from Logan County Common Pleas Court Trial Court No.
Gabriele for Appellant
Robinson-Bond for Appellee
Defendant-appellant, Zackariah J. Coleman
("Coleman"), appeals the November 20, 2017 judgment
entry of sentence of the Logan County Court of Common Pleas.
This case stems from allegations that Coleman sexually abused
S.E.-the daughter of his girlfriend with whom Coleman shared
a home-between 2014 and 2015, while S.E. was less than
thirteen years of age. On November 8, 2016, the Logan County
Grand Jury indicted Coleman on three counts of gross sexual
imposition in violation of R.C. 2907.05(A)(4), third-degree
felonies. (Doc. No. 4). On November 16, 2016, Coleman
appeared for arraignment and entered pleas of not guilty.
(Doc. No. 10).
The case proceeded to a jury trial on September 26 and 27,
2017. (Sept. 26, 2017 Tr., Vol. I, at 1); (Sept. 27, 2017,
Vol. II, at 156). On September 27, 2017, the jury found
Coleman guilty of one count of gross sexual imposition.
(Sept. 27, 2017 Tr., Vol. II, at 226-227); (Doc. No. 106).
The jury could not reach a unanimous verdict as to the other
two counts of the indictment. (Sept. 27, 2017 Tr., Vol. II,
at 226-227); (Doc. No. 110). The trial court filed its
judgment entry of conviction on October 2, 2017 finding
Coleman guilty of one count of gross sexual imposition and
dismissing the other two counts of the indictment. (Doc. No.
The trial court held a sentencing and a sex-offender
registration hearing on November 2, 2017. (Nov. 2, 2017 Tr.
at 1); (Doc. No. 114). The trial court sentenced Coleman to
five years of community control. (Id. at 8);
(Id.). The trial court also classified Coleman as a
Tier II sex offender. (Id. at 3); (Id.).
The trial court filed its judgment entries of sentence and
sex-offender classification on November 20, 2017. (Doc. No.
Coleman filed a notice of appeal on November 28, 2017. (Doc.
No. 118). He raises two assignments of error for our review,
which we discuss together.
of Error No. I
Verdict of the Trial Court was Not Supported by Sufficient
Evidence as the State of Ohio Failed to Prove Each and Every
Element of the Crime of Gross Sexual Imposition Beyond a
of Error No. II
Verdict of the Trial Court was Against the Manifest Weight of
the Evidence as the State of Ohio Failed to Prove Each and
Every Element of the Crime of Gross Sexual Imposition Beyond
a Reasonable Doubt.
In his assignments of error, Coleman argues that his
gross-sexual-imposition conviction is based on insufficient
evidence and is against the manifest weight of the evidence.
Manifest "weight of the evidence and sufficiency of the
evidence are clearly different legal concepts."
State v. Thompkins, 78 Ohio St.3d 380, 389 (1997).
As such, we address each legal concept individually.
"An appellate court's function when reviewing the
sufficiency of the evidence to support a criminal conviction
is to examine the evidence admitted at trial to determine
whether such evidence, if believed, would convince the
average mind of the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable
doubt." State v. Jenks, 61 Ohio St.3d 259
(1981), paragraph two of the syllabus, superseded by
state constitutional amendment on other grounds, State v.
Smith, 80 Ohio St.3d 89 (1997). Accordingly, "[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." Id. "In
deciding if the evidence was sufficient, we neither resolve
evidentiary conflicts nor assess the credibility of
witnesses, as both are functions reserved for the trier of
fact." State v. Jones, 1st Dist. Hamilton Nos.
C-120570 and C-120571, 2013-Ohio-4775, ¶ 33, citing
State v. Williams, 197 Ohio App.3d 505,
2011-Ohio-6267, ¶ 25 (1st Dist). See also State v.
Berry, 3d Dist. Defiance No. 4-12-03, 2013-Ohio-2380,
¶ 19 ("Sufficiency of the evidence is a test of
adequacy rather than credibility or weight of the
evidence."), citing Thompkins at 386.
On the other hand, in determining whether a conviction is
against the manifest weight of the evidence, a reviewing
court must examine the entire record, "'weigh[ ] the
evidence and all reasonable inferences, consider[ ] the
credibility of 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.'" Thompkins at 387, quoting
State v. Martin, 20 Ohio App.3d 172, 175 (1st
Dist.1983). A reviewing court must, however, allow the trier
of fact appropriate discretion on matters relating to the
weight of the evidence and the credibility of the witnesses.
State v. DeHass, 10 Ohio St.2d 230, 231 (1967). When
applying the manifest-weight standard, "[o]nly in
exceptional cases, where the evidence 'weighs heavily
against the conviction, ' should an appellate court
overturn the trial court's judgment." State v.
Haller, 3d Dist. Allen No. 1-11-34, 2012-Ohio-5233,
¶ 9, quoting State v. Hunter, 131 Ohio St.3d
67, 2011-Ohio-6524, ¶ 119.
R.C. 2907.05 sets forth the offense of gross sexual
imposition and provides, in relevant part:
(A) No person shall have sexual contact with another, not the
spouse of the offender; cause another, not the spouse of the
offender, to have sexual contact with the offender; or cause
two or more other persons to have ...