Inducing Panic


Franklin County Criminal Law Casebook

Reproduced with permission from:
Timothy E. Pierce and the Franklin County Public Defender Office

R.C. 2917.31 -- Inducing panic
R.C. 2917.32 -- Making false alarms
State v. Campbell, 195 Ohio App. 3d 9, 2011-Ohio-3458 – Police responded to an apparently bogus report of domestic violence. Defendant refused to open door to his girlfriend’s apartment for an hour as ten officers waited. When he finally opened the door he was arrested and ultimately convicted of inducing panic. Reversed based on the insufficiency of the evidence. Officers doing their duty are not “inconvenienced” within the purview of R.C. 2917.31(A). Nor was there evidence that the defendant threatened to commit any act of violence that caused evacuation of serious public inconvenience or alarm.
State v. Dulaney, 180 Ohio App. 3d 626, 2009-Ohio-79 – Former employee called to complain about deduction from his commission check and the fact he had paid for medical insurance though coverage for his daughter was denied. In the process he said he "was going to come in and kick their ass." This was enough of a threat to constitute telecommunications harassment. Furthermore, locking down Mattress Mart in response to the threat supported conviction for inducing panic.
In re S.R., 182 Ohio App. 3d 803, 2009-Ohio-3156 – Eagle Scout aspirant set off a bottle bomb harmlessly in a safe location. He had learned how to mix toilet cleaner containing hydrochloric acid and aluminum foil in a sealed plastic bottle at a scout campfire. To constitute "dangerous ordinance", the state must prove (1) the device contains an explosive device or agency, (2) there is a means to detonate, and (3) it is designed to cause physical harm to persons or property. The later was not proven in this case. Compare In re Travis  (1996), 110 Ohio App. 3d 684. Related inducing panic conviction reversed as well for want of a predicate offense.
In re McCoy (2000), 138 Ohio App. 3d 774 -- During the week following the Columbine High School shootings in Colorado Assistant Principal Powderly confiscated a student's ceramic figurine "Nigel," depicting a person in a black trench coat displaying the peace symbol. The student, who had won prizes for her creation of Nigel, was upset, and, it was claimed, told another student she wanted to wear a long trench coat with bombs in it and kill the faculty. Inducing panic conviction affirmed, notwithstanding the alleged statement not being the sole cause of alarm at the Xenia High School that week.
In re Foster (1998), 128 Ohio App. 3d 566 -- Giving a friend a quarter to call in a bomb threat at the high school sufficient to prove complicity in inducing panic.
State v. Isham, Hamilton App. No. C-020065, 2002-Ohio-5815 -- Police evacuated the 12th floor or an apartment building following expression of concern by the defendant's brother. Defendant did not initially respond to knock on the door and police heard the slide of a shotgun move back and forth several times. After calling his uncle for advice, defendant opened door with hands raised. Inducing panic conviction was not supported by the evidence since there was no threat to commit any offense of violence and the building had been evacuated before sound was heard. Officers were only doing their duty and cannot be said to have been inconvenienced.

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.