Court of Appeals issues rulings


Staff report



POMEROY — The Fourth District Court of Appeals, which serves Meigs County, recently issued decisions in three Meigs County cases.

Fourth District affirms John Hess’ conviction

Meigs County Prosecuting Attorney James K. Stanley announced that on April 7, the Ohio Fourth District Court of Appeals affirmed John Hess’ convictions for Gross Sexual Imposition and Disseminating Matter Harmful to Juveniles. Hess was convicted at trial in September 2019, and the trial court sentenced Hess to 11 years to life in prison. Hess will continue to serve that sentence.

According to a news release from Stanley’s office:

“Hess raised a single assignment of error alleging that his convictions were against the manifest weight of the evidence. Stanley argued that the State set forth evidence supporting each element of each offense and that the jury’s verdicts were not against the manifest weight of the evidence produced at trial.

“The Court of Appeals reviewed the entire record and determined that the State presented sufficient evidence to allow the jury to conclude that all the elements of Gross Sexual Imposition and Disseminating Matter Harmful to Juveniles were proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The Court of Appeals held that the jury did not clearly lose its way, and the guilty verdicts were not against the manifest weight of the evidence. Hess’ assignment of error was overruled.”

Fourth District dismisses David Barner’s petition for post conviction relief

Stanley also announced that the Ohio Fourth District Court of Appeals recently declined to vacate or set aside David Barner’s convictions for Pandering Obscenity Involving a Minor, Pandering Sexually Oriented Matter Involving a Minor, and Gross Sexual Imposition. Barner was sentenced to 19.5 years in prison with a term of community control upon his release. Barner will continue to serve that sentence.

According to the news release from Stanley’s office:

“Barner previously filed a Petition to Vacate or Set Aside Judgment of Conviction or Sentence with the trial court, arguing that the trial court did not comply with statutory requirements for imposing consecutive sentences. The trial court denied Barner’s petition, and Barner appealed.

“Barner raised two assignments of error in which he claimed the trial court erred by denying his petition because the trial court ordered his prison sentences to be served consecutive and because the trial court ordered his prison sentences to be served consecutive with a term of community control. Stanley argued that the trial court did not commit error and that Barner’s petition should not have been granted.

“The Court of Appeals held that Barner was not entitled to the relief requested and stated that Barner’s petition was untimely filed. As such, the Court of Appeals dismissed his petition and affirmed the judgment of the trial court.”

Fourth District affirms Melody Curtis’ conviction

Stanley announced that the Ohio Fourth District Court of Appeals recently affirmed Melody Curtis’ conviction for Illegal Cultivation of Marijuana. Curtis was previously sentenced to a term of community control and will continue to serve that sentence.

According to the news release from Stanley’s office:

“Curtis raised a single assignment of error alleging that the trial court abused its discretion when it denied her pre-sentence motion to withdraw her guilty plea. Stanley argued that an analysis of the nine-factor test used to determine if a defendant should be permitted to withdraw her guilty plea weighed heavily in favor of the trial court denying Curtis’ motion.

“The Court of Appeals held that the trial court’s decision was not unreasonable, arbitrary, or unconscionable and overruled Curtis’ assignment of error.“

Information provided by the Meigs County Prosecutor’s Office.

Staff report