State v. Beach

Decision Date21 December 2021
Docket Number20AP-589
Citation2021 Ohio 4497
CourtOhio Court of Appeals
PartiesState of Ohio, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. David Beach, Defendant-Appellee. [S.R., Appellant],

2021-Ohio-4497

State of Ohio, Plaintiff-Appellee,

[S.R., Appellant],
v.

David Beach, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 20AP-589

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

December 21, 2021


APPEAL from the Franklin County Municipal Court. M.C. Case No. 2019 CRB 016416

On brief:

Zachary M. Klein, City Attorney, Melanie R. Tobias, and Orly Ahroni, for appellee, State of Ohio. [1]

Bobbie Yeager, Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center, for appellant.

Yeura R. Venters, Public Defender, and Ian J. Jones, for appellee, David Beach.

Argued:

Bobbie Yeager.

Ian J Jones.

DECISION

MENTEL, J.

{¶ 1} Appellant, S.R., appeals from the November 20, 2020 order denying, in relevant part, S.R.'s motion for clarification to appear during the sentencing and restitution hearing and motion for blood test. For the reasons that follow, we affirm in part and reverse in part.

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I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

{¶ 2} On September 8, 2019, defendant-appellee, David Beach, was charged with one count of assault in violation of R.C. 2903.13(A), a misdemeanor of the first degree. According to S.R., Beach punched her in the face and bit her thumb during an altercation in Columbus, Ohio. Beach was arraigned on September 9, 2019. The trial court set bond at $5, 000 cash or surety and required Beach submit to testing for communicable diseases.

{¶ 3} On December 9, 2019, Beach pleaded no contest to assault in violation of R.C. 2903.13(A), a misdemeanor in the first degree. The trial court found him guilty and the matter was set for sentencing on February 26, 2020. After several continuances, the sentencing and restitution hearing was reset for December 14, 2020.

{¶ 4} On October 8, 2019, Beach tested negative for HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and urethral trichomonas. According to S.R., it was not until June 15, 2020 that she was informed of the results from the blood test. On June 24, 2020, S.R. filed a motion for a new blood test arguing that she was entitled to a second round of testing pursuant to R.C. 2907.27(B). On August 5, 2020, S.R. filed a renewed motion for blood testing restating the arguments asserted in the original motion. The state did not expressly join in either motion. On August 14, 2020, S.R. filed a "notice of assertion of her constitutional rights to justice, due process, and fairness" requesting that she be allowed to sit at the counsel's table during the scheduled evidentiary hearing and any future sentencing and restitution hearings. On August 26, 2020, the trial court held an evidentiary hearing on an unrelated matter. During the hearing, the parties discussed the outstanding motions and the trial court suggested Beach take another blood test. Despite the trial court's request, Beach declined to voluntarily submit to the blood test. On October 14, 2020, S.R. filed a request for ruling on S.R.'s motion for blood testing and renewed motion for blood testing. On November 20, 2020, S.R. filed a writ of procedendo with this court regarding the outstanding motions for a blood test that was ultimately withdrawn.

{¶ 5} On November 20, 2020, the trial court ruled on a series of outstanding motions. Relevant to the instant appeal, the trial court denied S.R.'s motion to be present and seated at the counsel's table, finding the motion was premature as neither the state nor Beach had requested that witnesses be separated. The trial court also denied S.R.'s motion for blood testing concluding that the state had not agreed to additional testing as required by R.C. 2907.27(B)(1)(b). The trial court also found that S.R. had not submitted any

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information to the trial court demonstrating, as a medical issue, that testing Beach now could show whether he had the diseases discussed in S.R.'s motion at the time of the assault.

{¶ 6} On December 14, 2020, the trial court held a sentencing and restitution hearing. S.R. was present and provided testimony at the hearing. Beach was sentenced to 180 days in jail, 167 suspended, with 3 days of jail-time credit. Beach was also given 2 years of community control and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $13, 714.94.

{¶ 7} On December 18, 2020, S.R. filed a notice of appeal from the trial court's November 20, 2020 order.

{¶ 8} On September 15, 2021, this court heard oral arguments on this matter. On September 28, 2021, Beach filed a notice of additional authorities as to whether S.R. raised a constitutional issue in the trial court citing State v. Awan, 22 Ohio St.3d 120 (1986). On September 30, 2021, S.R. filed a motion to strike the supplemental authority arguing the filing did not comply with App.R. 21. Beach declined to file a memorandum in opposition.

