Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton
Appeal From: Hamilton County Municipal Court, Trial No.
Boggs Muething, City Solicitor, Natalia Harris, City
Prosecutor, and Jennifer Bishop, Assistant City Prosecutor,
Raymond T. Faller, Hamilton County Public Defender, and David
Hoffmann, Assistant Public Defender, for Defendant-Appellant.
Clarence Ham appeals the judgment of the Hamilton County
Municipal Court convicting him of telecommunications
harassment. We affirm the judgment of the trial court, but
remand the cause to the trial court for a nunc pro tunc entry
to reflect that Ham was convicted of the amended
Clarence Ham was charged with one count of telecommunications
harassment in violation of R.C. 2917.21(B), a misdemeanor of
the first degree. The complaint alleged that Ham had made a
telecommunication with the purpose to threaten Kiesha Rice.
The complaint further alleged that Ham contacted Rice
multiple times on her cell phone and made threats to cause
her bodily harm.
Ham pled not guilty and proceeded to a bench trial. Prior to
trial, the state clarified that the harassment started on
November 9, 2016 and continued until November 20, 2016. Ham
acknowledged that he was on notice that the alleged
harassment continued over that period of time, and that the
state intended to prove that Ham continued to contact Rice
after being asked to stop.
Rice was the sole witness for the state. Rice testified that
she had had a relationship with Clarence Ham, whom she
initially knew as Mike Cottman. A week before the harassment
started, Ham was driving her car and got into a car accident.
Eventually, he was cited for the accident and for fleeing the
scene of the accident. Rice learned his real name during the
investigation into the car accident. When Ham learned of the
charges he was facing, he repeatedly contacted Rice.
Rice testified that she told Ham to stop calling her after
receiving multiple calls on November 9, 2016. Ham continued
to contact her until November 19, 2016. She stated that he
called her from numerous different numbers, texted her, and
contacted her through Facebook messenger and her Facebook
page. Rice testified that, during one call, Ham threatened to
kill her and her family to avoid going to jail.
Rice had documented the text messages, Facebook posts, and
messages sent through Facebook messenger by taking screen
shots with her cell phone. One of the messages, which Ham
shared with her family members, claimed she had AIDS, and
they would die together. The other message he shared included
a photograph of his penis. In another message, he threatened
to shoot up a child's birthday party.
Ham repeatedly attempted to video call her through Facebook
messenger. Rice testified that she blocked his telephone
number and blocked him on Facebook, but he continued to
contact her using call block and fake numbers. She knew Ham
was contacting her through these numbers based on the content
of the messages. When he continued to ignore her requests to
stop contacting her, she called the police. The
communications stopped when Ham was arrested and
After Rice testified, the state rested, and Ham moved for an
acquittal. The trial court denied the motion, and the defense
rested and renewed its motion for an acquittal, which was
The state moved to amend the complaint to conform to the
evidence. Specifically, the state requested that the
telecommunications harassment charge be amended to reflect a
violation of R.C. 2917.21(A)(5), which prohibits a person
from continuing to make telecommunications after the
recipient has told the caller to stop, instead of the (B)
section, which prohibits a person from making a
telecommunication with purpose to abuse, threaten, or harass
another person. Ham objected, arguing that ...