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Date: 05-03-2021

Case Style:

STATE OF OHIO vs. TIMOTHY FRYE

Case Number: C-190511, C-190512

Judge: Candace C. Crouse

Court: IN THE COURT OF APPEALS FIRST APPELLATE DISTRICT OF OHIO HAMILTON COUNTY, OHIO

Plaintiff's Attorney: Andrew Garth, City Solicitor, William T. Horsley, Chief Prosecuting Attorney, and
Elyse Deters, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Defendant's Attorney:


Criminal Defense Lawyer Directory


Description:

Cincinnati, Ohio - Criminal defense attorney represented Timothy Frye with three traffic-related violations: driving under suspension, improper change of course, and a cracked-windshield violation.



{¶4} Cincinnati Police Officer Phil Stout testified that he was asked by the
District Five Violent Crimes Squad (“VCS”) to find and pull over Frye’s vehicle. He
spotted Frye at the intersection of Kings Run Drive and Estes Avenue in Cincinnati,
Ohio. He observed Frye make what he believed to be an improper left turn onto
Estes Avenue. Stout testified that Frye “swung it wide, went from curb to center lane
versus curb to curb.” Stout also noticed that Frye’s vehicle had a cracked windshield.
Stout initiated a traffic stop based on those two violations. Through further
investigation, he determined that Frye was driving under a suspended license.
First Assignment of Error
{¶5} In the first assignment of error, Frye argues that the state failed to
establish the trial court’s jurisdiction. This contention is belied by the record. Stout
testified that he pulled Frye over in Cincinnati, Ohio. Thus, jurisdiction over Frye
and his offenses was established by the state.
Second Assignment of Error
{¶6} In the second assignment of error, Frye argues that his convictions
were based upon insufficient evidence. The test for determining the sufficiency of the
evidence is whether “after viewing the probative evidence and inferences reasonably
drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of
fact could have found all the essential elements of the offense beyond a reasonable
doubt.” State v. MacDonald, 1st Dist. Hamilton No. C-180310, 2019-Ohio-3595, ¶
12, quoting State v. Martin, 20 Ohio App.3d 172, 175, 485 N.E.2d 717 (1st Dist.1983).
{¶7} CMC 503-55 prohibits operating a vehicle on any highway where “the
operator’s view through the windshield or any window is obstructed due to the glass OHIO FIRST DISTRICT COURT OF APPEALS
4
being dirty, cracked, blurred or otherwise non-transparent.” R.C. 4510.16(A)
provides that no person, whose driver’s license has been suspended, shall operate
any motor vehicle within the state.
{¶8} Stout testified that the windshield of Frye’s vehicle was “broken” and
“cracked.” He testified that after he pulled Frye over, he determined that Frye’s
license was under suspension. Frye’s convictions for driving under suspension and
driving with a cracked windshield were based upon sufficient evidence.
{¶9} CMC 506-80 prohibits turning a vehicle into an intersection when the
vehicle is not in proper position upon the roadway as required by CMC 506-84. The
state failed to establish whether Kings Run Drive or Estes Avenue were one- or twoway streets, but it cites to CMC 506-84(b), which states:
Approach for a left turn from a two-way roadway into a two-way roadway
shall be made in that portion of the right half of the roadway nearest the
center line thereof and after entering the intersection the left turn shall be
made so as to leave the intersection to the right of the center line of the
roadway being entered.
(Emphasis added.)
{¶10} Stout testified that Frye turned southbound onto Estes Avenue and
“swung it wide, went from curb to center lane versus curb to curb.” Notwithstanding
the vagueness of this description, we interpret this to mean that there are at least two
lanes in the southbound direction of Estes Avenue and that Frye turned into a lane
other than the inside lane. OHIO FIRST DISTRICT COURT OF APPEALS
5
{¶11} In State v. Kirkpatrick, 2017-Ohio-7629, 97 N.E.3d 871 (1st Dist.), we
overturned the defendant’s conviction for making an improper left turn in violation
of R.C. 4511.36, a statute similar to CMC 506-84. R.C. 4511.36 provides:
At any intersection where traffic is permitted to move in both directions
on each roadway entering the intersection, an approach for a left turn
shall be made in that portion of the right half of the roadway nearest the
center line thereof and by passing to the right of such center line where it
enters the intersection and after entering the intersection the left turn
shall be made so as to leave the intersection to the right of the center line
of the roadway being entered. Whenever practicable the left turn shall be
made in that portion of the intersection to the left of the center of the
intersection.
(Emphasis added.) See Kirkpatrick at ¶ 7.
{¶12} We held that R.C. 4511.36(A)(2) “does not prohibit drivers from
turning into the outside, right lane, instead of the inside, left lane.” Id. at ¶ 13.
Rather, it requires drivers to “proceed through the intersection and across the center
line before turning left.” Id. at ¶ 11. Therefore, Frye’s left turn did not violate CMC
506-84, and his conviction for improper change of course was based upon
insufficient evidence. The second assignment of error is sustained as it relates to
