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State v. Woodruff

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Third District, Putnam

December 30, 2019

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
BENJAMIN J. WOODRUFF, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

          Appeal from Putnam County Municipal Court Trial Court No. 2019 CR B 00036

         Judgment Affirmed

          Scott R. Gordon for Appellant

          Andrew B. Benchic for Appellee

          OPINION

          ZIMMERMAN, P.J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant, Benjamin J. Woodruff ("Woodruff"), appeals the June 6, 2019 judgment entry of sentence of the Putnam County Municipal Court. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

         {¶2} On January 30, 2019, Woodruff was charged with domestic violence in violation of R.C. 2919.25(A), a first-degree misdemeanor. (Doc. No. 1). Woodruff appeared for arraignment on February 7, 2019 and entered a plea of not guilty. (Doc. No. 4). After a bench trial on June 6, 2019, the trial court found Woodruff guilty of domestic violence. (June 6, 2019 Tr. at 1); (Doc. No. 22). That same day, the trial court sentenced to community control, including 180 days in jail, with 170 days suspended. (Doc. No. 22).

         {¶3} Woodruff filed a notice of appeal on June 7, 2019 and raises one assignment of error for our review. (Doc. No. 24).

         Assignment of Error

         The trial court erred in denying Defendant/Appellant's motion for acquittal pursuant to Ohio Criminal Rule 29, and finding the Defendant guilty of Domestic Violence, in violation of R.C. §2919.25(A), a Misdemeanor of the First Degree, because the alleged victim did not meet the definition of "family or household member" under R.C. §2919.25(A).[1]

         {¶4} In his assignment of error, Woodruff argues the trial court erred by denying his Crim.R. 29 motion for acquittal because his domestic-violence conviction is based on insufficient evidence. In particular, Woodruff contends that the State presented insufficient evidence that Woodruff and the victim, P.O., were family or household members.

         Standard of Review

         {¶5} Crim.R. 29(A) provides that a court must order the entry of a judgment of acquittal of a charged offense "if the evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction of such offense." "[T]his Court reviews a denial of a Crim.R. 29 motion for judgment of acquittal using the same standard that is used to review a sufficiency of the evidence claim." State v. Lightner, 3d Dist. Hardin No. 6-08-11, 2009-Ohio-544, ¶ 37, citing State v. Carter,72 Ohio St.3d 545, 553 (1995). "An appellate court's function when reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence to support a criminal conviction is to examine the evidence admitted at trial to determine whether such evidence, if believed, would convince the average mind of the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." State v. Jenks,61 Ohio St.3d 259 (1981), paragraph two of the syllabus, superseded by state constitutional amendment on other grounds, State v. Smith, 80 Ohio St.3d 89, 102 (1997), fn. 4. Accordingly, "[t]he 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." Id. "In deciding if the evidence was sufficient, we neither resolve evidentiary conflicts nor assess the credibility of witnesses, as both are functions reserved for the trier of fact." State v. Jones, 1st Dist. Hamilton Nos. C-120570 and C-120571, 2013- ...


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