Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Sullens

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

June 1, 2017

State of Ohio, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Joseph L. Sullens, Defendant-Appellant.

         APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. No. 15CR-1944

          On brief: Ron O'Brien, Prosecuting Attorney, and Steven L. Taylor, for appellee.

          On brief: Hollern & Associates, and H. Tim Merkle, for appellant.

          DECISION

          HORTON, J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Joseph L. Sullens, appeals from his conviction in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, for domestic violence under R.C. 2919.25. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         {¶ 2} Sullens was indicted on one count of domestic violence under R.C. 2919.25 on April 20, 2015. The indictment charged the domestic violence count as a third-degree felony, based on the allegation that Sullens had multiple previous convictions for domestic violence. (Apr. 20, 2015 Indictment.)

         {¶ 3} After pleading not guilty, Sullens waived his right to a jury trial. (Apr. 22, 2015 Plea of Not Guilty; Nov. 2, 2015 Entry.) The trial court held a bench trial on November 3, 2015.

         {¶ 4} During a pretrial conference, the prosecution moved the trial court to call the victim, Z.S., as its own witness. The defense objected, arguing that the request to have the trial court call Z.S. as a witness was an attempt by the prosecution to circumvent the rule that a party cannot impeach its own witness with a prior inconsistent statement. The prosecution responded that it was within the trial court's discretion to call Z.S. as a witness, regardless of any intent to impeach her with inconsistencies between her testimony and prior statements to the police. The trial court overruled the defense's objection and stated that it would call Z.S. as its own witness, citing its authority to do so under Evid.R. 614(A). (Nov. 3, 2015 Tr. at 5-8.)

         {¶ 5} On the stand, Z.S. testified that Sullens had been convicted of domestic violence on seven occasions with her as the victim and one additional occasion with her father as the victim. (Tr. at 13-14.) She testified that on April 5, 2015, Sullens "got upset and started arguing" with her after she received a phone call from a friend wishing her a happy birthday. (Tr. at 15.) The prosecution and Z.S. had the following exchange:

Q. Then what happened?
A. I really don't remember, I really don't recall, but I think he smacked me.
Q. Where did he smack you?
A. Up side my head.
Q. The side of your head?
A. Uh-huh.
Q. Alright. Were you upset when that happened?
A. No. I just didn't want things to get out of hand. That is why I called the police.
Q. So you called the police?
A. I think. I don't remember if somebody else did. I'm not really sure.

(Tr. at 15.)

         {¶ 6} The prosecution then played a recording of a 911 call in which the caller stated: "My husband beat me and I have blood (unintelligible). I need some help." (Tr. At 16.) The caller identified herself as Z.S. and Sullens as the assailant. When questioned, Z.S. stated that she ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.