Court of Appeals of Ohio, Third District, Auglaize
from Auglaize County Municipal Court Trial Court No. 2018 CRB
J. Lucente, Jr. for Appellant
Zink for Appellee
Defendant-appellant, Mark A. Swaney ("Swaney"),
appeals the November 2, 2018 judgment of the Auglaize County
Municipal Court. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
This case stems from an April 28, 2018 incident in which Mary
Music ("Music"), a tenant at Defiance Commons,
contacted the Wapakoneta Police Department to assist her in
entering her apartment after she lost her keys. (Doc. No. 7).
Swaney, the maintenance worker at the complex, got into an
altercation with one of the responding officers, culminating
in his arrest. (Id.).
On April 30, 2018, a complaint was filed in the Auglaize
County Municipal Court charging Swaney with a single count of
obstructing official business in violation of R.C.
2921.31(A), a second-degree misdemeanor. (Doc. No. 8). On May
2, 2018, Swaney appeared for arraignment and entered a plea
of not guilty. (Doc. No. 12).
A jury trial was held on September 24, 2018. (Doc. No. 53);
(Sept. 24, 2018 Tr. at 1). At the close of the State's
case, Swaney made a motion for acquittal under Crim.R. 29,
which the trial court denied. (Sept. 24, 2018 Tr. at
112-113). The jury found Swaney guilty of obstructing
official business in violation of R.C. 2921.31(A). (Doc. No.
53); (Sept. 24, 2018 Tr. at 162). On September 25, 2018, the
trial court filed its judgment entry of conviction. (Doc. No.
On November 2, 2018, the trial court sentenced Swaney to
three years of community control, a $500 fine, and 90 days in
jail with all 90 days suspended. (Doc. No. 55); (Nov. 2, 2018
Tr. at 20-23).
On November 21, 2018, Swaney filed a notice of appeal. (Doc.
No. 60). He raises three assignments of error. We will
address the first two assignments of error together.
of Error No. I
trial court erred in denying appellant's motion for
acquittal at the close of the State's case in chief,
where there was legally insufficient evidence to establish
each material element of the offense beyond a reasonable
of Error No. II
conviction on Obstruction of Official Business was against
the manifest weight of the evidence and is contrary to
In his first two assignments of error, Swaney argues that the
trial court erred by denying his Crim.R. 29(A) motion for
acquittal and that his obstructing-official-business
conviction is against the manifest weight of the evidence.
Crim.R. 29(A) provides:
(A) Motion for Judgment of Acquittal. The court on motion of
a defendant or on its own motion, after the evidence on
either side is closed, shall order the entry of a judgment of
acquittal of one or more offenses charged in the indictment,
information, or complaint, if the evidence is insufficient to
sustain a conviction of such offense or offenses. The court
may not reserve ruling on a motion for judgment of acquittal
made at the close of the state's case.
appellate court reviews a denial of a Crim.R. 29 motion for
judgment of acquittal using the same standard that is used to
review a sufficiency of the evidence claim." State
v. Lightner, 3d Dist. Hardin No. 6-08-11, 2009-Ohio-544,
¶ 11, citing State v. Carter, 72 Ohio St.3d
545, 553 (1995).
"An appellate court's function when reviewing the
sufficiency of the evidence to support a criminal conviction
is to examine the evidence admitted at trial to determine
whether such evidence, if believed, would convince the
average mind of the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable
doubt." State v. Jenks, 61 Ohio St.3d 259
(1991), paragraph two of the syllabus, superseded by
state constitutional amendment on other grounds, State v.
Smith, 80 Ohio St.3d 89 (1997). Accordingly, "[t]he
relevant inquiry is whether, after viewing the evidence in a
light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier
of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime
proven beyond a reasonable doubt." Id. "In
deciding if the evidence was sufficient, we neither resolve
evidentiary conflicts nor assess the credibility of
witnesses, as both are functions reserved for the trier of
fact." State v. Jones, 1st Dist. Hamilton Nos.
C-120570 and C-120571, 2013-Ohio-4775, ¶ 33, citing
State v. Williams, 197 Ohio App.3d 505,
2011-Ohio-6267, ¶ 25 (1st Dist.). See also State v.
Berry, 3d Dist. Defiance No. 4-12-03, 2013-Ohio-2380,
¶ 19 ("Sufficiency of the evidence is a test of
adequacy rather than credibility or weight of the
evidence."), citing State v. Thompkins, 78 Ohio
St.3d 380, 386 (1997).
On the other hand, in determining whether a conviction is
against the manifest weight of the evidence, a reviewing
court must examine the entire record, "'weigh[ ] the
evidence and all reasonable inferences, consider[ ] the
credibility of witnesses and determine[ ] whether in
resolving 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.'" Thompkins at 387, quoting
State v. Martin, 20 Ohio App.3d 172, 175 (1st
Dist.1983). A reviewing court must, however, allow the trier
of fact appropriate discretion on matters relating to the
weight of the evidence and the credibility of the witnesses.
State v. DeHass, 10 Ohio St.2d 230, 231 (1967). When
applying the manifest-weight standard "[o]nly in
exceptional cases, where the evidence 'weighs heavily
against the conviction,' should an appellate court
overturn the trial court's judgment." State v.
Haller, 3d Dist. Allen No. 1-11-34, 2012-Ohio-5233,
¶ 9, quoting State v. Hunter, 131 Ohio St.3d
67, 2011-Ohio-6524, ¶ 119.
Swaney was convicted of obstructing official business in
violation of R.C. 2921.31(A), which provides:
No person, without privilege to do so and with purpose to
prevent, obstruct, or delay the performance by a public
official of any authorized act within the public
official's official capacity, shall do any act that
hampers or impedes a public official in the performance of
the public official's lawful duties.
obtain a conviction for obstructing official business the
State must prove that (1) the defendant acted (2) without
privilege to do so and (3) with purpose to prevent, obstruct,
or delay the performance by a public official of any
authorized act within the public official's official
capacity and that (4) the defendant's act hampered or
impeded the public official (5) in the performance of the
public official's lawful duties. See State v.
Pierce, 3d Dist. Seneca No. 13-16-36, 2017-Ohio-4223,
¶ 11, quoting State v. Dice, 3d Dist. Marion
No. 9-04-41, 2005-Ohio-2505, ¶ 19, citing R.C.
2921.31(A). "A person acts purposely when it is the
person's specific intention to cause a certain result,
or, when the gist of the offense is a prohibition against
conduct of a certain nature, regardless of what the offender
intends to accomplish thereby, it is the offender's
specific intention to engage in conduct of that nature."
R.C. 2901.22(A). "'The purpose with which a person
does an act is determined from the manner in which it is
done, the means used, and all other facts and circumstances
in evidence.'" State v. Puterbaugh, 142
Ohio App.3d 185, 189 (4th Dist.2001), quoting State v.
Hardin, 16 Ohio App.3d 243, 245 (10th Dist.1984).
At trial, Music, a resident of Defiance Commons, testified
that on April 28, 2018, she called the Wapakoneta Police
Department for assistance getting into her apartment after
she lost her keys. (Sept. 24, 2018 Tr. at 61-62). Music
stated that prior to contacting the police, she asked Swaney,
the maintenance worker at Defiance Commons, to unlock her
door for her, but he refused. (Id. at 62). Music
stated that when the police officers arrived, they helped her
get into her apartment through an unlocked window.
(Id. at 63).
On cross-examination, she stated that the policy at Defiance
Commons is that the management will only unlock apartments
during their business hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays because