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Date: 10-16-2019

Case Style:

STATE OF OHIO -vs- NATHAN MEYER

Case Number: 18CA113

Judge: John W. Wise

Court: COURT OF APPEALS RICHLAND COUNTY, OHIO FIFTH APPELLATE DISTRICT

Plaintiff's Attorney: JOSEPH R. REED

Defendant's Attorney:

Description:

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This case arose on January 12, 2018, when appellant threatened an
emergency-room doctor and hospital staff. Police responded and appellant made erratic
statements. The doctor feared for his safety and others because he wasn’t sure what
appellant might be capable of. Police therefore arrested and transported appellant.
{¶3} Appellant was charged by criminal complaint with one count of menacing,
a misdemeanor of the fourth degree pursuant to Mansfield Codified Ordinance No.
537.06(A).1
{¶4} Appellant entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity and requested
that the trial court appoint an examiner to determine his competency to stand trial
pursuant to R.C. 2945.37 and to evaluate his mental condition at the time of the offense
pursuant to R.C. 2945.39. The trial court granted the motion on April 11, 2018 and
referred the matter to the District V—Forensic Diagnostic Center.
1 Mansfield Codified Ordinance 537.06(A) states in pertinent part: “No person shall knowingly cause another to believe that the offender will cause physical harm to the person or property of the other person * * *. In addition to any other basis for the other person’s belief that the offender will cause physical harm to the person or property of the other person, the other person’s unborn, or a member of the other person’s immediately family, the other person’s belief may be based on words or conduct of the offender that are directed at or identify a corporation, association or other organization that employs the other person or to which the other person belongs.”

Richland County, Case No. 18CA113 3

{¶5} On May 22, 2018, appellant moved for appointment of an independent
psychologist, specifically, Dr. Robert Stinson. The trial court overruled the motion on May
29, 2018.
{¶6} On July 25, 2018, appellant entered a plea of guilty to the amended count
of disorderly conduct pursuant to Mansfield Codified Ordinance No. 509.03(A).2 A jail
term of 30 days was suspended on the condition that, e.g., appellant would be interviewed
and assessed for mental health court.
{¶7} Appellant raises one assignment of error:
ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR
{¶8} “THE TRIAL COURT PREJUDICIALLY ERRED IN FAILING TO NOTIFY
THE INDIGENT APPELLANT OF HIS RIGHT TO AN INDEPENDENT SANITY
EVALUATION PURSUANT TO O.R.C. 2945.39.”


2 Mansfield Codified Ordinance No. 539.03(A) states: No person shall recklessly cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm to another by doing any of the following: (1) Engaging in fighting, in threatening harm to persons or property, or in violent or turbulent behavior; (2) Making unreasonable noise or offensively coarse utterance, gesture or display, or communicating unwarranted and grossly abusive language to any person, which by its very utterance or usage inflicts injury or tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace; (3) Insulting, taunting or challenging another, under circumstances in which such conduct is likely to provoke a violent response; (4) Hindering or preventing the movement of persons on a public street, road, highway or right of way, or to, from, within or upon public or private property, so as to interfere with the rights of others, and by any act that serves no lawful and reasonable purpose of the offender; (5) Creating a condition that is physically offensive to persons or that presents a risk of physical harm to persons or property, by any act that serves no lawful and reasonable purpose of the offender.

Richland County, Case No. 18CA113 4

ANALYSIS
{¶9} In his sole assignment of error, appellant argues the trial court was required
to notify appellant of his right to an independent sanity evaluation prior to his change of
plea. We disagree.
{¶10} We begin by noting appellant cites R.C. 2945.39(A) and (C) as support for
his argument that the trial court must inform appellant of his right to an independent
psychological evaluation. R.C. 2945.39 is the civil commitment statute; the current
version of that statute does not contain the language appellant cites.
{¶11} R.C. 2945.371 address evaluation of mental condition and states in
pertinent part:
(A) If the issue of a defendant's competence to stand trial is
raised or if a defendant enters a plea of not guilty by reason of
insanity, the court may order one or more evaluations of the
defendant's present mental condition or, in the case of a plea of not
guilty by reason of insanity, of the defendant's mental condition at
the time of the offense charged. An examiner shall conduct the
evaluation.
(B) If the court orders more than one evaluation under division
(A) of this section, the prosecutor and the defendant may
recommend to the court an examiner whom each prefers to perform
one of the evaluations. If a defendant enters a plea of not guilty by
reason of insanity and if the court does not designate an examiner
recommended by the defendant, the court shall inform the defendant
Richland County, Case No. 18CA113 5

that the defendant may have independent expert evaluation and that,
if the defendant is unable to obtain independent expert evaluation, it
will be obtained for the defendant at public expense if the defendant
is indigent.
* * * *.
{¶12} Appellant argues that the trial court had a mandatory duty to inform him of
a right to an independent psychiatric evaluation, citing State v. Hix, 2nd Dist. Montgomery
No. 10159, 1987 WL 19208, *3. That decision, however, was explicitly overruled by the
Ohio Supreme Court in State v. Hix, 38 Ohio St.3d 129, 527 N.E.2d 784 (1988), in which
the Court found that “[a] defendant does not have the right to an independent psychiatric
examiner, pursuant to [former] R.C. 2945.39(C), unless the trial court has ordered more
than one psychiatric evaluation and the trial court has refused to appoint an examiner
recommended by the defendant.” Id., syllabus.
{¶13} In the instant case, the trial court did not order more than one psychiatric
evaluation. Instead, pursuant to its authority via R.C. 2945.37(H), the trial court ordered
a single evaluation by the District V—Forensic Diagnostic Center.3
{¶14} Appellant has not met the first Hix threshold in establishing his right to an
independent psychiatric examiner because the trial court ordered a single evaluation. “A
defendant does not have the right to an independent psychiatric examiner, pursuant to
R.C. 2945.39(C), unless the trial court has ordered more than one psychiatric evaluation
3 R.C. 2945.37(H) states in pertinent part that psychiatric evaluations ordered by municipal court “shall be performed through community resources including, but not limited to, certified forensic centers, court probation departments, and community mental health services providers * * *.”
Richland County, Case No. 18CA113 6

and the trial court has refused to appoint an examiner recommended by the defendant.”
(Emphasis sic.) State v. Asberry, 64 Ohio App.3d 314, 318, 581 N.E.2d 592, 594 (5th
Dist.1989), citing Hix, supra, at the syllabus. We therefore conclude the trial court did
not err in failing to inform appellant of his right to an independent examiner because no
such right existed.
{¶15} Appellant’s sole assignment of error is overruled.

Outcome: Appellant’s sole assignment of error is overruled and the judgment of the
Mansfield Municipal Court is affirmed.

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