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State v. Dixon

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District

September 23, 2013

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
DANIELLE FAITH DIXON Defendant-Appellant

Criminal Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2012 CR 01023

For Plaintiff-Appellee JOHN D. FERRERO PROSECUTING ATTORNEY

For Defendant-Appellant EUGENE CAZANTZES ASSISTANT PROSECUTOR

Hon. Sheila G. Farmer, P. J. Hon. John W. Wise, J. Hon. Craig R. Baldwin, J.

OPINION

Wise, J.

(¶1} Appellant Danielle Faith Dixon appeals her convictions and sentence, in the Court of Common Pleas, Stark County, on counts of aggravated arson, arson, and domestic violence. Appellee is the State of Ohio. The relevant facts leading to this appeal are as follows.

(¶2} On the morning of July 1, 2012, police officers were dispatched to a residence on Lesh Road NE in Canton, following a 911 call reporting a domestic disturbance. The call had been made by Jerry Lanksford, who lived at the residence with his teenage son and Appellant Dixon. Lanksford had been out all night, and when he arrived home, appellant began arguing with him. Both Lanksford and appellant had been drinking during the previous night. The responding officers did not make any arrests on this call, but they advised Lanksford to get away from the residence for awhile.

(¶3} In the early afternoon of that same day, Lanksford again called 911, reporting that appellant had thrown a phone at him, striking him in the head, and had sprayed lighter fluid around the residence. Lanksford also reported that a fire had started near one of the bedrooms. Lanksford and his son were able to put the fire out by themselves before exiting the house. Lanksford noticed that the tires on his car were flat and that there were matches near the gasoline tank opening. Appellant left the area, but was later apprehended when she pulled into the driveway in an automobile. She had a cut on her finger and appeared intoxicated.

(¶4} On July 31, 2012, appellant was indicted on two counts of aggravated arson under R.C. 2909.02(A)(1), both first-degree felonies; one count of arson under 2909.03(A)(1), a first-degree misdemeanor; and one count of domestic violence under R.C 2919.25(A), a first-degree misdemeanor.

(¶5} The case proceeded to a jury trial on November 11-12, 2012. Appellant was found guilty on all four counts as charged in the indictment.

(¶6} On November 21, 2012, the trial court sentenced appellant to two concurrent seven-year prison terms for the aggravated arson convictions, a concurrent 180-day sentence for the arson conviction, and a concurrent 180-day sentence for the domestic violence conviction. The aggregate sentence was thus seven years in prison.

(¶7} Appellant filed a notice of appeal on January 4, 2013. This Court granted leave for a delayed appeal on February 8, 2013. Appellant herein raises the following four Assignments of Error:

(¶8} "I. THE TRIAL COURT DENIED THE APPELLANT DUE PROCESS WHEN IT IMPOSED A SENTENCE PUNISHING HIM (SIC) FOR EXERCISING HIS (SIC) RIGHT TO A JURY TRIAL.

(¶9} "II. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY PERMITTING A NON-EXPERT WITNESS TO GIVE AN OPINION OUTSIDE THE SCOPE OF EVID. R. 701.

(¶10} "III. THE APPELLANT WAS DENIED HIS (SIC) RIGHT TO EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL.

(¶11} "IV. THE TRIAL COURT'S FINDING OF GUILTY WAS AGAINST THE MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE AND WAS NOT SUPPORTED BY SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE."

I.

(¶12} In her First Assignment of Error, appellant contends the trial court deprived her of her due process rights by imposing a higher sentence than the State had offered during ...


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