Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Madison
APPEAL FROM MADISON COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS Case No. CRI
Stephen J. Pronai, Madison County Prosecuting Attorney,
Rachel M. Price, for plaintiff-appellee
Stephen P. Hardwick, Assistant Ohio Public Defender, for
1} Defendant-appellant, Scott Caudill, appeals his
convictions in the Madison County Court of Common Pleas for
illegal manufacturing and possession of drugs.
2} Madison County officials went to the home of
Travis Basham to perform a welfare check on Basham's
children. The officials located a methamphetamine lab, and
law enforcement officers later returned to arrest Basham.
Officers discovered a methamphetamine lab in the shed on
Basham's property, just outside his house. Officers found
glass beakers, plastic funnels, coffee filters, bottles with
tubing, white powder on a glass plate, plastic mixing
bottles, and a glass container with 23 grams of dissolved
3} Basham told officers that Caudill was a frequent
visitor to Basham's house and that Caudill participated
in manufacturing methamphetamine and using the drugs they
created. Officers ran Caudill and his wife's information
through a national database and learned that the two
frequently purchased pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in
making methamphetamine, on multiple occasions. Officers later
determined that Caudill's fingerprints were located on
the equipment used to manufacture the methamphetamine found
in Basham's shed. Officers arrested Caudill, and the
state charged him with illegal manufacture of drugs, illegal
assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of
drugs, and aggravated possession of drugs.
4} Caudill pled not guilty, and the matter proceeded
to a two-day trial. The jury found Caudill guilty on each
count. During sentencing, the trial court merged the
manufacturing charge into the possession conviction and
sentenced Caudill to an aggregate sentence of five years in
prison. The trial court ordered Caudill to pay a fine over
objection. Caudill now appeals his convictions and sentence,
raising the following assignments of error.
5} Assignment of Error No. 1:
6} THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY ENTERING A JUDGMENT OF
CONVICTION ON COUNT III, AGGRAVATED DRUG POSSESSION WHEN THE
EVIDENCE WAS INSUFFICIENT TO SUSTAIN THE CONVICTION AND WHEN
THE CONVICTION WAS AGAINST THE MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE
7} Caudill argues in his first assignment of error
that his convictions were not supported by sufficient
evidence and were against the manifest weight of the
8} Whether the evidence presented at trial is
legally sufficient to sustain a verdict is a question of law.
State v. Thompkins, 78 Ohio St.3d 380, 386 (1997).
When reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence underlying a
criminal conviction, an appellate court examines the evidence
in order to determine whether such evidence, if believed,
would convince the average mind of the defendant's guilt
beyond a reasonable doubt. State v. Paul, 12th Dist.
Fayette No. CA2011-10-026, 2012-Ohio-3205, ¶ 9.
Therefore, "[t]he relevant inquiry is whether, after
viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the
prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the
essential elements of the crime proven beyond a reasonable
doubt." State v. Jenks, 61 Ohio St.3d 259
(1991), paragraph two of the syllabus.
9} A manifest weight of the evidence challenge
examines the "inclination of the greater amount of
credible evidence, offered at a trial, to support one side of
the issue rather than the other." State v.
Barnett, 12th Dist. Butler No. CA2011-09-177,
2012-Ohio-2372, ¶ 14. To determine whether a conviction
is against the manifest weight of the evidence, the reviewing
court must look at the entire record, weigh the evidence and
all reasonable inferences, consider the credibility of the
witnesses, and determine whether in resolving conflicts in
the evidence, the trier of fact clearly lost its way and
created such a manifest miscarriage of justice that the
conviction must be reversed and a new trial ordered.
State v. Graham, 12th Dist. Warren No.
CA2008-07-095, 2009-Ohio-2814, ¶ 66.
10} In reviewing the evidence, an appellate court
must be mindful that the jury, as the original trier of fact,
was in the best position to judge the credibility of
witnesses and determine the weight to be given to the
evidence. State v. Blankenburg,197 Ohio App.3d 201,
2012-Ohio-1289, ¶ 114 (12th Dist.). Therefore, an
appellate court will overturn a conviction due to the
manifest weight of the evidence "only in the exceptional
case in which the evidence weighs heavily against the
conviction." Id. Although the legal concepts of
sufficiency of the evidence and weight of the evidence are
quantitatively and qualitatively different, "[a]
determination that a conviction is supported by ...