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State v. Lenard

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

May 24, 2018


          Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case Nos. CR-15-602274-A and CR-15-602350-A

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Timothy Young Ohio Public Defender BY: Stephen P. Hardwick Assistant Ohio Public Defender.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor By: Jonathan Block Assistant Prosecuting Attorney.

          BEFORE: S. Gallagher, P.J., Blackmon, J., and Celebrezze, J.


          SEAN C. GALLAGHER, P.J.

         {¶1} Richard Lenard appeals his convictions in Cuyahoga C.P. Nos. CR-15-602274-A and CR-15-602350-A. We affirm.

         {¶2} The victim and Lenard had a tumultuous and, at times, a violent relationship. In October 2016, the two fought over social media postings that led to physical altercation in which the victim was injured. After being punched, the victim ran into the kitchen of the residence where both were living and grabbed a knife to defend herself. Lenard disarmed the victim. He then dragged her into the living room where he forced her to strip and lie on the floor. Lenard then beat her with his belt. After the beating, Lenard took a knife and threatened to cut the victim's hair in the attempt to end the altercation (according to Lenard) or to terrorize the victim into further psychological submission (according to the state).

         {¶3} More than a month later, the couple fought again. This time the altercation was more violent, and the victim ended up in the hospital, although at trial they both claimed to have mutually fought with fists and heavy objects used as weapons. Lenard testified that the victim threw a jar of pennies and a dresser at him, so Lenard began punching the victim in the face. At one point during the altercation, the victim was bleeding enough that blood spattered on the wall and the carpet. Lenard put rubber gloves on before punching the victim further.

         {¶4} The fight ended with both allegedly falling down a flight of stairs, as an explanation for the victim's serious injuries. Lenard had sprained his wrist and ankle, and claimed to have scars on his forehead from the victim's conduct. The next day, the victim was walking on the street and a passerby called the police because of the victim's appearance. Her injuries from the second altercation were far more serious than the first. After being admitted to the hospital, the victim was diagnosed with a concussion, bleeding in her brain, and multiple bruises over her body.

         {¶5} Lenard was separately indicted for the two altercations, but the cases were consolidated for trial. At trial the victim minimized the extent of Lenard's conduct but corroborated portions of her statement made to the police following the events. Her original statements implicated Lenard as the aggressor and confirmed the belt-beating and hair-cutting incidents. In addition, the medical records included statements made by the victim as to how her injuries occurred. Those statements also painted Lenard as an abuser. Lenard claims to have been acting in self-defense at all relevant times.

         {¶6} The state introduced correspondence between the victim and Lenard, some of which was prohibited by a no-contact order, in which the victim professed her love and devotion to Lenard and her willingness to do anything for him. Lenard also told the victim to not identify him at trial or not show up.

         {¶7} When all was said and done, Lenard was convicted of felonious assault under R.C. 2903.11(A)(1) and kidnapping under R.C. 2905.01(A)(3) for the second altercation. The trial court imposed seven-year, concurrent sentences on both counts to be served consecutive to another unrelated case in which Lenard was sentenced to 16 months in prison. Lenard was also convicted of kidnapping under R.C. 2905.01(A)(3) and a separate kidnapping under R.C. 2905.01(B)(2) for the first altercation. The trial court imposed 6-year, concurrent terms on both counts to be served consecutive to the aforementioned cases. The resulting aggregate sentenced totaled 14 years, 4 months.

         {¶8} Lenard appealed, claiming that the trial court erred: (1) when it imposed court costs in the final entry of conviction without providing Lenard the opportunity to object at the sentencing hearing, in violation of State v. Joseph, 125 Ohio St.3d 76, 2010-Ohio-954, 926 N.E.2d 278; (2) by failing to merge the two kidnapping charges from the first altercation; and (3) in permitting the state to admit evidence from a detective not based on his personal experience or expert knowledge.

         {¶9} There is no error with respect to the failure to impose court costs at the sentencing based on Joseph. In State v. Beasley, Slip Opinion No. 2018-Ohio-493, ¶ 265, the Ohio Supreme Court held that "after Joseph was decided and before [the defendant] was sentenced, the General Assembly amended R.C. 2947.23 by adding subdivision (C), " which provides that "[t]he court retains jurisdiction to waive, suspend, or modify the payment of the costs of prosecution * * * at the time of sentencing or at any time thereafter" (Emphasis sic.) Beasley concluded that Joseph no longer controlled and the defendant could file a motion to waive the payment of costs at any time such that there is no reversible error in failing to impose costs at the sentencing hearing. Id. As it relates ...

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