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State v. Elkins

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Richland

March 30, 2018

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
DREW ELKINS Defendant-Appellant

          Criminal Appeal from the Mansfield Municipal Court, Case No. 17 CRB 163

          For Plaintiff-Appellee MICHAEL J. KEMERER ASSISTANT LAW DIRECTOR

          For Defendant-Appellant RANDALL E. FRY

          Hon. John W. Wise, P. J., Hon. W. Scott Gwin, J., Hon. William B. Hoffman, J.

          OPINION

          WISE, P. J.

         {¶1} Appellant Drew Elkins appeals following his conviction, in the Mansfield Municipal Court, Richland County, for obstructing official business and criminal trespass. Appellee is the State of Ohio. The relevant facts leading to this appeal are as follows.

         {¶2} On January 10, 2017, appellant and Victoria Chapman were at the Richland County Children Service's ("RCCS") offices in Mansfield for a scheduled visit with their infant child.[1] The agency's family support specialist assisting with the visit, Erica Denham, specifically advised them prior to the commencement of the visit that no cell phones were allowed, and that if during the visit a cell phone or similar device were discovered, the event would terminate.

         {¶3} At some point, appellant and Chapman discovered a red mark on their child, which caused concern to them. However, a cell phone rang during the visitation time, at which point Denham and some of her co-workers immediately "let them know that their visit was ending and that they needed to exit the building." Tr. at 59. Appellant refused to leave, and he asked to speak to a supervisor.[2] RCCS employees thereupon decided to request law enforcement assistance. Furthermore, an ambulance was requested for Chapman, even though two of the State's witnesses later testified that they observed no medical conditions requiring such assistance. See Tr. at 68-69 (Denham), 77 (Gordon).

         {¶4} Sgt. William Gordon of the Richland County Sheriffs Department soon arrived at RCCS. He gave some instructions to appellant, which he believed appellant intentionally did not follow. Rather than immediately issuing a summons to appellant for criminal trespass, Sgt. Gordon decided to allow appellant to follow the ambulance for Chapman to the hospital.

         {¶5} Sgt. Gordon thereafter came into the hospital waiting room and began writing a summons for criminal trespass. Deputy Amber Alfrey also arrived on the scene. As further analyzed infra, while Sgt. Gordon was attempting to write the summons, appellant engaged in actions to attempt to delay the officer in his duties. Sgt. Gordon therefore additionally charged the appellant with obstructing official business.

         {¶6} The matter proceeded to a jury trial on May 22, 2017. Appellant was found guilty of one count of obstructing official business, R.C. 2921.31(A), a misdemeanor of the second degree, and one count of criminal trespass, R.C. 2911.21(A)(4), a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.

         {¶7} On June 1, 2017, appellant was sentenced as follows: a fine of $200.00 and ninety days in jail for obstructing official business, and a $100.00 fine with thirty days in jail on the offense of criminal trespassing. The jail sentences were ordered to be consecutive to each other and were set to begin on July 11, 2017. Appellant was also ordered to obtain a mental health assessment.

         {¶8} The trial court subsequently suspended all jail time and imposed one year of probation.

         {¶9} Appellant filed a notice of appeal on June 30, 2017. He herein raises the ...


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