Frye’s conviction for improper change of course and is overruled as it relates to his
other convictions.
Third Assignment of Error
{¶13} In the third assignment of error, Frye argues that the trial court erred
by limiting and then terminating his cross-examination of Stout. “The limitation of * OHIO FIRST DISTRICT COURT OF APPEALS
6
* * cross-examination lies within the sound discretion of the trial court, viewed in
relation to the particular facts of the case.” State v. Treesh, 90 Ohio St.3d 460, 480,
739 N.E.2d 749 (2001). “Trial judges may impose reasonable limits on crossexamination based on a variety of concerns, such as harassment, prejudice,
confusion of the issues, the witness’s safety, repetitive testimony, or marginally
relevant interrogation.” Id.
{¶14} Frye’s cross-examination of Stout mostly involved repetitive and
irrelevant questions and statements. The court did not abuse its discretion by
sustaining the state’s objections or by terminating cross-examination when Frye
refused to comply with the court’s directives. The third assignment of error is
overruled.
Fourth Assignment of Error
{¶15} In the fourth assignment of error, Frye contends that Stout’s testimony
should have been excluded under Evid.R. 602 because he lacked personal knowledge
of the matters he testified to. Evid.R. 602 provides, “A witness may not testify to a
matter unless evidence is introduced sufficient to support a finding that the witness
has personal knowledge of the matter. Evidence to prove personal knowledge may,
but need not, consist of the witness’ own testimony.”
{¶16} Stout testified that he observed Frye’s left turn and the cracked
windshield and, after running his identification information through “the system,”
determined that Frye was driving under a suspended license. His testimony did not
violate Evid.R. 602. The fourth assignment of error is overruled. OHIO FIRST DISTRICT COURT OF APPEALS
7
Fifth Assignment of Error
{¶17} In the fifth assignment of error, Frye argues that the state committed
prosecutorial misconduct and violated the rule announced in Brady v. Maryland,
373 U.S. 83, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963), by seeking his conviction without
any evidence of guilt.
{¶18} Frye’s convictions for driving with a cracked windshield and driving
under suspension were based upon sufficient evidence. Frye’s conviction for
improper change of course was based upon insufficient evidence, but there is nothing
in the record indicating that the state committed prosecutorial misconduct or
violated the Brady rule. The fifth assignment of error is overruled.
Sixth Assignment of Error
{¶19} In the sixth assignment of error, Frye contends that the trial judge
demonstrated judicial bias in favor of the state and against him by not giving him the
presumption of innocence and denying his requests for a jury trial.
{¶20} “Judicial bias is demonstrated by ‘a hostile feeling or spirit of ill will or
undue friendship or favoritism toward one of the litigants or his attorney, with the
formation of a fixed anticipatory judgment on the part of the judge, as
contradistinguished from an open state of mind which will be governed by the law
and the facts.’ ” State v. Loudermilk, 2017-Ohio-7378, 96 N.E.3d 1037, ¶ 21 (1st
Dist.), quoting State ex rel. Pratt v. Weygandt, 164 Ohio St. 463, 469, 132 N.E.2d 191
(1956), paragraph four of the syllabus.
{¶21} There is nothing in the record indicating that the trial judge “formed a
fixed, anticipatory judgment,” or presumed Frye’s guilt. The judge found Frye guilty OHIO FIRST DISTRICT COURT OF APPEALS
8
after considering Stout’s testimony and giving Frye a fair chance for crossexamination.
{¶22} Regarding Frye’s requests for a jury trial, there is no right to a jury trial
in cases involving minor misdemeanors or violations for which the potential penalty
does not include the possibility of a prison term or jail term and for which the
possible fine does not exceed $1,000. R.C. 2945.17(B).
{¶23} Driving under a suspended license in violation of R.C. 4510.16(A) is an
unclassified misdemeanor. The offender is not subject to a jail term and may not be
fined more than $1,000. R.C. 4510.16(D)(1). The maximum sanction for a violation
of CMC 503-55 is a fine of $101. CMC 512-4. A violation of CMC 506-80, unless
committed within one year of another violation of the traffic code, carries a
maximum penalty of $100. CMC 512-1. Nothing in the record indicates that Frye
had been convicted of multiple traffic violations within a one-year period. Therefore,
the maximum penalty he could have received for violating CMC 506-80 was a fine of
$100.
{¶24} The trial court did not err in denying Frye’s requests for a jury trial.
There is no indication that the trial judge was biased against Frye or in favor of the
state. The sixth assignment of error is overruled.

Outcome: The appeal numbered C-190512 is dismissed. The second assignment of error is sustained in part and overruled in part. Frye’s conviction for improper
change of course in violation of CMC 506-80 is reversed and he is discharged from further prosecution on that count. All other assignments of error are overruled, and
the remainder of the trial court’s judgments are affirmed.

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