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State v. Ritchie

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Montgomery

March 2, 2018

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
DEREK J. RITCHIE Defendant-Appellant

         Criminal Appeal from Municipal Court Trial Court Case No. 2017-CRB-298

          Prosecuting Attorney, Montgomery County Attorney for Plaintiff-Appellee

          LUCAS W. WILDER, Atty. Attorney for Defendant-Appellant

          OPINION

          TUCKER, J.

          {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant Derek Ritchie was, following a bench trial, convicted of disorderly conduct as a fourth degree misdemeanor. Ritchie asserts that the verdict is not supported by sufficient evidence and, further, that the verdict is against the manifest weight of the evidence. We conclude that the evidence is sufficient and that the conviction is not against the manifest weight of the evidence. Accordingly, Ritchie's conviction will be affirmed.

         Facts

         {¶ 2} Ritchie, on February 24, 2017, attended a concert at a music club called Odd Bodies located on Burkhardt Road in Riverside, Ohio. The facts culminating in Ritchie's arrest were recounted by Riverside Officer Sewert and by Richard Eckhardt who is a part owner of Odd Bodies.

         {¶ 3} Eckhardt encountered Ritchie near a Family Video which is located in the same shopping center as Odd Bodies. Eckhardt testified that Ritchie "seemed a little disoriented" and that "[h]e was laying (sic) down at one point." Eckhardt asked Ritchie if he needed assistance prompting Ritchie to reply that "his girlfriend had been kidnapped and she was inside." Eckhardt, in an effort to assuage Ritchie's concern, informed him that the show would conclude in forty-five minutes or so and that if your girlfriend is inside, she will exit the club at that time. Ritchie, in a non-responsive fashion, stated that his "girlfriend's mom was the clerk of courts." Eckhardt also indicated that Ritchie's cell phone kept ringing with Ritchie "screaming at his phone for somebody to stop calling him."

         {¶ 4} Ritchie, at this juncture and for no apparent reason, turned his attention to females in the shopping center parking lot. Eckhardt recounted that Ritchie, using a loud voice, began to yell at females that "your p * * * *'s dirty" and "[y]our p * * * *s stretched out." This language caused a man, who was with a female companion, to confront Ritchie. Eckhardt positioned himself between Ritchie and the man, and told the man that "[t]his guy's not right at the moment. Just get in your car and take off and I'll take care of this guy." This defused the situation.

         {¶ 5} Eckhardt further testified that Ritchie directed the "same type of profane language" at an older woman in a parked car who Eckhardt surmised was waiting to pick up individuals attending the concert. Eckhardt indicated that he looked at the woman, held up his hand, and told her "it's going to be okay."

         {¶ 6} Eckhardt, at some point, observed two nearby Riverside officers, and he maneuvered Ritchie toward the officers. Eckhardt, upon reaching the officers, relinquished control of Ritchie to the officers.

         {¶ 7} Officer Sewert testified that Officer Stafford and he were dispatched to Odd Bodies based upon someone calling dispatch and reporting that "a female was being raped or assaulted inside the music club…" However, upon contact with Odd Bodies staff, "they could not locate any type of altercation inside the club." Sewert and Stafford, after investigating the dispatch, remained in the shopping center parking lot apparently because of the large concert crowd.

         {¶ 8} Sewert testified that while so positioned he observed a white van exit the Odd Bodies' parking lot, make an "abrupt right turn into… [another] parking lot[, ]" with the van going "through… [a] median bottoming out the vehicle." The van, according to Sewert's account, "proceeded to the back parking lot of a business directly to the east of [Odd Bodies]." Sewert indicated that Stafford and he followed and located the van. The van was leaking "fluid on the ground[, ] but "[n]obody was around the vehicle."

         {¶ 9} The officers then went to a location in front of Odd Bodies. Eckhardt, as the officers were so positioned, approached and turned Ritchie over to the officers. Sewert testified that Ritchie, upon coming into contact with the officers, "advised [that] he was supposed to be watching out for a girl…[, ]" indicating that the girl "was near a tour bus wearing a long dress." Ritchie, evidently referring to the girl he was entrusted to protect, stated "[s]he is so f * * * * * * gullible and she is so f * * * * * *naïve." Sewert noted that as Ritchie was speaking he could "detect a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from [Ritchie's] breath, [that he had] blood… shot, glassy eyes, [and] slurred speech." Sewert further testified that Ritchie's "motor skills appeared to be off as he was dropping items as he was ...


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