Vandalism and Related Offenses

 

Franklin County Criminal Law Casebook

Reproduced with permission from:
David L. Strait and the Franklin County Public Defender Office
 

R.C. 2909.04 -- Disrupting public services.
R.C. 2909.05 -- Vandalism.
R.C. 2909.06 -- Criminal damaging or endangering.
R.C. 2909.07 -- Criminal mischief.
R.C. 2909.08 -- Endangering aircraft or airport operations.
R.C. 2909.11 -- Determining property value or amount of physical harm.
 
State v. Dunfee, 17 Ohio App. 3d 239, 2008-Ohio-3615 – Defendant was convicted of vandalism based on kicking out the rear window of a police cruiser. Though also government property, the cruiser was used as business property. Majority concludes the property was necessary, focusing on how the lack of a rear window impacted use of the vehicle. Dissent focuses on the necessity of using this cruiser when others were available.
 
State v. Robinson, 124 Ohio St. 3d 76, 2009-Ohio-5937 – Syllabus: "The damaging of a single private telephone or cellular telephone disrupts public services in violation of R.C. 2929.01(A)(3) if the conduct substantially impairs the ability of law-enforcement officers, firefighters, rescue personnel, emergency-medical-services personnel, or emergency-facility personnel to respond to an emergency or to protect and preserve any person or property from physical harm." Reverses State v. Robinson, 177 Ohio App. 3d 560, 2008-Ohio-4160.
 
State v. Hamley (2001), 142 Ohio App. 3d 615 -- Vandalism under R.C. 2909.05(B)(1)(b) is not a lesser included offense to a (B)(1)(a) violation. Since both are F-4's, it is not an offense of lesser degree. Moreover, each requires proof of an element not required for proof of the other.
 
State v. Hines (2001), 145 Ohio App. 3d 792 -- Throwing a rock at a pumper truck is not sufficient to prove disruption of public services. Firefighters' attention was diverted, but their ability to do their duty was not.
 
State v. Griffin, 150 Ohio App. 3d 360, 2002-Ohio-6560 -- Bus passenger abused, then struck driver. Driver left the bus in gear when he left his seat to fight the defendant. Bus crossed curb and struck stationary objects. Disrupting public services conviction was supported by the evidence.
 
State v. Thomas, Montgomery App. No. 19435, 2003-Ohio-5746 -- Domestic violence defendant unplugged a telephone belonging to him and left, forcing victim to use a pay phone. Disrupting public services conviction affirmed.
 
State v. Pettigrew, Montgomery App. No. 20019, 2004-Ohio-4934 -- Disrupting public services conviction affirmed where the defendant deliberately filled an officer's voice mail accounts, locking out additional messages.
 
Cleveland v. Workman, Cuyahoga App. No. 81960, 2003-Ohio-1963 -- Defendant was seen playing in water from a hydrant, but was not seen opening it or found in possession of either the cap or tools needed to open it. Evidence held insufficient to sustain criminal mischief conviction.
 
State v. Reams, Auglaize App. No. 2-04-28, 2005-Ohio-1085 -- Defendant kicked his wife's car, but there was no consistent testimony concerning damage.  Conviction was against the manifest weight of the evidence.
 
State v. Levingston (1995), 106 Ohio App. 3d 433, 438 -- A broken window costing $129 to repair was insufficient to establish the serious physical harm to property element of vandalism.
 
In re Hinton (1992), 84 Ohio App. 3d 156 -- Upset juvenile slammed a door and the glass broke. Children Services charged her with causing serious physical harm to property owned by a government entity, in violation of R.C. 2909.05. Conviction reversed as breakage is not the usual result of slamming a door, thus there was insufficient proof of a knowing act.
 
State v. Brown (1994), 97 Ohio App. 3d 293, 300-301 -- Court upholds a disrupting public services conviction where, during a domestic dispute, the defendant destroyed a telephone after taking it from the victim and ripping out the connection at the wall. It was not required that he intended to deprive the community at large of telephone service. Court could also conclude damage prevented a 911 cal during an episode of domestic violence.
 
State v. Weissman (1982), 69 Ohio St. 2d 564 -- Phone was adapted for use in live radio broadcast of press conference by the mayor of Cleveland, whose personnel director yanked the cord from the wall and got into an altercation with reporter who had been using the phone. Disrupting public services conviction not supported by the evidence since court says could not tell from equipment or circumstances that it was being used to make live broadcast.
 
State v. Maust (1982), 4 Ohio App. 3d 187 -- Headnote 1: "In a criminal damaging case, it is not necessary for the state to prove ownership of the damaged motor vehicle pursuant to the literal meaning of R.C. 4505.04, the Ohio Certificate of Motor Vehicle Title Law." Compare State v. Isaac (1975), 44 Ohio Misc. 87 holding certificate of title is needed to prove grant or denial of privilege by owner in a criminal mischief prosecution.
 
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. Kassen (1984), 20 Ohio App. 3d 323 -- (1) Because nitroglycerin is defined by statute as "dangerous ordinance," the state need not further prove it is an 'inherently dangerous substance" within the meaning of the criminal damaging or endangerment statute. (2) Possession of dangerous ordinance and criminal endangering have such a commonality of elements that jeopardy bars prosecution of the one after conviction of the other.
 

Publishing Information

Published by David L. Strait
 
Copyright © Franklin County Public Defender and David L. Strait, 2015
 
Contents may not be duplicated without express permission.

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