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State v. Schleiger

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Preble

June 18, 2018

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
CURTIS D. SCHLEIGER, Defendant-Appellant.

          CRIMINAL APPEAL FROM PREBLE COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS Case No. 09CR010286

          Martin P. Votel, Preble County Prosecuting Attorney, Gractia S. Manning, Preble County, for plaintiff-appellee

          Office of the Ohio Public Defender, Stephen P. Hardwick, for defendant-appellant

          OPINION

          S. POWELL, P.J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Curtis D. Schleiger, appeals from his conviction following a jury trial in the Preble County Court of Common Pleas for single counts of felonious assault and carrying a concealed weapon. For the reasons outlined below, we affirm.

         {¶ 2} On May 5, 2009, the Preble County Grand Jury returned a four-count indictment charging Schleiger with single counts of felonious assault, tampering with evidence, aggravated assault, and carrying a concealed weapon. Although generally a first-degree misdemeanor, the carrying a concealed weapon charge was brought as a fourth-degree felony due to Schleiger having previously been convicted in the Eaton Municipal Court of three offenses of violence, one for domestic violence and two for menacing. There is no dispute that Schleiger had previously been so convicted.

         {¶ 3} The charges subject of this appeal arose after Schleiger engaged in a fight with Matt Dillman outside 230 Club on the evening of April 22, 2009. During this fight, Schleiger stabbed Dillman multiple times causing Dillman to suffer deep wounds to his abdomen and both armpits. After stabbing Dillman, Schleiger fled the scene, but was located shortly thereafter hiding on a second story landing of a nearby apartment building. The knife Schleiger used to stab Dillman was located stuffed behind an electoral conduit close to where Schleiger had been hiding. Appearing at his arraignment, Schleiger entered a plea of not guilty to all charges. The state later dismissed the aggravated assault charge and the matter proceeded to a jury trial.

         {¶ 4} At trial, Schleiger notified the trial court that he objected to the state introducing evidence as to all three of his prior convictions for offenses of violence in order to raise the carrying a concealed weapon charge from a first-degree misdemeanor to a fourth-degree felony. In support, Schleiger argued that the relevant portion of the carrying concealed weapon statute, R.C. 2923.12(F)(1), "says any prior offense of violence. It doesn't say two, it doesn't say three, it doesn't say twelve." Therefore, according to Schleiger, "offering more than one is overly prejudicial and perhaps taints the jury."

         {¶ 5} Countering Schleiger's argument, the state argued that "just as the state would not choose just one eyewitness in a case, even though those eyewitnesses may be prejudicial to the Defendant, the state is not going to choose just one prior conviction." Continuing, the state then argued:

Just as in a domestic violence case, if a domestic violence, let's say an F3, let's say the offender doesn't have one or more or two or more, but has three or more prior convictions, the state would introduce them all. And the state is simply doing the same thing with this case.

         Concluding, the state noted that it did not know which of Schleiger's prior convictions, if any, he might attack collaterally, "so the state's choosing to admit them all."

         {¶ 6} Overruling Schleiger's objection, the trial court stated, in pertinent part, the following:

I don't think the state has to be tied down to one offense or the other because to do so would limit them in terms of their ability to present others if they later determined that they needed to do that because, as [the state] suggests, the offense that they wish to use was collaterally attacked and found to be faulty.
The defense would then later say, you didn't tell me you were going to use one of the other offenses if ...

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