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State v. Ham

Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton

August 28, 2019

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
CLARENCE HAM, Defendant-Appellant.

          Criminal Appeal From: Hamilton County Municipal Court, TRIAL NO. 18CBR-6614

         Judgment Appealed From Is: Affirmed

          Paula Boggs Muething, City Solicitor, Natalia Harris, City Prosecutor, and Jon Vogt, Assistant City Prosecutor, for Plaintiff-Appellee,

          Raymond T. Faller, Hamilton County Public Defender, and David H. Hoffmann, Assistant Public Defender, for Defendant-Appellant.

          OPINION

          ZAYAS, PRESIDING JUDGE

         {¶1} Clarence Ham appeals the judgment of the Hamilton County Municipal Court convicting him of telecommunications harassment. In his sole assignment of error, he contends that the state failed to present sufficient evidence to support his conviction, and that the conviction was against the manifest weight of the evidence. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         Factual Background

         {¶2} Clarence Ham was charged with one count of telecommunications harassment in violation of R.C. 2917.21(B)(1), a misdemeanor of the first degree. The complaint alleged that Ham had sent numerous messages to Mirana Eason, threatening her life through the use of a telecommunications device.

         {¶3} Ham pled not guilty and proceeded to a bench trial. Eason was the sole witness for the state. She testified that she and Ham had dated briefly in 2016. On March 5 or 6, 2018, she had had a video chat through Facebook with Ham. He then sent several messages through Facebook Messenger. His first message said, "You a dead bitch, you know that? I rode past your house the other day. Now I got a reason to stay." Eason testified that that message had terrified her. He sent another message, "See me when you see me. This time I'm going to be strapped." She interpreted that to mean that he would have a gun the next time she saw him. When he sent a message that said, "LOL your days are numbered," she called the police because she was scared for her life. Screenshots of all the messages were admitted into evidence.

         {¶4} On cross-examination, Eason testified that in order to read the message, she had had to accept Ham's Facebook friend request. She also testified that her friend Shalom Jones had also participated in the messenger conversation. He sent Ham several messages asking Ham if he wanted to fight.

         {¶5} On redirect, Eason testified that she had previously blocked Ham, and he had made fake profiles and began harassing her children. She stated that the harassment had been going on for a long time, and she had just wanted him to leave her alone.

         {¶6} After reviewing the exhibits, the trial court found that it was clear that Ham's opening conversation had begun with a threat. The trial court found him guilty and sentenced him to 180 days in jail.

         Sufficiency and Manifest Weight

         {¶7} In his sole assignment of error, Ham argues that the guilty finding was not supported by sufficient evidence and was ...


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