FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE LORAIN MUNICIPAL COURT COUNTY OF
LORAIN, OHIO CASE No. 2016CRB01260
E. FERGUSON, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.
RADEFF and JEFFREY SZABO, Prosecuting Attorneys, for
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
Appellant, Anita Rubenstein, appeals the judgment of the
Lorain Municipal Court. This Court reverses and remands.
This matter arises out of an incident that occurred at Lorain
County Health and Dentistry on April 19, 2016. A customer
service representative at the health center called 911 that
day and reported that a disgruntled patient had slammed the
glass window at the reception desk, causing the glass to
shatter. The customer service representative identified
Rubenstein as the individual who had shattered the glass.
Rubenstein was charged with one count of criminal damaging or
endangering in violation of R.C. 2909.06(A)(1), a misdemeanor
of the second degree. A warrant on the complaint was executed
more than a year later. Rubenstein entered a plea of not
guilty to the charge. After receiving appointed counsel,
Rubenstein successfully moved for new appointed counsel. When
that attorney subsequently withdrew, a third attorney was
appointed to represent Rubenstein. Rubenstein filed a written
motion to change her plea to not guilty by reason of insanity
but that motion was ultimately withdrawn. On February 28,
2018, Rubenstein filed a written jury demand. Rubenstein
ultimately elected to represent herself at trial with
appointed counsel serving as standby counsel. The matter
proceeded to a bench trial where Rubenstein was found guilty
of the sole charge against her. The trial court ordered her
to pay a $250 fine and court costs.
On appeal, Rubenstein raises one assignment of error.
THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED REVERSIBLE AND PLAIN ERROR WHEN IT
HELD A BENCH TRIAL AFTER DEFENDANT HAD MADE A JURY DEMAND.
In her assignment of error, Rubenstein contends that the
trial court committed reversible error when it conducted a
bench trial after she filed a written demand for a jury
trial. This Court agrees.
In support of her position that the trial court committed
reversible error when it conducted a bench trial in this
matter, Rubenstein emphasizes that she invoked her right to a
jury trial and, further, that she then never filed a
subsequent written waiver of her right to a jury trial under
R.C. 2945.05. In response, the City contends that there was
no harm in this case because the City and the trial judge
agreed prior to the ...