from his convictions for having a weapon while under a disability and for discharging a firearm on or near a prohibited premises. The weapon under disability charge conviction followed a non-jury trial. A jury found him guilty of the discharging a firearm charge, while acquitting him of two counts of felonious assault.

(¶ 2} A single assignment of error is presented for our consideration:

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT ENTERED JUDGMENT OF CONVICTION AGAINST THE APPELLANT WHEN THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED TO THE JURY WAS INSUFFICIENT TO SUSTAIN A CONVICTION AND THE JURY VERDICT OF CONVICTION WAS NOT SUPPORTED BY THE MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE.

(¶ 3} Sufficiency of the evidence is the legal standard applied to determine whether the case should have gone to the jury. State v. Thompkins, 78 Ohio St.3d 380, 386 (1997). In other words, sufficiency tests the adequacy of the evidence and asks whether the evidence introduced at trial is legally sufficient as a matter of law to support a verdict. Id. "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 (1991), paragraph two of the syllabus, following Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307 (1979). The verdict will not be disturbed unless the appellate court finds that reasonable minds could not reach the conclusion reached by the trier of fact. Jenks at 273. If the court determines that the evidence is insufficient as a matter of law, a judgment of acquittal must be entered for the defendant. See Thompkins at 387.

(¶ 4} Even though supported by sufficient evidence, a conviction may still be reversed as being against the manifest weight of the evidence. Thompkins at 387. In so doing, the court of appeals, sits as a " 'thirteenth juror' " and, after " 'reviewing the entire record, weighs the evidence and all reasonable inferences, considers the credibility of witnesses and determines whether in resolving conflicts in the evidence, the jury clearly lost its way and created such a manifest miscarriage of justice that the conviction must be reversed and a new trial ordered.' " Id. (quoting State v. Martin, 20 Ohio App.3d 172, 175 (1st Dist.1983)); see also Columbus v. Henry, 105 Ohio App.3d 545, 547-48 (10th Dist.1995). Reversing a conviction as being against the manifest weight of the evidence should be reserved for only the most " 'exceptional case in which the evidence weighs heavily against the conviction.' " Thompkins at 387.

(¶ 5} As this court has previously stated, "[w]hile the jury may take note of the inconsistencies and resolve or discount them accordingly, see [State v.] DeHass [10 Ohio St.2d 230 (1967)], such inconsistencies do not render defendant's conviction against the manifest weight or sufficiency of the evidence." State v. Nivens, 10th Dist. No. 95APA09-1236 (May 28, 1996). It was within the province of the jury to make the credibility decisions in this case. See State v. Lakes 120 Ohio App. 213, 217 (4th Dist.1964), ("It is the province of the jury to determine where the truth probably lies from conflicting statements, not only of different witnesses but by the same witness.")

(¶ 6} With this legal backdrop, we turn to the charges for which Xavier Brock was convicted.

(¶ 7} Having a weapon under disability is defined by R.C. 2923.13 as follows:

(A) Unless relieved from disability as provided in section 2923.14 of the Revised Code, no person shall knowingly acquire, have, carry, or use any firearm or ...

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