FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CR 2015-08-2502-B
W. ARMSTRONG, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.
BEVAN WALSH, Prosecuting Attorney, and HEAVEN DIMARTINO,
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
A. TEODOSIO, JUDGE.
Appellant, Jentle S. Love, appeals from her convictions in
the Summit County Court of Common Pleas. This Court affirms
in part and reverses and remands in part.
A confidential informant offered information to the police
that a Highland Hills police officer ("A.B ") was
selling steroids and OxyContin pills. The Summit County Drug
Unit arranged for the informant to purchase steroids from
A.B. on several occasions within approximately one month. Ms.
Love is A.B.'s live-in girlfriend and was present with
him at all three controlled buys: one in a Target parking
lot, one in a Golden Corral parking lot, and one in the
driveway of the informant's apartment. The police later
executed a search warrant on the couple's home while Ms.
Love was present and recovered various types of steroids,
syringes, firearms, OxyContin, Vicodin, Opana, Adderall,
Xanax, U.S. currency, and other items related to drug
A.B. and Ms. Love were both indicted on a litany of
drug-related offenses. Following a jury trial, Ms. Love was
found guilty of trafficking in drugs, aggravated trafficking
in drugs, and possessing drug abuse instruments. She was
found not guilty on the remaining counts in the indictment.
The trial court suspended a twelve-month prison term and
placed Ms. Love on two years of community control.
Ms. Love appealed from her convictions, but this Court, by
judgment entry, vacated the sentencing entry and remanded the
matter back to the trial court for resentencing. State v.
Love, 9th Dist. Summit No. 28375 (June 27, 2017). Upon
remand, the trial court issued a new sentencing entry.
Ms. Love now appeals from her convictions and raises four
assignments of error for this Court's review. These
proceedings were briefly stayed and the matter was remanded
back to the trial court once again to issue a nunc pro tunc
entry correcting a clerical error in its new sentencing
entry. Upon remand, the trial court issued a corrected
sentencing entry, which has been made part of the record on
For ease of analysis, we will consolidate two of Ms.
Love's assignments of error.
OF ERROR ONE
THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED AT TRIAL WAS INSUFFICIENT TO SUSTAIN A
FINDING OF GUILT FOR TRAFFICKING IN DRUGS, AGGRAVATED
TRAFFICKING IN DRUGS AND POSSESSION OF DRUG ABUSE
OF ERROR THREE
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY NOT GRANTING DEFENSE COUNSEL'S
CRIMINAL RULE 29 MOTION.
In her first and third assignments of error, Ms. Love argues
that the State presented insufficient evidence to support her
convictions and the trial court erred in denying her Crim.R.
29 motion for acquittal. She specifically argues that the
State failed to prove the knowingly mens rea for the offenses
and failed to prove venue for the possessing drug abuse
instruments offense. We disagree with the former, but agree
with the latter.
"We review a denial of a defendant's Crim.R. 29
motion for acquittal by assessing the sufficiency of the
State's evidence." State v. Frashuer, 9th
Dist. Summit No. 24769, 2010-Ohio-634, ¶ 33. Whether a
conviction is supported by sufficient evidence is a question
of law, which this Court reviews de novo. State v.
Thompkins, 78 Ohio St.3d 380, 386 (1997).
"Sufficiency concerns the burden of production and tests
whether the prosecution presented adequate evidence for the
case to go to the jury." State v. Bressi, 9th
Dist. Summit No. 27575, 2016-Ohio-5211, ¶ 25, citing
Thompkins at 386. "The 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., quoting State v.
Jenks, 61 Ohio St.3d 259 (1991), paragraph two of the
syllabus. However, "we do not resolve evidentiary
conflicts or assess the credibility of witnesses, because
these functions belong to the trier of fact." State
v. Hall, 9th Dist. Summit No. 27827, 2017-Ohio-73,
Ms. Love was convicted of trafficking in drugs under R.C.
2925.03(A), which states: "No person shall knowingly * *
* [s]ell or offer to sell [anabolic steroids, or p]repare for
shipment, ship, transport, deliver, prepare for distribution,
or distribute [anabolic steroids], when the offender knows or
has reasonable cause to believe that the [anabolic steroids
are] intended for sale or resale by the offender or another
person." Because the amount of anabolic steroids
involved equaled or exceeded the bulk amount but was less
than five times the bulk amount, the offense was a felony of
the fourth degree. See R.C. 2925.03(C)(2)(c). She
was also convicted of aggravated trafficking in drugs under
R.C. 2925.03(A), which states: "No person shall
knowingly * * * [s]ell or offer to sell [oxycodone, or
p]repare for shipment, ship, transport, deliver, prepare for
distribution, or distribute [oxycodone], when the offender
knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the [oxycodone]
is intended for sale or resale by the offender or another
person." Because oxycodone is a Schedule II drug, the
offense was a felony of the fourth degree. See R.C.
2925.03(C)(1)(a); R.C. 3719.41, Schedule II (A)(1)(n).
Finally, Ms. Love was convicted of possessing drug abuse
instruments under R.C. 2925.12(A), which states:
No person shall knowingly make, obtain, possess, or use any
instrument, article, or thing the customary and primary
purpose of which is for the administration or use of a
dangerous drug, other than marihuana, when the instrument
involved is a hypodermic or syringe, whether or not of crude
or extemporized manufacture or assembly, and the instrument,
article, or thing involved has been used by the offender to
unlawfully administer or use a dangerous drug, other than
marihuana, or to prepare a dangerous drug, other than
marihuana, for unlawful administration or use.
Ms. Love first argues that the State failed to present
sufficient evidence as to the knowingly mens rea for these
offenses. "A person acts knowingly, regardless of
purpose, when the person is aware that the person's
conduct will probably cause a certain result or will probably
be of a certain nature. A person has knowledge of
circumstances when the person is aware that such
circumstances probably exist." R.C. 2901.22(B).
Specifically, Ms. Love claims that she was only present for
the controlled buys by coincidence, as she was out shopping
with A.B. during one and out to dinner with him for another.
She also directs us to the informant's testimony that he
never called Ms. Love or knew she would be present for the
transactions and ...