Franklin County Criminal Law Casebook

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

State v. Crotts, 104 Ohio St. 3d 432, 2004-Ohio-6550 -- Though generally disparaging the introduction of evidence suggesting homosexuality, the court ultimately sides with the trial court's ruling that challenged exhibits and testimony were admissible to show motive.
State v. Nucklos, 171 Ohio App. 3d 38, 2007-Ohio-1025 -- Mention of a "civil judgment" facing an MD was proper in order to explain motive for operating what the state claimed was a one day a week, out of town, cash only oxycontin practice.
State v. Wyant (1992), 64 Ohio St. 3d 566, 572-575 -- Court distinguishes motive and criminal intent. One can have motive without intent to commit a crime and vice versa. While motive may bear on intent, ultimately it is not motive that is an element of a crime. [Reversed State v. Wyant (1994), 68 Ohio St. 3d 162. Discussion of motive versus intent still remains valid.]
State v. Lancaster (1958), 167 Ohio St. 391 -- Paragraphs one and two of the syllabus: "(1) In a murder case, evidence of motive or lack thereof upon the part of the accused is relevant and material. (2) Motive is not an element of the crime of murder and need not be established to warrant a conviction; proof of motive does not establish innocence; and, where the guilt of the accused is shown beyond a reasonable doubt, it is immaterial what the motive may have been for the crime, or whether any motive is shown."
United States v. Santi (9th Cir. 1979), 604 F. 2d 603 -- Evidence of a defendant's economic circumstances (expensive drug habit) may be admissible, bearing on motive. [But such evidence may be excludable applying Evid. R. 403(B).]
State v. Diamond (February 21, 1978), Franklin Co. App. No. 77AP-730, unreported (1978 Opinions 396) -- It was error for court to exclude evidence that a shoplifting defendant worked two jobs generating a reasonable income to show lack of motive to steal. Also see State v. Garland (October 27, 1977), Franklin Co. App. No. 77AP-373, unreported (1977 Opinions 3777, 3784).
State v. Nichols (1996), 116 Ohio App. 3d 759, 765 -- Defendant's drug usage was used to establish a motive to rob. Counsel's failure to enter proper objections led to reversal because representation was ineffective. Motive may eliminate uncertainty when the evidence is scant, but it cannot be used as affirmative proof.

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