Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Butler
APPEAL FROM MIDDLETOWN MUNICIPAL COURT Case No. 17CRB01024-A.
N. Fox, Middletown City Prosecutor, Ashley M. Bretland, One
Donham Plaza, Middletown, for plaintiff-appellee
Davis, defendant-appellant, pro se
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
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. 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
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.