II. ASSIGNMENTS OF ERROR

{¶ 9} Appellant assigns the following as trial court error:

1. The trial court erred in its November 20, 2020 Order when it prohibited Victim-Appellant from timely asserting her constitutional and statutory rights to be present at the sentencing and restitution hearings
2. The trial court erred, violating Victim-Appellant's constitutional right to be treated with fairness and respect for her dignity and constitutional and statutory rights to proceedings free from unreasonable delay, when it delayed ruling on Victim-Appellant's motion for blood testing for an unreasonable amount of time, and ultimately denied the motion in part because too much time had passed.
3. The trial court erred when it denied Victim-Appellant's motion for blood testing due to the State's failure to join the request in violation of her constitutional right to be treated with fairness and respect for her safety and dignity throughout the criminal justice system.

III. LEGAL ANALYSIS

A. Standing and Jurisdiction of the Court

{¶ 10} As a threshold matter, we must examine whether S.R. has standing to appeal and the jurisdiction of the court in this case. Article I, Section 10a of the Ohio Constitution,

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commonly referred to as Marsy's Law, established broad and sweeping rights for victims of crime. As contained in Ohio's Bill of Rights, Marsy's Law ensures for victims "justice and due process throughout the criminal and juvenile justice systems." Ohio Constitution, Article I, Section 10a(A). Marsy's Law requires victims, among other enumerated rights, "to be treated with fairness and respect for the victim's safety, dignity and privacy." Ohio Constitution, Article I, Section 10a(A)(1). The victim "in any proceeding involving the criminal offense * * * or in which the victim's rights are implicated, may assert the rights enumerated in this section and any other right afforded to the victim by law. If the relief sought is denied, the victim * * * may petition the court of appeals from the applicable district." Ohio Constitution, Article I, Section 10a(B). Based on the plain language of Article I, Section 10a(B) of the Ohio Constitution, a victim may petition the court of appeals if a right under Marsy's Law is denied or if another right to the victim by law is denied. The question becomes whether a victim must bring an original action or direct appeal to petition the court of appeals under Article I, Section 10a(B) of the Ohio Constitution.

{¶ 11} While the word "petition" is not defined under the Ohio Constitution, Article I, Section 10a, Black's Law Dictionary defines "petition" as "[a] formal written request presented to a court or other official body." Black's Law Dictionary 1329 (10th Ed.2014). The Supreme Court of Ohio has recently provided some guidance on this issue in the context of discovery orders finding that victims have a right to "petition" the court of appeals by filing an immediate appeal under R.C. 2505.02(B)(4). See State ex rel. Thomas v. McGinty, 164 Ohio St.3d 167, 2020-Ohio-5452. The McGinty court explained the term "petition" has been employed in cases that implicate the court of appeals' original or appellate jurisdiction, writing:

When applied to the jurisdiction of a court of appeals, the term "petition" is also associated typically with extraordinary-writ actions invoking the court of appeals' original jurisdiction. See R.C. 2725.04 ("Application for the writ of habeas corpus shall be by petition * * *"); R.C. 2731.04 ("Application for the writ of mandamus must be by petition * * *"); R.C. 2733.08 (an action in quo warranto for usurpation of office is brought by "petition"); see also State v. Hughes, 2019-Ohio-1000, 134 N.E.3d 710, ¶ 28 (8th Dist.) (lead opinion) (expressing the view that "petition" in Section 10a(B) means that a crime victim may invoke a court of appeals' original jurisdiction, possibly in mandamus). But the term "petition" could also include the appellate jurisdiction of a court of appeals. See, e.g., Jones v. First Natl. Bank of Bellaire,
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123 Ohio St 642, 9 Ohio L Abs 701, 176 NE 567 (1931), syllabus (referring to appellate review in court of appeals being pursuant to "a petition in error"); Hughes at ¶ 44 (Sheehan, J, concurring in judgment only) (opining that Section 10a(B) can reasonably be construed as granting a victim right to appeal).

Id. at ¶ 41.

{¶ 12} While McGinty's holding is limited to cases involving discovery orders, the Supreme Court, in interpreting the term "petition" under Marsy's Law, concluded that "the undefined term 'petition' in Section 10a(B) is broad enough to encompass an original action or appellate review." (Emphasis sic.) Id.[2] Accordingly, a victim in a criminal case could, depending on the facts of the case, reasonably construe Marsy's law as granting a victim the right to file a direct appeal.

{¶ 13} Next, we must look at whether S.R. has standing to proceed with a direct appeal or if an original action is the more suitable avenue to petition this court. It is well-established law that a victim is not a party to a criminal case. Grubb v. Buehrer, 10th Dist. No. 15AP-576, 2016-Ohio-4645, ¶ 20. "A party has...

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