Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Warren
CRIMINAL APPEAL FROM FRANKLIN MUNICIPAL COURT No.
M. Runge, 1 Benjamin Franklin Way, Franklin, Ohio, for
Weisbrod Law Office, Alfred J. Weisbrod, for appellant
1} Appellant, Paul Miller, appeals from his
conviction for sexual imposition in the Franklin Municipal
Court. For the reasons detailed below, we affirm.
2} On May 26, 2018, Miller went to karaoke night at
JD Legends, a bowling, concert, and music venue in Franklin.
The dispute centers on sexual contact that Miller had with
the victim, a 16-year-old girl, which Miller denies. The
victim and three of her cousins (T.P., K.P., and H.P.)
testified that Miller appeared intoxicated and paid extra
attention to her throughout the evening, which led to several
uncomfortable interactions. Miller admitted to consuming
alcohol, approximately four 23-ounce beers, but denied that
he was intoxicated to the point of drunkenness.
3} The victim testified that Miller was "acting
a little weird." The victim stated that Miller called
her a "fine girl" on multiple occasions. K.P.
similarly testified that Miller praised the victim and came
up to her "quite a few times talking to her and saying
that she was fine * * * implying that she was cute."
H.P. also observed Miller's behavior, stating that he
paid a lot of attention to the victim. Miller stated that he
was just quoting song lyrics and acknowledged that he may
have "spooked" the victim but was merely trying to
congratulate and encourage her karaoke. Miller, who describes
karaoke as his life's passion, testified that he always
congratulates singers to encourage them to sing and enjoy
4} The victim described the sexual contact as
occurring very suddenly and out of the blue. According to
her, while she was in the karaoke room, Miller suddenly
touched her vagina and then grabbed K.P.'s, buttocks.
After the contact, the victim stated that she "went
straight into shock," didn't know what to do, and
was scared. K.P. also testified that she observed Miller grab
the victim's vagina and then walk by and place his hand
on her own "lower back butt area." Miller denied
that he touched the victim's vagina or K.P.'s
buttocks, however he said that he may have patted their
backs. Miller also surmised that the victim and her family
fabricated the sexual contact to get him ejected from the bar
as a ruse to get more opportunities to sing karaoke.
5} Following the incident, the victim and K.P.
exited the room. In the other room, the victim and K.P.
discussed what had just occurred and decided to inform
security. Miller was escorted from the premises and arrested
by law enforcement.
6} On May 29, 2018, Miller was named in a criminal
complaint for sexual imposition in violation of R.C.
2907.06(A)(1), a third-degree misdemeanor. The matter was
tried before the bench and the trial court found Miller
guilty of the charged offense. Miller now appeals, raising
two assignments of error for review.
7} Assignment of Error No. 1:
8} THERE IS INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE PRESENTED AT THE
TRIAL COURT TO FIND APPELLANT GUILTY OF SEXUAL IMPOSITION
BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT.
9} In his first assignment of error, Miller argues
that his conviction is not supported by sufficient evidence.
Miller's argument is without merit.
10} Whether the evidence presented is legally
sufficient to sustain a verdict is a question of law.
State v. Chapman, 12th Dist. Butler No.
CA2018-03-046, 2018-Ohio-4560, ¶ 13. When reviewing the
sufficiency of the evidence underlying a criminal conviction,
an appellate court examines the evidence to determine whether
such evidence, if believed, would convince the average mind
of the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
State v. Intihar, 12th Dist. Warren CA2015-05-046,
2015-Ohio-5507, ¶ 9. 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." State v. Jenks, 61
Ohio St.3d 259 (1991), paragraph two of the syllabus. In
other words, "the test for sufficiency requires a
determination as to whether the state has met its burden of
production at trial." State v. Boles, 12th
Dist. Brown No. CA2012-06-012, 2013-Ohio-5202, ¶ 34.
When evaluating the sufficiency of the ...