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State v. Harding

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Licking

March 26, 2018

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
JOAN HARDING Defendant-Appellant

          Appeal from the Licking County Municipal Court, Case No. 16CRB02283

          For Defendant-Appellant STEPHANIE L. TACKETT Reese, Pyle, Drake & Myer, P.L.L.

          For Plaintiff-Appellee BRIAN ZETS City of Pataskala Law Director

          Hon. William B. Hoffman, P.J. Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, J. Hon. Earle E. Wise, Jr., J.

          OPINION

          Hoffman, P.J.

         {¶1} Appellant Joan Harding appeals the judgment entered by the Licking County Municipal Court convicting her of failure to disclose personal information (R.C. 2921.29) and sentencing her to thirty days incarceration. Appellee is the state of Ohio.[1]

         STATEMENT OF THE FACTS AND CASE

         {¶2} On October 28, 2016, Pataskala police were summoned to the Haunted Hoochie by security officers who were having difficulty with a female patron of the site. The Haunted Hoochie is a haunted house attraction in Pataskala, Ohio. When Patrolman Shane Mills arrived, he noted the woman looked like she fell on her face, and she was visibly intoxicated. The woman smelled like alcohol, had slurred speech and glassy eyes, and was irritated. She stated she had been assaulted in the Haunted Hoochie, but based on video surveillance, security officers and police found her claim was not credible.

         {¶3} The woman wanted to walk to her friend's house, but police did not feel it was safe for her attempt to walk on Broad Street. While waiting for medics to arrive on the scene, police repeatedly asked her name, and she would not provide her name. Approximately three days later, the woman was identified as Appellant from California Bureau of Motor Vehicle records.

         {¶4} Appellant was charged with one count of disorderly conduct while intoxicated (R.C. 2917.11(B)) and one count of obstructing official business (R.C. 2921.31). The case proceeded to bench trial on May 8, 2017.

          {¶5} After the State rested its case, the court dismissed both charges upon Appellant's Crim. R. 29 motion. The court then permitted the State to amend the charge, over Appellant's objection, to one count of failure to disclose personal information in violation of R.C. 2321.29.

         {¶6} Appellant testified at trial she was in Ohio for a friend's birthday party in Columbus. She stayed with friends in Pataskala, and one of her friends was the sister of the owner of the Haunted Hoochie. After a dinner in a restaurant in Gahanna where an alcoholic beverage was spilled on Appellant, she testified she toured the Haunted Hoochie without purchasing a ticket, due to her connection to the owner's sister. While in the attraction, she testified she was punched in the face and ear by the gentleman wielding a chainsaw. She testified the police officer was very aggressive toward her, accusing her of trespassing because she did not have a ticket for the attraction. Because of his manner, she did not believe he was a real police officer, and therefore refused to provide him with her name.

         {¶7} Appellant was convicted of the amended charge of failure to disclose personal information and sentenced to thirty days incarceration, with twenty-nine days suspended, and given credit for one day served. She was placed on probation for one year.

         {¶8} From the May 8, 2017 judgment of conviction and sentence Appellant ...


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