Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
IN RE R.K. A Minor Child
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas
Juvenile Division Case No. PO19303000
Zukerman Lear & Murray, Co., L.PA., Brian A. Murray and
Larry W. Zukerman, for respondent-appellant
Carolyn Kaye Ranke and Nancy T. Jamieson, for
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
D. CELEBREZZE, JR., J.
1} Respondent-appellant, R.K. ("appellant"), brings
the instant appeal challenging the trial court's judgment
granting a juvenile civil protection order ("JCPO")
filed by petitioners-appellees. After a thorough review of
the record and law, this court affirms.
Factual and Procedural History
2} The instant matter arose from an ongoing, two-year dispute
between neighbors. Appellant and his family have lived next
door to petitioners-appellees (collectively
"petitioners") for approximately ten years. At some
point, a dispute arose regarding which family owned the tree
lawn near the end of petitioners' driveway. The police
had been contacted on multiple occasions regarding the
dispute. At some point in 2018, the tree lawn dispute ended.
3} The petitioners' family consists of D.W., mother,
L.W., father, and two daughters, Sa.W. and St.W. Appellant
and Sa.W. are in the same grade and attend the same school.
This appeal primarily focuses on several incidents that have
occurred between appellant and Sa.W. after the tree lawn
4} D.W. alleged that appellant was engaging in conduct in
order to deliberately annoy Sa.W. and cause her and the
family mental distress. Several incidents purportedly
occurred between March 2018 and March 2019. D.W. alleged that
appellant committed the offense of menacing and caused the
family mental distress by (1) whistling at Sa.W., (2)
building a snow and ice barrier in February 2018 that
prevented the family from entering their driveway, (3)
building a "graphic" snowman that had a penis and
testicles in March 2018, (4) posting a photo and video on
Instagram in February 2019 in which appellant
alleged that Sa.W. was stalking him, and (5) blocking
Sa.W.'s path on the sidewalk to the school bus in
February 2019. The specific details of these incidents will
be set forth in further detail below.
5}On March 14, 2019, D.W. filed a petition for a protection
order, pursuant to R.C. 2151.34, against appellant. D.W.
sought protection for herself, her husband L.W., her 11-year
old daughter Sa.W., and her 9-year old daughter St.W. In her
petition, D.W. alleged, in relevant part,
7. Most recently on [February 18, 2019, ] in the evening
[appellant] posted a photo of [Sa.W.] in her bathroom closing
the blinds. The next morning, [appellant and his step
brother] stood in the path of [Sa.W.] physically blocking her
access to the bus stop. That afternoon, [appellant] posted a
video online stating (1) He threw a stick at [Sa.W.], (2)
Whistled inappropriate[e]ly at her in school, in public, and
on the bus (3) and put a snowman in her driveway blocking her
access to her driveway.
* * *
On [March 2, 2018, ] [appellant] built a snowman with a penis
[and] testicles on the [petitioners'] property facing
[Sa.W.'s] bedroom. The snowman appeared to have urine
[and] blue liquid on it.
[Appellant and] his family were warned to stop this behavior
by the police or they could face criminal menacing charges.
Shaker schools have determined that the incidents from
[February 19 through February 20, 2019] are cyber bullying.
Shaker school has also documented [appellant]
inapprop[riately] whistling beginning in 2011.
Shaker police have multiple reports dating back to 2011.
[Appellant] may be encouraged by his family to continue
abusing [Sa.W. and] her family/property due to Father's
action: theft of [petitioners'] property, [h]arassment to
[D.W. and L.W.]
8. [Appellant's] actions have caused [Sa.W. and] our
family mental distress. [Sa.W.] is anxious [and] afraid
because of (1) Online posts [and] videos, (2) physical
actions by [appellant and] friends/family make her feel that
she is immediate danger. She is afraid, sad, embarrassed
[because] of [appellant's] conduct. She feels this way at
school [and] at home since [appellant] lives next door. She
worries that [appellant] may physically hurt her, her family,
her friends, her property [and] her dog.
[Sa. W.] is very worried that [appellant and] his family will
retaliate with their words [and] physical actions * * *
[b]ecause of the repeated pattern of conduct by [appellant
and] his family/friends.
6} A magistrate granted an ex parte JCPO on March 14, 2019,
designating D.W., L.W., and both daughters as protected
parties. A magistrate held a full hearing on the petition on
March 22, 2019. During the hearing, D.W., Sa.W., appellant,
and appellant's father testified.
7} On March 26, 2019, the magistrate granted D.W.'s
petition for a JCPO. The magistrate ordered the protection
order to remain in effect until June 6, 2027, at which point
appellant would reach the age of 19. On March 27, 2019, the
trial court adopted the magistrate's decision.
8} Appellant filed objections to the trial court's
judgment adopting the magistrate's decision on April 9,
2019. On May 1, 2019, the trial court issued a judgment entry
overruling appellant's objections and adopting the
9} Appellant filed the instant appeal on May 13, 2019,
challenging (1) the magistrate's March 26, 2019 judgment
entry granting the protection order, and (2) the trial
court's May 1, 2019 judgment overruling his objections to
the magistrate's decision. Appellant assigns six errors
I. The petitioner failed to offer sufficient evidence to
support the issuance of a juvenile civil protection order
against the respondent.
II. The juvenile court's judgment was against the
manifest weight of the evidence because the petitioner never
established that the respondent committed any of the
enumerated offenses set forth in R.C. 2151.34(C)(2).
III. The juvenile court's judgment was against the
manifest weight of the evidence because there was no
evidence, let alone competent, credible evidence that the
petitioner and/or any of her family members were in danger of
future harm by the respondent.
