FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CR-2014-10-3213(B)
KIMBERLY ANNE VALENTI, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.
BEVAN WALSH, Prosecuting Attorney, and HEAVEN DIMARTINO,
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
D. CELEBREZZE, JR., JUDGE.
Appellant, Brett Hall, appeals his conviction for burglary
following a jury trial in the Summit County Court of Common
Pleas. We affirm.
On October 22, 2014, Wayne Douglas returned to the residence
that he rented in Akron, Ohio to discover that a window was
broken and a number of his possessions were missing. The
missing items included a flat screen television, amplifier,
DVD player, radio, karaoke machine, microwave, hot plate,
hair clippers, and clothing. Douglas reported the incident to
the Akron police.
Several hours later, at about 2:00 a.m. on October 23, 2014,
Douglas was trying to fall asleep when he heard noises in his
home. A table and lamp that Douglas had placed in front of
the broken window had been overturned. Douglas discovered
Hall and another man, Larry White, downstairs. Douglas
recognized Hall as an acquaintance of his former roommate,
Rachael Kerns. A confrontation ensued between Douglas and the
two men. Hall and White left when Douglas called the police
for the second time that night.
Between Douglas' first and second reports to the police,
officers made a traffic stop of a van that Hall was driving.
White was a passenger in the van. Kerns also was a passenger.
During the traffic stop, Kerns was arrested on an outstanding
warrant. The police seized a suitcase from the van for later
analysis by the burglary unit, but did not arrest Hall and
White for burglary at that time. At trial, Douglas testified
that items in the suitcase seized from the van were his
The police stopped the same van again a short time after Hall
and White left Douglas' residence on the morning of
October 23. Hall was driving and White was a passenger in the
van. Douglas identified Hall and White as the men who had
been in his residence. The police discovered more of
Douglas' personal property in the van.
Hall and White were indicted for burglary in violation of
R.C. 2911.12(A)(2) and proceeded to trial as co-defendants.
At trial, several witnesses testified. They included: (1)
Douglas, (2) Kerns, (3) Douglas' landlord, (4)
co-defendant White, and (5) several Akron police officers.
The jury convicted Hall and White of burglary, a
second-degree felony. Hall was sentenced to a four-year
prison term and three years of post-release control.
Hall now appeals from his conviction. He raises three
assignments of error for our review.
of Error One
WAS INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THE JURY'S VERDICT,
AND APPELLANT'S [SIC] CONVICTIONN [SIC] FOR GURLARY [SIC]
WAS AGAINST THE MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE; THE STATE OF
OHIO FAILED TO ESTABLISH BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT WHEN
VIEWED BY THE MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE THAT MR. BRET
[SIC] HALL. [SIC] EITHER PARTICIPATED OR WAS AN ACCOMPLICE IN
THE BURGLARY; THERE IS INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT MR.
HALLS' [SIC] CONVICTION OF BURGLARY AND THUS
APPELLANT'S [SIC] CONVICTION IS AGAINST THE MANIFEST
WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE AND BASED UPON INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE
AS PERTAINS TO THE FINDING THAT HE COMMITTED THE CRIME.
TRIAL COURT ERRED IN OVERRULING MR. HALLS' [SIC] RULE 29
MOTION FOR ACQUITTAL; AS ORIGINALLY [SIC] MADE AND RENEWED.
In his first assignment of error, Hall claims that the
evidence was (1) insufficient to sustain his conviction and
(2) against the manifest weight of the evidence. We will
address these arguments separately because "sufficiency
and manifest weight are two separate, legally distinct
arguments." State v. Vicente-Colon, 9th Dist.
Lorain No. 09CA009705, 2010-Ohio-6242, ¶ 20.
"'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. Smith, 9th
Dist. Summit No. 27389, 2015-Ohio-2842, ¶ 17, quoting
State v. Frashuer, 9th Dist. Summit No. 24769,
2010-Ohio-634, ¶ 33. A sufficiency challenge to a
criminal conviction presents a question of law, which we
review de novo. See State v. Thompkins, 78 Ohio
St.3d 380, 386 (1997). In carrying out this review, our
"function * * * 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." State v. Jenks, 61 Ohio
St.3d 259 (1991), paragraph two of the syllabus. After such
an examination and taking the evidence in the light most
favorable to the prosecution, we must decide whether
"any rational trier of fact could have found the
essential elements of the crime proven beyond a reasonable
doubt." Id. Although we conduct a de novo
review when considering a sufficiency of the evidence
challenge, we do not resolve evidentiary conflicts or assess
the credibility of witnesses, because these functions belong
to the trier of fact. State v. Tucker, 9th
Dist. Medina No. 14CA0047-M, 2015-Ohio-3810, ¶ 7.
The jury found Hall guilty of violating R.C. 2911.12(A)(2).
R.C. 2911.12(A)(2) provides:
No person, by force, stealth, or deception, shall * * *
[t]respass in an occupied structure or in a separately
secured or separately occupied portion of an occupied
structure that is a permanent or temporary habitation of any
person when any person other than an accomplice of the
offender is present or likely to ...