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State v. Fridley

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Wayne

August 26, 2019

STATE OF OHIO Appellee
v.
BRYAN FRIDLEY Appellant

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE WAYNE COUNTY MUNICIPAL COURT COUNTY OF WAYNE, OHIO CASE No. 2017 CRB 000355

          CHRISTINA I. REIHELD, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          DANIEL R. LUTZ, Prosecuting Attorney, and ANDREA D. UHLER, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          TEODOSIO, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         {¶1} Defendant-Appellant, Bryan Fridley, appeals from the judgment of the Wayne County Municipal Court. This Court affirms.

         I.

         {¶2} Mr. Fridley and V.P. had been friends for several years when they met one night at his mother's house. V.P. had been increasingly reluctant to spend time with Mr. Fridley because he had begun to overreact at the end of their evenings. Each time V.P. would indicate that she needed to leave, Mr. Fridley would pressure her to stay, would argue with her, and would accuse her of not caring for him. Though he had promised not to overreact that evening, Mr. Fridley once again became upset when V.P. announced that it was time for her to leave. The two began to argue as they were standing outside, and V.P. decided to call her father in the hopes that the call would deter Mr. Fridley. As soon as she dialed her father's number, however, Mr. Fridley snatched her cell phone and climbed into his mother's car. V.P. then followed him inside the car to retrieve her phone.

         {¶3} Mr. Fridley ultimately drove off with V.P. in the car and refused to stop or take her back to her car. As he began running stop signs and driving erratically, V.P. screamed for help and begged Mr. Fridley to let her go. Unbeknownst to either of them at the time, V.P.'s call to her father had connected and he listened helplessly as V.P. repeatedly screamed for help. The incident finally came to an end when Mr. Fridley lost control of the car and crashed into a ditch. As a result of the crash, both Mr. Fridley and V.P. sustained serious injuries.

         {¶4} Mr. Fridley was ultimately charged with aggravated menacing, assault, unlawful restraint, and criminal mischief. A jury found him not guilty of aggravated menacing and assault, but guilty of the lesser-included offense of menacing, unlawful restraint, and criminal mischief. The trial court sentenced him to jail time, a fine, and one year of community control. Upon motion, the court stayed the execution of his sentence for purposes of his appeal.

         {¶5} Mr. Fridley now appeals from his convictions and raises three assignments of error for our review.

         II.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR ONE

APPELLANT'S CONVICTIONS FOR MENACING, CRIMINAL MISCHIEF, AND UNLAWFUL RESTRAINT ARE AGAINST THE MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE BECAUSE EVIDENCE SUPPORTED THAT THE VICTIM HAD FALSE MEMORIES SURROUNDING THE EVENTS, AND APPELLANT OFFERED EVIDENCE THAT HE DID NOT TAKE THE VICTIM'S TELEPHONE, DID NOT PREVENT HER FROM GETTING OUT OF THE VEHICLE, AND DID NOT MAKE ANY THREAT OF HARM TO HER.

         {¶6} In his first assignment of error, Mr. Fridley argues that his convictions are against the manifest weight of the evidence. We do not agree.

         {¶7} This Court has stated:

In determining whether a criminal conviction is against the manifest weight of the evidence, an appellate court must review 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.

State v. Otten, 33 Ohio App.3d 339, 340 (9th Dist.1986). "[W]hen reversing a conviction on the basis that it was against the manifest weight of the evidence, an appellate court sits as a 'thirteenth juror,' and disagrees with the factfinder's resolution of the conflicting testimony." State v. Tucker, 9th Dist. Medina No. 06CA0035-M, 2006-Ohio-6914, ¶ 5. This discretionary power "should be exercised only in the exceptional case in which the evidence weighs heavily against the conviction." State v. Thompkins, 78 Ohio St.3d ...


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