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City of Highland Heights v. C.C.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

June 13, 2019

CITY OF HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
C.C., Defendant-Appellant.

          Criminal Appeal from the Lyndhurst Municipal Court Case No. 18CRB00496

          Daniel W. Taylor, for appellee.

          Berkman, Gordon, Murray & DeVan, and William Livingston, for appellant.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          RAYMOND C. HEADEN, J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant C.C. ("C.C.") appeals his conviction for violating a protection order. For the reasons that follow, we affirm his conviction, vacate his 180-day suspended prison term, and remand.

         Procedural and Substantive History

         {¶ 2} C.C.'s wife, Y.H., filed a petition seeking a domestic violence civil protection order against C.C. in the Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court. On May 1, 2018, the court issued a protection order, listing Y.H. and each of the couple's three minor children as protected persons. The order prohibited C.C. from having any contact with any of the protected persons, including by way of text messages.

         {¶ 3} On May 22, 2018, a complaint was filed against C.C. in the Lyndhurst Municipal Court alleging that he violated a protection order, in violation of R.C. 2919.27. Y.H. filed the complaint upon receiving text messages sent to her from C.C. on May 21, 2018.

         {¶ 4} On June 13, 2018, C.C. was arraigned and pleaded not guilty.

         {¶ 5} A bench trial was held on August 15, 2018. The city called Y.H. and Detective David Schiaciano ("Detective Schiaciano") as witnesses. Y.H. testified with the assistance of an interpreter that she received text messages and reported them to the police on May 22, 2018. Screenshots of the text messages were admitted into evidence, and Y.H. read the text messages into the record. The substance of the messages referred multiple times to the protection order and its no-contact provision. Detective Schiaciano testified that the messages depicted communication from C.C. to Y.H., and that law enforcement verified that the messages came from a phone number associated with C.C. On cross-examination, Detective Schiaciano confirmed that he did not know for certain who was using the cell phone at the time the messages were sent. C.C. was found guilty. The trial court sentenced him to a suspended term of 180 days in jail and ordered him to pay court costs and a $250 fine.

         {¶ 6} C.C. appeals, presenting three assignments of error for our review.

         Law and Analysis

         Complaint

         {¶ 7} In his first assignment of error, C.C. argues that the charging instrument failed to put him on notice of the charge and state an offense and, therefore, his conviction is invalid. Specifically, he asserts that the complaint failed to provide any information as to what order was violated, ...


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