The Return of the 11th District Criminal Appellate Update

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So yeah, I took a really extended holiday break.  I’m back in the saddle but certainly not up to the task of catching up on 100 or so cases, so we’re just going to jump right in with the two new opinions from this week:

State v. Chesler, 2015-Ohio-711
Did you know there is a local company that organizes pilgrimmages to the Holy Land?  Me neither.  Chesler, the owner’s son-in-law, worked for the company.  He entered a bunch of checks to the IRS and the State of Ohio for tax bills, but actually wrote the checks to himself.  He stole over $300,000 dollars – perhaps as much as half a million – from Jesusand the IRS.  Not good.  He pled to one count of Aggravated Theft.  The State asked for 90 days in jail.  Chesler got 30 months in prison.  He appeals the length of the sentence, but concedes that it’s within the statutory range and that the court made the necessary findings.  He wins a dissenting vote but doesn’t get 2 out of 3, so the sentence stands.  The court also rejects his argument that his counsel was ineffective.  Rice, Wright.  O’Toole dissents.

State v. Fasline, 2015-Ohio-715
Date Night gone wrong.  Fasline tried to sell the victim steroids and heroin.  The victim “declined the drugs and suggested to [Fasline], who was smaller in stature than himself, that he ‘should do the steroids.’”  Them’s fightin’ words, apparently.  After altercations in two separate bars, Fasline runs the bigger guy down with an SUV.  A jury convicts him of Felonious Assault and Tampering with Evidence, the latter for ditching the SUV in the woods.  He challenges the weight and sufficiency of the evidence, but the eight witnesses were too much evidence to overcome.  There are interesting points in the concurring opinion about the purpose for which he removed the SUV from the scene of the crime.  It might be a useful read for anyone who has a tampering case involving leaving the scene in a vehicle that happens to also be the weapon.  O’Toole, Grendell.  Cannon concurs in part.