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State v. Hendrix

Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton

August 16, 2019

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
RODERIC O. HENDRIX, Defendant-Appellant.

          Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Trial No. B-1801750

         Judgment Appealed From Is: Affirmed

          Joseph T. Deters, Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney, and Adam Tieger, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

          Derek W. Gustafson, for Defendant-Appellant.

          OPINION

          MYERS, JUDGE.

         {¶1} Roderic O. Hendrix appeals his conviction, following a bench trial, for carrying a concealed weapon in violation of R.C. 2923.12(A)(2). Hendrix contends that the trial court erred by finding him guilty of the offense because the state failed to prove, as an element of the offense under R.C. 2923.12(C)(1)(c), that he possessed the weapon for an unlawful purpose. However, because we conclude that R.C. 2923.12(C)(1)(c) creates an affirmative defense, which Hendrix failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence, we affirm his conviction.

         Background

         {¶2} On March 24, 2018, just after midnight, a police officer responded to a two-vehicle accident. Hendrix, the operator of one of the vehicles, told the officer that he had been driving home from a bar. He said that he had been at the bar since 5:00 p.m., and that he had had two shots of Hennessy while at the bar. The officer noticed an odor of an alcoholic beverage on Hendrix's person, and that Hendrix had bloodshot, watery eyes, and slightly slurred speech. Hendrix told a second officer that he had had two Budweisers at the bar.

         {¶3} Hendrix was arrested after he failed several field-sobriety tests. He submitted to a chemical breath test, which revealed a breath-alcohol content in excess of the legal limit. He was charged with several traffic-related offenses, including operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and driving with a breath-alcohol concentration over 0.17 percent.

         {¶4} The police conducted an inventory search of Hendrix's car and found an unloaded Kel Tec 9 mm semi-automatic firearm in the glove compartment and a full magazine for the firearm in the center console next to the driver's seat. Subsequent test-firing revealed that the firearm was operable. Hendrix was charged with carrying a concealed weapon in violation of R.C. 2923.12(A)(2), which provides, "No person shall knowingly carry or have, concealed on the person's person or concealed ready at hand * * * [a] handgun other than a dangerous ordnance."

         {¶5} Hendrix filed a motion to dismiss the weapon charge, citing R.C. 2923.12(C)(1)(c), which provides:

(C)(1) This section [carrying a concealed weapon] does not apply to any of the following:
(c) A person's transportation or storage of a firearm, other than a firearm described in divisions (G) to (M) of section 2923.11 of the Revised Code, in a motor vehicle for any lawful purpose if the firearm is not on the actor's person.

         {¶6} In his motion, Hendrix asserted that, pursuant to the exception in R.C. 2923.12(C)(1)(c), he could not be prosecuted under R.C. 2923.12 because the weapon in his car was not on his person. The state countered that R.C. 2923.12(C)(1)(c) was an affirmative defense that ...


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