Franklin County Criminal Law Casebook

Reproduced with permission from:
Timothy E. Pierce and the Franklin County Public Defender Office
State v. Ames, 182 Ohio App. 3d 736, 2009-Ohio-3509 – Owner of a pickup truck was charged with theft after his nephew removed it from the premises of a repair shop without paying the bill. Charge was theft of services premised on the shop‘s common law lien. The shop had not provided a written estimate as to the cost of repairs as required by the Ohio Consumer Sales Practice Act. Reversed. An unfair or deceptive practice under the OCSPA negates a mechanic‘s lien. Defendant claimed he had asked for a diagnostic test and had not authorized repairs.
State v. Rhodes (1982), 2 Ohio St. 3d 74 -- "In a prosecution for theft of a motor vehicle under R.C 2913.02, R.C. 4505.04 does not mandate that a certificate of title be produced by the prosecution to demonstrate that the person deprived of the motor vehicle is the 'owner' of the motor vehicle within the meaning of R.C. 2913.01(D)." Also see State v. Emmons (1978), 57 Ohio App. 2d 173, 177.
State v. Hochhausler (1996), 76 Ohio St. 3d 455, 466 -- "The private interest in a different from the interest in a driver's license. A motor vehicle may be the subject of multiple private interests, i.e., a jointly owned family automobile or, as here, a company owned vehicle, and the due process constriction on the state should be afforded to any person or entity with an interest in the instrumentality of the criminal offense."
State v. Vitale (1994), 96 Ohio App. 3d 695 -- Once vehicle had been returned to its owner, garageman's lien was extinguished, and he had no possessory interest which could be the subject of a theft charge.
State v. Garber (1998), 125 Ohio App. 3d 615 -- Wife was convicted of criminal damaging after smashing windows of a pickup leased by her husband. No domestic relations court order awarded her an interest in the vehicle. Thus it remained the "property of another" as under Ohio law a wife had no interest in the property of her husband.
State v. Howell (1994), 64 Ohio Misc. 2d 23 -- Dealer filed unauthorized use of a motor vehicle charges against a truck purchaser who did not carry through with financing and failed to return the truck upon demand. Court finds that the defendant had a legitimate claim to possession, though possibly inferior to that of the dealer, and that there was not probable charge for the case to go forward.
State v. Tite, 195 Ohio App. 3d 352, 2011-Ohio-5047 – Son was driving father’s pickup erratically. Officer gave chase. Father got out when the truck stopped, but son backed into cruiser and fled again. Son’s license was under suspension. Father was convicted of wrongful entrustment. Proof of a parent-child relationship is not enough to create a presumption a parent knows the child’s license has been suspended. By statute such a presumption exists when they live in the same household, but father and son lived separately in this case. Evidence was insufficient for conviction.
State v. Lindsey, 190 Ohio App. 3d 595, 2010-Ohio-5859 – In a vehicular assault case the court used a superseded common law definition of operation, broader than the controlling statutory definition. Court refuses plain error reversal. Both definitions include driving and the defendant was alone in her car.
State v. Eikleberry, 184 Ohio App. 3d 219, 2009-Ohio-3648 – Defendant was cited for driving a motor vehicle without plates. Held that a Ford pickup equipped with a drilling rig and leveling jacks was exempt because it constituted “well-drilling machinery even though it could still be operated on the highway, here to a gas station.
State v. Huddleston, 173 Ohio App. 3d 17, 2007-Ohio-4455 – Defendant was arrested inside a store for shoplifting. Search incident to arrest turned up keys to a rental car legally parked on the store lot. Car was impounded and searched. Methamphetamine was found during inventory search. City ordinance and police directive cited by the state did not vindicate the search. Nor was an unwritten department police to impound in such circumstances constitutionally reasonable. Court‘s prior decision involving a car that had been stopped by an officer in a legal parking space distinguished on the basis the operator was in the car at the time and the officer exerted control as to the movement of the vehicle.
