Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common
Pleas Case No. CR-16-611329-A
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Mark A. Stanton Cuyahoga County
Public Defender BY: Frank Cavallo Assistant Public Defender.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor Katherine Mullin Gregory Ochocki Assistant
Prosecuting Attorneys The Justice Center.
BEFORE: E.A. Gallagher, A.J., Stewart, J., and Laster Mays,
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
A. GALLAGHER, ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE.
Defendant-appellant Sharon Fips appeals her conviction for
assault in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. For the
following reasons, we modify and remand.
Facts and Procedural History
In 2016, Fips was charged with one count of assault with the
furthermore clause that the victim was a peace officer. The
case proceeded to a bench trial where the following facts
Fips and her son drove to an Ohio State Highway Patrol
station in Brook Park, Ohio in the early morning hours of
October 10, 2016. Trooper Patrick Reagan questioned Fips in
the station's lobby about driving to the station after he
detected an odor of alcohol emanating from her breath. An
altercation ensued in the lobby with Fips' son when
Reagan attempted to place Fips under arrest. Reagan pushed
Fips against a wall and asked for the assistance of a fellow
officer, Sergeant Christopher Brock, in handcuffing Fips.
Reagan and Brock testified that Fips was resisting their
efforts to restrain her. Reagan testified that he was
standing partially to the side of, but behind, Fips with her
shoulder in his chest when, "she lifted up her right
knee and she reached back and hit me in the crotch with her
right knee." Brock testified that he did not see
Fips' knee come up but did see Reagan react to contact
and heard Reagan say that Fips had "kneed" him.
Reagan did not seek medical attention and was not restricted
in his activities as a result of the incident. Fips admitted
that she had been drinking alcohol and that she was speaking
belligerently during her arrest but denied striking Reagan.
The trial court found Fips guilty of assault on a peace
officer and sentenced her to one year of community control
Law and Analysis
In her sole assignment of error, Fips argues that her
conviction for assault was against the manifest weight of the
A manifest weight challenge attacks the credibility of the
evidence presented and questions whether the state met its
burden of persuasion at trial. State v. Whitsett,
8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 101182, 2014-Ohio-4933, ¶ 26,
citing State v. Thompkins,78 Ohio St.3d 380, 387,
1997-Ohio-52, 678 N.E.2d 541; State v. Bowden, 8th
Dist. Cuyahoga No. 92266, 2009-Ohio-3598, ¶ 13. Because
it is a broader review, a reviewing court may determine that
a judgment of a ...