Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Madison
CRIMINAL APPEAL FROM MADISON COUNTY MUNICIPAL COURT Case No.
Stephen J. Pronai, Madison County Prosecuting Attorney, for
Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC, Laura M. Woodruff, L.
Patrick Mulligan, for appellant
1} Appellant, Joseph Myers, appeals his conviction
in the Madison County Municipal Court after a jury found him
guilty of criminal mischief. For the reasons detailed below,
2} On September 20, 2018, appellant was charged with
one count of criminal mischief in violation of R.C.
2909.07(A)(1), a third-degree misdemeanor. The state alleged
that appellant had knocked down and removed a section of
fence located in the Paint Township Cemetery. Appellant
appeared without an attorney and represented himself pro se.
3} Pertinent to this matter is a long-held grievance
by appellant against the Township. Appellant owns property
and lives next door to the cemetery. In a pretrial filing to
the court, appellant submitted a series of deeds, surveys,
correspondence, and miscellaneous interpretations of the law
with respect to, among other things, boundary lines and
permissible uses of the cemetery. According to the record
before this court, appellant believes that, based on his
review of the deeds, surveys, and interpretations of law,
that there is a public roadway that the Township is denying
public access to or blocking.
4} Throughout these proceedings, appellant filed
three sets of subpoenas for various County and Township
officials and employees. On October 9, 2018, appellant
commanded the following individuals to appear at a pretrial
conference duces tecum: (1) Dave Hughes with the Madison
County Zoning Department, (2) Bryan Dhume, a Madison County
Engineer, (3) Phil Eades, a Paint Township Trustee, (4) Steve
Cordell, a second Paint Township Trustee. The subpoenas
requested that the individuals provide him "all and
every piece of information" and "all paperwork,
zoneing [sic] request, orders written and verbal, letters,
notes of any kind including texts" relating to the Paint
Township Cemetery and adjoining property. The state moved to
quash the subpoenas as overbroad, oppressive, unreasonable,
irrelevant, vague, and filed under the wrong case number. The
trial court granted the state's motion to quash.
5} On October 22, 2018, appellant reissued the
subpoenas for the same four individuals for a jury trial
scheduled on November 1, 2018. The subpoenas were also
requested duces tecum, again requesting "all and every
piece of information" or "all paperwork"
relating to the cemetery. The state, again, moved to quash,
which the trial court granted. However, the trial was
continued until January 17, 2019.
6} On January 8, 2019, appellant reissued just one
subpoena for Trustee Cordell and requested that he
"[b]ring all paperwork regarding said Fence including
receipts and date at installation." The subpoena for
Cordell commanded him to appear on January 16, 2019 at 10:30
am, the day before trial. The state did not move to quash the
subpoena and it is not known whether Cordell appeared.
7} The matter proceeded to a jury trial on January
17, 2019. The state presented the testimony of Jared Miller,
a seasonal employee with the Township who was hired to cut
the cemetery's lawn. At trial, Miller testified that he
had observed appellant driving a tractor along the fence
line. When Miller approached the area where the tractor had
been, he observed that the fence had been pulled down and
dragged down a hill.
8} Deputy Wesley Davis was dispatched to the
cemetery to investigate the damage to the fence. Deputy Davis
observed the damaged fence and interviewed Miller and
appellant. Deputy Davis testified that appellant was very
evasive and refused to answer "yes or no"
9} Next, Trustee Jeff Kibler testified that
appellant did not have permission to tear down the cemetery
fence. Kibler testified that the fence was erected by the
Township to lim it access to the cemetery and to prevent
rural snowmobilers and four-wheelers from driving through the
cemetery. Kibler stated that appellant has had issues with
the Township with regard to the fence and had previously
expressed a desire to remove the fence.
10} Following the admission of exhibits, the state
rested. Appellant attempted to call Cordell as a witness.
However, since the subpoena was issued for the wrong day,
Cordell was not in attendance and was not subject to the