State v. Heap, Hamilton App. No. C-040007, 2004-Ohio-5850 -- The owner-opinion rule permits owners to testify as to the value of their property as non-experts.  Students who were the equitable owners of cars damaged during a "Cinco de Stratford" student drinking party could testify as to value as equitable owners, though their parents held title.
State v. Britton (1999), 135 Ohio App. 3d 151, 154 -- "When...the criminal charges related to the use of the lawfully seized motor vehicle are dismissed and the person entitled to possession of the vehicle is an innocent third party, that person is not liable for the expenses of towing and storage of the motor vehicle."
State v. Hughley, Cuyahoga App. No. 82051, 2004-Ohio-132 -- Tangled title trail and repossession within the terms of the contract did not support conviction for tampering with records, as there was no evidence the defendant intended to defraud the Department of Motor Vehicles.
State v. Chatton (1984), 11 Ohio St. 3d 59 -- Since R.C. 4503.182 does not require that temporary tags be displayed in any particular manner, once an officer has seen a tag lying inside the rear window, the failure to display is no longer a specific articulable factor justifying investigative detention. Also see State v. Riddle (1995), 104 Ohio App. 3d 679.
Pennsylvania v. Labron (1996), 518 U.S. 938 -- "If a car is readily mobile and probable cause exists to believe it contains contraband, the Fourth Amendment permits police to search the vehicle without more." There need be no further demonstration of exigent circumstances. The automobile exception as it has evolved rests on both exigent circumstances and a decreased expectation of privacy in an automobile due to its pervasive regulation.
State v. Krug (1993), 89 Ohio App. 3d 595 -- It was improper to suspend the operator's license of a defendant convicted of domestic violence who in the process of the offense had driven his wife from a convenience store to their home. (1) Suspension was not authorized under R.C. 4507.16(A)(2) allowing suspension when an auto is used in the commission of a felony as that section only applies where an auto has been used as a weapon, to transport contraband, or is the subject of the crime charged. The section does not apply to mere use for transportation. (2) The suspension could not be justified as a special condition of probation pursuant to R.C. 2951.01(C). Also see State v. Watkins (1994), 96 Ohio App. 3d 195.
State v. Peek (1996), 110 Ohio App. 3d 165 -- Defendant entered a no contest plea to receiving stolen property, specifically a motor vehicle. Judge found him guilty of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Defendant appealed. Held that no contest plea placed defendant in jeopardy, and double jeopardy bars reprosecution for RSP. Further held that unauthorized use is not a lesser included offense, leading to reversal of that conviction. However, defendant may still be prosecuted for unauthorized use.
State v. Coburn (1992), 84 Ohio App. 3d 170 -- Indictment charging RSP of a motor vehicle does not have to allege the value of the vehicle. Allegation that a motor vehicle is the property involved is sufficient to establish the degree of the offense.
State v. Taylor (1996), 114 Ohio App. 3d 416 -- Car was stopped because of excessive window tint. R.C. 4513.02(E) allowed officer to order car removed from the road, but did not authorize impoundment. Because vehicle was not lawfully impounded, inventory search yielding a gun was illegal.
State v. Cornette (January 25, 1990), Franklin Co. App. Nos. 89AP-717, 718, unreported (1990 Opinions 252, 256) -- An automobile can be a deadly weapon if used as such, but it must be proven that the defendant intended to use his vehicle as a deadly weapon and did not merely attempt to flee the scene. Also see State v. Orlett (1975), 44 Ohio Misc. 7, 10; State v. Brandon (February 7, 1985), Franklin Co. App. No. 84AP-829, unreported (1985 Opinions 327).
State v. Finnegan (1983), 8 Ohio App. 3d 432 -- An automobile is not included within the meaning of the word "premises" for purposes of the criminal trespass statute.
State v. Carroll (1980), 62 Ohio St. 2d 313 -- Volkswagen bus is not an "unoccupied structure" for purposes of the breaking and entering statute.
State v. Finch (1998), 131 Ohio App. 3d 571 -- The shell remaining after removal of tires, wheels, engine, doors, seats and top held to still be a "motor vehicle."

Publishing Information

Published by Timothy E. Pierce
Copyright © Franklin County Public Defender and Timothy E. Pierce, 2015
Contents may not be duplicated without express permission.