Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Fairfield
Criminal Appeal from the Municipal Court, Case Nos. CRB
1602859, CRB 1602496, and CRB 1602497
Plaintiff-Appellee DANIEL E. COGLEY LANCASTER CITY PROSECUTOR
Defendant-Appellant SCOTT P. WOOD CONRAD/WOOD
JOHN W. WISE, P. J. HON. W. SCOTT GWIN, J. HON. PATRICIA A.
Appellant Nawal Pandey appeals his conviction and sentence
entered in the Fairfield County Municipal Court on seven
first-degree misdemeanors for building and maintenance code
violations, following a bench trial.
Appellee is State of Ohio.
OF THE FACTS AND CASE
On July 27, 2016, Code Enforcement Officer Sean Fowler
inspected two properties located at 805 E. Main Street and
1940 E. Main Street within the City of Lancaster. (T. at 5).
At the 805 E. Main Street location, Mr. Fowler observed grass
higher than 10 inches, exterior sanitation issues, hazardous
electrical systems, roofs and drainage violations, and
windows violations. At the 1940 E. Main Street location, Mr.
Fowler observed grass higher than 10 inches. (T. at 24-28).
Following the inspections, Mr. Fowler sent Appellant Nawal
Pandey notices of all the violations by both certified mail
and e-mail. (T. at 22-24).
On August 3, 2016, Mr. Fowler met with Appellant Pandey, who
acknowledged receiving the notices of violations. Appellant
made assurances that someone would be fixing the violations
on the property within a few days.
On August 19, 2016, the properties remained unchanged. (T. at
41). Mr. Fowler photographed the violations on each property
and submitted them to the City Prosecutor's office to be
reviewed for criminal charges.
As a result, Appellant Pandey was charged with numerous
violations of the International Property Maintenance Code
(hereinafter "IPMC"), which the City of Lancaster
adopted by reference in Lancaster Codified Ordinance
§1303.01, under three different case numbers:
CRB1602859, RB1602496, CRB 1602497.
All three cases were consolidated for trial purposes, and
after several continuances, the cases proceeded to trial on
June 22, 2017.
At trial during its case-in-chief, the State established that
the two properties at issue were owned by U.S. Enterprises
Two, LLC. (T. at 17). The State also established that
Appellant was the statutory agent for the LLC. (T. at 18).
Evidence was also presented that Appellant, as statutory
agent, had been notified of the code violations, met with
city officials, and advised that the violations would be
taken care of by someone. When the violations were not
remedied, Appellant was personally charged with criminal
At the conclusion of the State's case, Appellant moved
for an acquittal, pursuant to Criminal Rule 29, arguing the
State did not prove Appellant's relationship to the LLC,
other than statutory agent, and did not prove Appellant had
primary responsibility to discharge the duties imposed by law
on the ...