IV. The juvenile court's judgment was against the
manifest weight of the evidence because the court never found
that the respondent committed any of the enumerated offenses
set forth in R.C. 2151.34(C)(2) and/or all the elements of
such an offense.
V. The juvenile court abused its discretion in including the
petitioner, the petitioner's husband, and her youngest
daughter on the protection order.
VI. The juvenile court abused its discretion in ordering that
the terms of the protection order it issued against the
respondent shall be effective for more than eight years,
until June 6, 2027.
10} To the extent that appellant's assignments of error
and the arguments raised therein are interrelated, they will
be addressed together.
Law and Analysis
Standard of Review
11} R.C. 2151.34 authorizes juvenile courts to issue and
enforce protection orders against juvenile respondents,
regardless of the familial relationship between the parties.
The statute became effective on June 17, 2010, after the
General Assembly passed Am.Sub.H.B. 10. See In re
E.P., 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 96602, 2011-Ohio-5829,
12} In order to obtain a JCPO under R.C. 2151.34(C)(2), the
petitioner must allege in the petition that the respondent
violated one of the offenses enumerated in the statute.
Specifically, R.C. 2151.34(C) provides, in relevant part,
(2) The petition shall contain or state all of the following:
(a) An allegation that the respondent engaged in a violation
of section 2903.11 [felonious assault], 2903.12 [aggravated
assault], 2903.13 [assault], 2903.21 [aggravated menacing],
2903.211 [menacing by stalking], 2903.22 [menacing], or
2911.211 [aggravated trespass] of the Revised Code, committed
a sexually oriented offense, or engaged in a violation of any
municipal ordinance that is substantially equivalent to any
of those offenses against the person to be protected by the
protection order, including a description of the nature and
extent of the violation;
* * *
(c) A request for relief under this section.
13} In In re E.P., this court set forth the
applicable standard of review for a trial court's
decision with respect to a protection order:
whether the protection order should have been issued at all
(i.e., whether the petitioner met his or her burden by a
preponderance of the evidence) is essentially a manifest
weight of the evidence review. Rauser v. Ghaster,
8th Dist. [Cuyahoga] No. 92699, 2009[-]Ohio[-]5698, ¶
12, citing Caban v. Ransome, 7th Dist. [Mahoning]
No. 08MA36, 2009[-]Ohio[-]1034, ¶ 7. Judgments supported
by competent, credible evidence going to all the essential
elements of the claim will not be reversed on appeal as being
against the manifest weight of the evidence.
Bryan-Wollman v. Domonko, 115 Ohio St.3d 291,
2007[-]Ohio[-]4918, 874 N.E.2d 1198, ¶ 3. See also
Young v. Young, 2d Dist. [Greene] No. 2005-CA-19,
2006[-]Ohio[-]978, ¶ 22 (When an appellant challenges
whether the protection order should have been issued at all,
the standard of review is whether the trial "court's
decision was supported by sufficient competent, credible
In re E.P. at ¶ 18.
14}As an initial matter, the record reflects that petitioners
properly petitioned the court, in compliance with R.C.
2151.34. In the petition, petitioners alleged that appellant
committed the offense of "criminal menacing."
15} The record also reflects that the magistrate complied
with the requirements set forth in R.C. 2151.34(D). After
granting the ex parte protection order on March 14, 2019, the
magistrate held a full hearing on the petition on March 22,
2019. Following the hearing, the magistrate determined, by a
preponderance of the evidence, that appellant engaged in
menacing by stalking, in violation of R.C. 2903.211. (Tr.
16} Furthermore, before turning to the merits of this appeal,
we will address appellant's legislative intent argument
regarding the juvenile civil protection order statute.
Specifically, appellant argues that R.C. 2151.34 was enacted
in response to the Shynerra Grant and Johanna Orozco
tragedies and in order to prevent teenage dating violence,
not to encourage every juvenile that has a fight or an issue
with a classmate to run to the courthouse and file a
Shynerra Grant was a 17-year-old high school graduate from
Toledo who was headed to college on a scholarship. She was
shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 2005. For more than a
year before this tragic shooting, her ex-boyfriend stalked
and abused her, including an incident in 2004 when he broke
into her home and broke her jaw. Shynerra had tried to obtain
a protection order against her ex-boyfriend, but was turned
away from the courts.
Johanna Orozco, was shot in the face by her ex-boyfriend in
2007 -days after he was released from juvenile prison for
raping her. Orozco lived, but has disfiguring injuries.
During their relationship, her ex-boyfriend had repeatedly
hit, pushed, and kicked her. Orozco had also tried to obtain
a protection order against her ex-boyfriend, but was unable
to get one due to the law regarding protection orders at that
In re E.P., 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 96602,
2011-Ohio-5829, at ¶ 7-8.
17} In support of his legislative intent argument, appellant
directs this court's attention to In re E.P. In re
E.P. involved two sixth graders that got into a fight on
the school bus during which the petitioner sustained a broken
nose. Although the boys offered conflicting accounts of the
fight, this court recognized that the record was devoid of
any evidence that petitioner was in danger of future harm by
The two boys had never been in a fight with each other before
this incident. There was no evidence that E.P., who had never
before gotten into a fight with anyone or had any
disciplinary issues, had ever threatened A.G. with harm -
before or after the bus incident. Nor was there any evidence
that E.P. had engaged in any pattern of conduct that would
amount to harassing A.G. or bullying him - physically or
mentally. And notably, A.G. testified that he was not afraid
Id. at ¶ 44. Regarding the legislature's
intent in enacting R.C. 2151.34, this court explained,
"[t]his court does not believe that the legislature
intended for every child who gets into a fight at school to
be able to obtain a juvenile civil protection order. The
potential ramifications of such a holding would be far
reaching. This could not have been what ...