Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Butler
CRIMINAL APPEAL FROM HAMILTON MUNICIPAL COURT Case No.
D. Schuett, Hamilton City Prosecutor, for plaintiff-appellee
Christopher P. Frederick, for defendant-appellant
1} Defendant-appellant, David E. Purvis, appeals
from his conviction in the Hamilton Municipal Court for
domestic violence. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm
2} Following an incident that occurred between
appellant and his 14-year-old daughter, E.P., at E.P.'s
friend's home in New Miami, Ohio on May 13, 2017,
appellant was arrested and charged with one count of domestic
violence in violation of R.C. 2919.25(A), a misdemeanor of
the first degree. Appellant pled not guilty to the charge and
the matter proceeded to a bench trial before a magistrate.
3} At trial, the state presented testimony from
E.P., New Miami Police Officer Joseph Snyder, and Matthias
Jones, an eyewitness to the incident. E.P. testified she did
not have permission to be at her friend's house on May
13, 2017, and her parents had demanded that she leave. E.P.
refused and appellant and his wife went to E.P.'s
friend's house to escort E.P. home.
4} E.P. testified that once appellant arrived, he
grabbed her by the back of the neck "really hard"
and started to walk her towards the door. E.P. did not like
being forced out of the house and shrugged her shoulders to
try to get appellant to release her. Appellant, still holding
E.P. by the neck, responded to E.P.'s efforts by hitting
her in the mouth. E.P. could not recall which hand appellant
used to hit her in the mouth but stated the hit "felt
more [like] a punch than a slap." E.P. did not suffer
any bruising or cuts to her mouth, but she claimed her face
was swollen the following morning. She did not, however, take
any photographs of her swollen face.
5} After appellant struck E.P. in the mouth, he
continued to force E.P. out of her friend's home. Once
E.P. was outside, appellant attempted to push her into his
vehicle. E.P. resisted and appellant and his wife, E.P.'s
mother, held E.P. against the side of the car so that she
could not get away. While appellant attempted to force E.P.
into his vehicle, E.P.'s friend's stepfather, Jones,
called 9-1-1 to report the incident. After officers arrived
on the scene, E.P. spoke with an officer about appellant
hitting her in the mouth.
6} Jones testified he was present when appellant
tried to force E.P. out of his home. Jones observed appellant
grab E.P. and try to shove her out the door. He also saw
appellant "haul off and punch" E.P. with his
closed, right fist. Jones testified that "no child
should be hit like that," and he called the police to
report appellant's actions.
7} Officer Snyder responded to Jones' home
around 11:00 p.m. after receiving notice of the domestic
dispute. When he arrived on scene, he observed appellant,
E.P., and E.P.'s mother in Jones' driveway near a
vehicle. Appellant had his arms around E.P. and appeared to
be restraining her. Snyder instructed appellant to release
E.P. and then spoke to appellant, E.P., and Jones.
8} During Snyder's conversation with appellant,
appellant stated that E.P. struck him when he was trying to
get her to leave Jones' house. Appellant also told Snyder
that he "smacked [E.P.] with an open hand" and that
he did so because "he was allowed to discipline his * *
* daughter." Snyder then spoke with a hysterical E.P.
and obtained her version of events.
9} Snyder testified that as someone who deals with
domestic violence calls on a "regular basis," he is
familiar with what a person looks like after a person has
been punched in the face, and he did not see any marks on
E.P. that were consistent with being punched in the face. As
Snyder did not observe any redness or visible injuries to
E.P.'s face, no photographs were taken at the scene.
Nonetheless, based on Jones' and E. P.'s statements,
Snyder arrested appellant for domestic violence.
10} Following Snyder's testimony, defense
counsel moved for acquittal pursuant to Crim.R. 29. His
motion was denied, and appellant presented testimony from
E.P.'s mother and grandmother on behalf of his defense.
Mother testified that when she and appellant arrived at
Jones' residence to take E.P. home, E.P. used foul
language and refused to leave. When appellant put his hand
behind E.P.'s head to usher her out the house, E.P.
"started fighting him and she cussed and then she threw
her hand up and hit him." Mother then saw appellant
"smack" E.P. with an open hand. Mother opined that
the hit "wasn't anything major" and was an
appropriate form of discipline. Mother believed the hit
"was warranted" given ...