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State v. Davis

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Butler

November 13, 2017

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
EDMUND DAVIS, Defendant-Appellant.


          Sarah N. Fox, Middletown City Prosecutor, Ashley M. Bretland, One Donham Plaza, Middletown, for plaintiff-appellee

          Edmund Davis, defendant-appellant, pro se


          HENDRICKSON, P.J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Edmund Davis, appeals from his conviction in the Middletown Municipal Court for domestic violence. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm his conviction.

         {¶ 2} Following an incident that occurred between appellant and his 13-year-old daughter, M.D., on January 15, 2017, at M.D.'s mother's home in Middletown, Ohio, appellant was charged with one count of domestic violence in violation of R.C. 2919.25(A), a misdemeanor of the first degree.[1] Appellant pled not guilty to the charge and a bench trial was held March 20, 2017.

         {¶ 3} At trial, M.D.'s mother, Yvette Smith, testified as did M.D. and Middletown Police Officer Conner Kirby. Smith testified that on January 15, 2017, she called appellant and asked him to come to her home so that they could discuss disciplining M.D. after M.D. got into trouble at school. Smith explained that while she has full custody of M.D., she tries to co-parent with appellant and keep him informed of issues involving their daughter.

         {¶ 4} Once appellant arrived at Smith's home, an argument occurred when appellant tried to get M.D. to leave with him. Smith explained that M.D. did not want to go with appellant "because he has threatened to beat her before." Smith told appellant he was not allowed to take M.D. out of her home. An argument ensued and appellant and M.D. ended up on the floor of Smith's dining room, with appellant straddling M.D. while M.D. was lying on her back and holding onto the base of a dining room table. According to Smith, "appellant straddled [M.D.]'s waist, was tryin[g] to pull her hands from the table, when he couldn't do that, he rared [sic] back and hit [M.D.] in the mouth with his fist like a grown man." After appellant struck M.D., Smith's husband removed appellant from the home while Smith called the police.

         {¶ 5} M.D. testified that after she got in trouble at school, appellant came over to Smith's home and tried to get her to leave with him. When appellant grabbed her and tried to force her out of the house, she "dropped to the ground and grabbed ahold of the * * * leg of the * * * table." Appellant fell to the ground with her and started pulling on her legs. When she would not let go of the base of the table, appellant hit M. D. in her mouth with his right fist. M.D.'s lips became red and swollen and the inside of her upper lip was cut. M.D. explained that during these events she was scared of appellant.

         {¶ 6} Officer Kirby testified he was dispatched to Smith's home in Middletown, Ohio on January 15, 2017, on a report of a domestic violence incident. Upon arriving at the home, he spoke to M.D. and Smith, who both informed him that appellant struck M.D. with a closed fist in the mouth. Kirby observed a laceration on the inside of M.D.'s upper lip and noticed M.D.'s lip was swelling. Kirby took a photograph of M.D.'s injuries, which was admitted into evidence.

         {¶ 7} Following Kirby's testimony, appellant testified in his own defense. Appellant explained that on the date of the incident, Smith had called him early in the morning, around 2:00 a.m., to say that M.D. had left Smith's home and Smith did not know where M.D. went. Smith told appellant M.D. had been disrespectful. Later that day, after M.D. returned home, Smith again called appellant so that appellant could discipline M.D. Once appellant arrived at Smith's home, M.D. refused to leave with him because he had previously threated to "whup [M.D.] till his arm fell off" if she got into trouble again. Appellant explained that when he was trying to escort M.D. out of Smith's home, they both fell to the floor in the dining room. M.D. grabbed onto the table's base and refused to let go. Appellant denied straddling M.D. and punching her, but admitted to "disciplining" M.D. by "smack[ing] her" with an open palm. He explained that he "smacked her like a, like a [sic] parental slap and told her, I said turn that table leg loose and get up, come on, [and] go wit me [sic]." Appellant also testified that he and Smith are currently litigating his visitation and parental rights with respect to M.D.

         {¶ 8} After considering the foregoing evidence, the trial court found appellant guilty of domestic violence. Appellant was sentenced to 90 days in jail, with 89 days suspended and one day of jail-time credit. He was placed on probation for one year and was ordered to stay away from M.D. "except [for] visitation orders of the domestic relations court having jurisdiction of the child, " and to pay a $200 fine and court costs.

         {¶ 9} Appellant now appeals, pro se, raising three assignments of error.

         {¶ 10} ...

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