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State v. Briggs

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Wayne

December 23, 2019

STATE OF OHIO Appellee
v.
DENNIS BRIGGS Appellant

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE WAYNE COUNTY MUNICIPAL COURT COUNTY OF WAYNE, OHIO CASE Nos. 2017 CR-B 002198 2017 CR-B 002201 2017 CR-B 002199 2017 CR-B 002200

          WESLEY A. JOHNSTON, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

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

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          DONNA J. CARR Judge.

         {¶1} Appellant, Dennis Briggs, appeals the judgments of the Wayne County Municipal Court. This Court affirms.

         I.

         {¶2} This matter stems out of a series of alleged criminal trespasses that occurred at Humboldt Square, a shopping plaza in Wooster, Ohio. Four separate criminal complaints were filed against Briggs in the Wayne County Municipal Court. Briggs was homeless at the time of the alleged incidents. In each complaint, Briggs was charged with a sole count of criminal trespass in violation of R.C. 2911.21(A)(3). In Case No. 2017CR-B002201, Briggs was charged with trespassing on the premises of Stephen Landers on December 14, 2017. In Case No. 2017CR-B002199, Briggs was charged with trespassing on the premises of Davita Wooster Dialysis on December 16, 2017. In Case No. 2017CR-B002198, Briggs was charged with trespassing on the premises of Stephen Landers on December 18, 2017. Finally, in Case No. 2017CR-B002200, Briggs was charged with trespassing on the premises of Acceptance Insurance on December 19, 2017. Briggs pleaded not guilty to the charges at arraignment.

         {¶3} A public defender was appointed to represent Briggs in the aforementioned cases. Thereafter, the public defender moved to withdraw due to communication issues with Briggs. The trial court granted the motion and the matter proceeded with Briggs representing himself. The State successfully moved to consolidate Case No. 2017CR-B002198 and Case No. 2017CR-B002201 and transfer them to the docket of the judge who was presiding over Case No. 2017CR-B002199 and Case No. 2017CR-B002200.

         {¶4} All four cases were initially scheduled to be tried together. On the date of trial, however, the State moved for a continuance on the grounds that two essential witnesses had failed to appear. After discussing whether those witnesses were essential to each individual count, the trial court granted the motion in part and continued the trial for two of the cases. The other two cases proceeded to trial as scheduled.

         {¶5} On February 23, 2018, the trial court held a bench trial on the charges in Case No. 2017CR-B002198 and Case No. 2017CR-B002201. One month later, on March 23, 2018, a bench trial was held on the charges in Case No. 2017CR-B002199 and Case No. 2017CR-B002200. The trial court found Briggs guilty of all four counts of criminal trespass. The trial court sentenced Briggs to a total of 30 days in jail.

         {¶6} On appeal, Briggs raises two assignments of error. This Court rearranges Briggs' assignments of error to facilitate review.

         II.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR II

         APPELLANT'S CONVICTION WAS BASED ON INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE AS A MATTER OF LAW AND WAS AGAINST THE MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE.

         {¶7} In his second assignment of error, Briggs contends that his convictions were not supported by sufficient evidence and were against the manifest weight of the evidence. This Court disagrees.

         {¶8} Briggs was convicted of four counts of criminal trespass in violation of R.C. 2911.21(A)(3), which states:

No person, without privilege to do so, shall * * * [r]ecklessly enter or remain on the land or premises of another, as to which notice against unauthorized access or presence is given by actual communication to the offender, or in a manner prescribed by law, or by posting in a manner reasonably calculated to come to the attention of potential intruders, or by fencing or other enclosure manifestly designed to restrict access[.]

         {¶9} Pursuant to R.C. 2901.22(C), a person acts "recklessly" when "with heedless indifference to the consequences, the person disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the person's conduct is likely to cause a certain result or is likely to be of a certain nature. A person is reckless with respect to circumstances when, with heedless indifference to the consequences, the person disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that such circumstances are likely to exist." "Land or premises" is defined as "any land, building, structure, or place belonging to, controlled by, or in custody of another, and any separate enclosure or room, or portion thereof." R.C. 2911.21(F)(2). "Privilege" is defined as "immunity, license, or right conferred by law, bestowed by express or implied grant, arising out of status, position, office or relationship, or growing out of necessity." R.C. 2901.01(A)(12).

         Sufficiency ...


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