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State v. Sharier

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Wayne

September 3, 2019

STATE OF OHIO Appellee
v.
STVEN B. SHARIER Appellant

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF WAYNE, OHIO CASE No. 2017 CRC-I 000042

          DAVID V. GEDROCK, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

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

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          LYNNE S. CALLAHAN, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         {¶1} Appellant, Steven Sharier, appeals his conviction by the Wayne County Court of Common Pleas. This Court affirms.

         I.

         {¶2} On August 29, 2016, M.W. found an undated note in her teenage stepdaughter's bedroom that seemed to indicate that she had a romantic interest in a man named Steve. M.W. learned that "Steve" probably referred to an adult friend of her stepdaughter's mother. She then confronted her stepdaughter, K.W., about the contents of the note. K.W. denied that she had been sexually involved with the man to whom the note referred. A few days later, however, K.W. left a note for her stepmother in which she apologized for lying and admitted that she had gone to the home of a man named Steve during school hours and stated that "he made [her] have sex with him."

         {¶3} M.W. immediately pulled K.W. from school and drove her to the Wayne County Sheriffs Office. K.W. gave a statement to Lieutenant Ryan Koster, who used computer records to identify Mr. Sharier as the suspect. Lieutenant Koster also referred K.W. to the Wayne County Child Advocacy Center for a forensic interview, which was conducted on September 13, 2016. In the next month, K.W. placed a controlled, recorded telephone call to Mr. Sharier after initiating contact with him through a series of text messages. Mr. Sharier was interviewed by a detective in January 2017, and shortly thereafter was charged with unlawful sexual contact with a minor in violation of R.C. 2907.04(A).

         {¶4} The State filed a motion in limine to exclude any extrinsic evidence related to prior accusations of sexual abuse made by K.W. against another individual under Evid.R. 608(B). The trial court conducted a hearing on the motion and excluded all such evidence, but did so based on application of State v. Boggs, 63 Ohio St.3d 418 (1992). The case proceeded to a jury trial that resulted in a verdict of guilty, and the trial court sentenced Mr. Sharier to five years in prison. He then filed this appeal.

         II.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR NO. 1

         THE TRIAL COURT ERRED [BY] NOT DISMISSING THE INDICTMENT BASED ON INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE.

         {¶5} In his first assignment of error, Mr. Sharier urges this Court to articulate a heightened standard of review to assess the sufficiency of the evidence. This Court declines to do so.

         {¶6} The due process secured by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees "that no person shall be made to suffer the onus of a criminal conviction except upon sufficient proof-defined as evidence necessary to convince a trier of fact beyond a reasonable doubt of the existence of every element of the offense." Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 316 (1979). In applying this standard, courts do not evaluate credibility, and we make all reasonable inferences in favor of the State. State v. Jenks, 61 Ohio St.3d 259, 273 (1991).

         {¶7} Mr. Sharier has not argued that the evidence at trial failed to meet this standard. Instead, he urges this Court to adopt a heightened measure of sufficiency because of the "sensitive, emotional, and now political nature" of sex offenses. The existing standard, however, comports with due process and is applied in cases of all kinds. See, e.g., State v. Myers, 154 Ohio St.3d 405, 2018-Ohio-1903, ¶ 132 (aggravated murder with death penalty specifications); State v. Clinton, 153 Ohio St.3d 422, 2017-Ohio-9423, ¶ 165, 177-181 (rape); State v. Tate, 140 Ohio St.3d 442, 2014-Ohio-3667, ¶ 15-20 (gross sexual imposition and kidnapping). This same standard is consistently applied when a defendant is convicted of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. State v. Shank, 9th Dist. Medina No. 12CA0104-M, 2013-Ohio-5368, ¶ 21-25; State v. Watson, 9th Dist. Summit No. 25915, 2012-Ohio-1624, ¶ 5-7.

         {¶8} This Court declines to depart from the standard of sufficiency set forth in Jackson and Jenks. Mr. Sharier's first assignment of error is overruled.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR NO. 2

         THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY NOT ALLOWING THE JURY TO KNOW ABOUT THE ALLEGED VICTIM'S PAST UNSUBSTANTIATED SEXUAL ABUSE ALLEGATIONS THAT SHE ADMITTED WERE FALSE.

         {¶9} Mr. Sharier's second assignment of error argues that the trial court erred by excluding extrinsic evidence related to a prior allegation of sexual abuse that K.W. made against a family member under the rape shield law. Mr. Sharier did not object in the trial court on this basis, as he ...


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