FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
SUMMIT, OHIO CASE Nos. CR 2016 10 3554 (B) CR 2016 05 1716
APPEARANCES: KANI HARVEY HIGHTOWER, Attorney at Law, for
BEVAN WALSH, Prosecuting Attorney, and JACQUENETTE S. CORGAN,
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
A. TEODOSIO, JUDGE
Appellant, Charles D. Coleman, appeals from his convictions
in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas. This Court
affirms, but remands the matter for the trial court to issue
a nunc pro tunc judgment entry.
In May of 2016, R.M. wanted to trade food stamps for heroin,
so a female acquaintance connected him to an individual who
was willing to facilitate an exchange. Mr. Coleman and two
others ("Terrance" and "Anthony") arrived
at R.M.'s residence and forced him go with them to a
nearby Save-a-Lot store while they used his food stamp card.
The men all traveled to the store together in one vehicle,
and two of them went inside to buy food with R.M.'s food
stamp card. Afterward, they drove to a turnaround at the end
of a road and all three men physically attacked R.M. He
managed to escape and locate a nearby Stow police officer
that the men had just recently passed on the road. The
officer soon located and stopped the vehicle as it came back
down the road from the turnaround and eventually arrested all
four men, including R.M. Mr. Coleman was indicted on a felony
charge of illegal use of food stamps or WIC program benefits
as well as misdemeanor assault.
In October of 2016, an Akron police officer was dispatched to
investigate a suspicious vehicle parked in the entrance to a
parking lot with three men inside. Terrance was in the
driver's seat, Anthony was the front passenger seat, and
Mr. Coleman was in the rear seat, directly behind the driver.
Anthony was arrested on an active warrant and he admitted
that there was a gun under his seat. After Terrance and Mr.
Coleman were removed from the vehicle, officers located
Anthony's gun as well as another loaded gun stashed deep
down in the map pocket behind the driver's seat. Mr.
Coleman was indicted on a felony charge of improperly
handling firearms in a motor vehicle.
Mr. Coleman waived his right to a jury trial and both matters
proceeded to a bench trial. The trial court found him guilty
of all three offenses and sentenced him to two years of
Mr. Coleman now appeals from his convictions and raises two
assignments of error for this Court's review. Although he
appealed both of his criminal cases separately, this Court
consolidated the two appeals, as both cases were tried
together in the trial court.
Before addressing Mr. Coleman's assignments of error, we
must first address an error brought to this Court's
attention by the State, regarding the trial court's
judgment entry and Mr. Coleman's conviction for improper
handling. Mr. Coleman was convicted of improperly handling
firearms in a motor vehicle under R.C. 2923.16(B), which is
undeniably a felony of the fourth degree. See R.C.
2923.16(I) ("A violation of division (B) of this section
is a felony of the fourth degree"). A review of the
record reveals that the charge was properly indicted as a
felony of the fourth degree and that Mr. Coleman was found
guilty at trial of a felony of the fourth degree. During his
sentencing hearing, the trial court properly sentenced Mr.
Coleman for a felony of the fourth degree. However, the
court's judgment entry contains a clerical error as it
mistakenly refers to the offense as a felony of
the fifth degree. As it is clear from the record
that this is simply a clerical error, we must remand the
matter for the trial court to issue a nunc pro tunc judgment
entry to reflect that Mr. Coleman was found guilty of
improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle under R.C.
2923.16(B), a felony of the fourth degree.
See State v. Higgins, 9th Dist. Summit No.
27700, 2018-Ohio-476, ¶ 21.
We now turn to the merits of Mr. Coleman's assignments of
ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR ONE
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED AS A MATTER OF LAW AND DENIED THE
DEFENDANT HIS CONSTITUTIONAL DUE PROCESS RIGHTS WHEN IT
FAILED TO SUSTAIN THE DEFENDANT'S CRIM.R. 29 MOTIONS FOR
ACQUITTAL BASED ON INSUFFICIENCY OF THE EVIDENCE
In his first assignment of error, Mr. Coleman argues that his
convictions are based on insufficient evidence and the trial
court erred in not granting his Crim.R. 29 motion for
acquittal. We disagree.
"We review a denial of a defendant's Crim.R. 29
motion for acquittal by assessing the sufficiency of the
State's evidence." State v. Frashuer, 9th
Dist. Summit No. 24769, 2010-Ohio-634, ¶ 33. "A
sufficiency challenge of a criminal conviction presents a
question of law, which we review de novo." State v.
Spear, 9th Dist. Summit No. 28181, 2017-Ohio-169, ¶
6, citing State v. Thompkins,78 Ohio St.3d 380, 386
(1997). "Sufficiency concerns the burden of production
and tests whether the prosecution presented adequate evidence
for the case to go to the jury." State v.
Bressi, 9th Dist. Summit No. 27575, 2016-Ohio-5211,
¶ 25, citing Thompkins at 386. "The
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., quoting
State v. Jenks,61 Ohio St.3d 259 (1991), paragraph
two of the syllabus. ...