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State v. Martino

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Butler

July 23, 2018

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
CRYSTAL MARTINO, Defendant-Appellant.

          CRIMINAL APPEAL FROM HAMILTON MUNICIPAL COURT Case No. 17CRB02846-A

          Thomas A. Dierling, Hamilton City Prosecutor, for plaintiff-appellee

          Christopher Paul Frederick, for defendant-appellant

          OPINION

          S. POWELL, P.J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Crystal Martino, appeals from her conviction in the Hamilton Municipal Court for two counts of domestic violence following a bench trial. For the reasons outlined below, we affirm.

         Facts and Procedural History

         {¶ 2} This appeal involves Martino's conviction for two counts of domestic violence in violation of R.C. 2919.25(A), both first-degree misdemeanors. Pursuant to that statute, "[n]o person shall knowingly cause or attempt to cause physical harm to a family or household member." There is no dispute the alleged victims, L.C. and S.G., were Martino's family or household members as that phrase is defined by R.C. 2919.25(F). There is also no dispute that, if the allegations made by L.C. and S.G. proved true, Martino caused L.C. and S.G. to suffer physical harm.

         {¶ 3} The charges arose as a part of two separate incidents occurring on June 24 and July 8, 2017, respectively. As it relates to the June 24, 2017 incident, it was alleged Martino struck L.C. in the face with her keys while at a birthday party for Martino's granddaughter, which caused L.C. to suffer a cut above her right eye that required stitches. As it relates to the July 8, 2017 incident, it was alleged Martino, while confronting S.G. about a missing cell phone, pulled S.G. from her bed and struck S.G. in the head and chest. Following a bench trial, Martino was found guilty of both charges. In so holding, the trial court specifically stated that it found both L.C. and S.G.'s testimony credible, whereas the testimony from Martino and Martino's mother, Lana Terry, was not.

         {¶ 4} Martino now appeals from her conviction, raising the following single assignment of error for review.

         {¶ 5} MS. MARTINO'S CONVICTIONS WERE AGAINST THE MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE.

         {¶ 6} In her single assignment of error, Martino argues her conviction was against the manifest weight of the evidence. We disagree.

         Standard of Review

         {¶ 7} In reviewing a manifest weight of the evidence challenge, this court examines the "inclination of the greater amount of credible evidence, offered at a trial, to support one side of the issue rather than the other." State v. Barnett, 12th Dist. Butler No. CA2011-09- 177, 2012-Ohio-2372, ¶ 14. In conducting such a review, this court must look at the entire record, weigh the evidence and all reasonable inferences, consider the credibility of the witnesses, and determine whether in resolving the conflicts in the evidence, the trier of fact clearly lost its way and created such a manifest miscarriage of justice that the conviction must be reversed and a new trial ordered. State v. Morgan, 12th Dist. Butler Nos. CA2013-08-146 and CA2013-08-147, 2014-Ohio-2472, ¶ 34. "While appellate review includes the responsibility to consider the credibility of witnesses and weight given to the evidence, 'these issues are primarily matters for the trier of fact to decide.'" State v. Barnes, 12th Dist. Brown No. CA2010-06-009, 2011-Ohio-5226, ¶ 81, quoting State v. Walker, 12th Dist. Butler No. CA2006-04-085, 2007-Ohio-911, ¶ 26. An appellate court, therefore, will overturn a conviction due to the manifest weight of the evidence only in extraordinary circumstances when the evidence presented at trial weighs heavily in favor of acquittal. State v. Blair, 12th Dist. Butler No. CA2014-01-023, 2015-Ohio-818, ¶ 43.

         June 24, 2017 ...


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