APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF LORAIN, OHIO CASE No. 11CR082399
MICHAEL STEPANIK, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.
DENNIS P. WILL, Prosecuting Attorney, and MARY R. SLANCZKA, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
(¶1} Defendant-Appellant, Jose R. Vargas, appeals from his conviction in the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas. For the following reasons, this Court affirms.
(¶2} On March 9, 2011, the Grand Jury indicted Vargas on one count of gross sexual imposition in violation of Revised Code Section 2907.05(A)(4). Vargas pleaded not guilty, and proceeded to a bench trial. The trial court found him guilty and sentenced him to three years of community control, a $2, 000 fine, and classified him as a Tier II sex offender.
(¶3} Vargas filed a timely appeal of his conviction. His counsel filed a brief pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967), asserting that there were no appealable issues, and moved to withdraw as counsel. This Court determined that there were arguable issues that could be raised on appeal, granted counsel's motion to withdraw, and appointed new counsel on Vargas's behalf. Vargas's new counsel has raised three assignments of error for our review. This Court rearranges his assignments of error to facilitate our review.
ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR III
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING VARGAS' (SIC) MOTION FOR JUDGMENT OF ACQUITTAL AS THE STATE FAILED TO PRESENT SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE OF GUILT.
(¶4} In his third assignment of error, Vargas argues that the trial court erred in failing to grant his Criminal Rule 29 motion. This Court disagrees.
(¶5} "We review a denial of a defendant's Crim.R. 29 motion for acquittal by assessing the sufficiency of the State's evidence." State v. Slevin, 9th Dist. Summit No. 25956, 2012-Ohio-2043, ¶ 15. "Whether the evidence is legally sufficient to sustain a verdict is a question of law" that this Court reviews de novo. State v. Thompkins, 78 Ohio St.3d 380, 386 (1997).
An appellate court's function when reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence to support a criminal conviction is to examine the evidence admitted at trial to determine whether such evidence, if believed, would convince the average mind of the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. 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. "The test for sufficiency requires a determination of whether the State has met its burden of production at trial." State v. Collmar, 9th Dist. Summit No. 26496, 2013-Ohio-1766, ¶ 7.
(¶6} Vargas was convicted of violating Revised Code Section 2907.05(A)(4), which provides that:
No person shall have sexual contact with another, not the spouse of the offender; [or] cause another, not the spouse of the offender, to have sexual contact with the ...