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State v. Yoder

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Licking

March 30, 2017

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
MEGAN N. YODER Defendant-Appellant

         Appeal from the Licking County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2016 CR 00068

          For Plaintiff-Appellee: KENNETH W. OSWALT LICKING CO. PROSECUTOR.

          For Defendant-Appellant: BREHM & ASSOC., L.P.A. ZACHARY A. MOYER.

          JUDGES: Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, P.J. Hon. John W. Wise, J. Hon. Craig R. Baldwin, J.


          DELANEY, P.J.

         {¶1} Appellant Megan N. Yoder appeals from the June 29, 2016 Judgment Entry of the Licking County Court of Common Pleas. Appellee is the state of Ohio.


         {¶2} This case arose on May 7, 2015 when appellant wrote the first of four bad checks to the Hobby Lobby in Heath, Ohio. Within two months, on two separate accounts, appellant wrote a total of four checks in the store, all of which would be dishonored.

Date Check Written

Check Number

Account Number

Amount of Check

Reason for Dishonor

May 7, 2015




Insufficient Funds (“NSF”)

June 27, 2015




Stop Payment

June 27, 2015




Stop Payment

June 29, 2015




Stop Payment

         {¶3} Account number 5567 is in the name of "Megan Smith." Account number 9626 is in the name of Jonathon Yoder and Megan Yoder.

         {¶4} It is undisputed appellant wrote the checks. Appellee's evidence included video of appellant completing the two transactions on June 27, 2015.

         {¶5} Appellee's witnesses included a bank representative who testified that appellant's husband placed the stop-payment order on the checks numbered 311, 313, and 314 from the 9626 account giving the reason as "lost checks." The stop-payment orders were made on June 29, 2015. The bank witness also testified that at the time the checks were written, the accounts did not contain sufficient funds to support the amounts of the checks.

         {¶6} The Hobby Lobby corporate office became aware of the bad checks and returned them to the Heath store with instructions to initiate a police investigation. On November 19, 2015, Sgt. Craig Black of the Heath Police Department spoke to appellant at her home. Appellant admitted writing the checks to Hobby Lobby and said she wanted to make restitution. She told Black the stop-payment orders were issued on the latter three checks because she thought the checks had been lost. Appellant gave a voluntary written statement:

Checks were issued to Hobby Lobby and a stop payments was made (sic). I thought I lost the checks and that's why stop payments were made. I would like to make restitution to Hobby Lobby. I receive disability once a month and I am willing to pay them back. I also have a P.O. box that all mail comes to which is P.O. Box 395, Alexandria, Ohio 43001.

         {¶7} Prior to trial, the court had ruled certain other bad acts evidence was admissible only upon rebuttal. After appellee's witnesses testified, however, the trial court ruled that upon reconsideration, the evidence was admissible in appellee's case-in-chief. Appellee's witnesses were thus recalled over appellant's objections.

         {¶8} Appellee's additional evidence established appellant wrote bad checks at other Hobby Lobby locations in different counties. Black further testified appellant told him she spoke with detectives regarding these additional bad checks written to other Hobby Lobby locations in other jurisdictions. Appellee also called a Franklin County sheriff's deputy who testified appellant wrote checks from a closed account to a business in Franklin County. Appellant admitted writing the checks and told the deputy she had a "spending problem."

         {¶9} Appellant was charged by indictment with one count of passing bad checks pursuant to R.C. 2913.11(B), a felony of the fifth degree, to which she entered a plea of not guilty.

         {¶10} On May 6, 2016, appellee filed a Notice of Intent to Offer Certain Evidence, citing Franklin County Court of Common Pleas case number 15 CR 6005 and Franklin County Sheriff's Office report number 01-15-008574. Appellee asserted evidence of appellant's other crimes, wrongs, or acts would be admitted to show absence of mistake or accident. On May 9, 2016, appellant filed a motion in limine seeking to exclude the evidence of other acts.

         {¶11} The matter proceeded to trial by jury. Appellant moved for judgment of acquittal at the close of appellee's evidence and at the close of all of the evidence. The trial court gave a limiting instruction regarding the evidence of the other bad acts. In addition, in instructing the jury upon the offense of passing bad checks, the trial court gave the following instruction regarding the presumption of knowledge of dishonor pursuant to R.C. 2913.11(C)(2):

* * * *.
A person who issues or transfers a check is presumed to know that it will be dishonored if the check was properly refused payment for insufficient funds upon presentment within thirty days after issue, or the stated date, whichever is later, and the liability of the drawer, endorsee, or any party who may be liable therein is not discharged by payment or satisfaction within ten days after receiving notice of dishonor.
* * * *.
T. 228-229.

         {¶12} Appellant was found guilty as charged, with a special finding by the jury that the amount of the checks was $1000.00 or more but less than $7500.00. Sentencing was deferred pending a pre-sentence investigation. On June 29, 2016, appellant was sentenced to a three-year period of ...

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