Lack knowingly squeezed Ott’s wrist and hit the back of her arm. He is presumed to understand the reasonable and probable consequences of his actions. It is reasonable and probable to assume that when someone hits another person, the aggressor knows that the victim will suffer some harm.
State v. Lack
2021 – Ohio – 2956
First District Appellate Court
Hamilton County, Ohio
August 27, 2021
Mr. David Lack and his soon-to-be-ex girlfriend Ms. Tamara Ott hosted a house party in Hamilton County, Ohio. Mr. Lack and Ms. Ott resided together in the house where the party was held and had been in a relationship for four years. Ms. Lauren Riley, a friend of Ms. Ott, was a guest at the party.
At some point during the social gathering Ms. Ott and Ms. Riley took a selfie photo together in the kitchen. Mr. Lack took issue with the selfie photo and yelled at Ms. Ott and had her pinned against the kitchen wall. She retreated from the kitchen to the bathroom. Ms. Ott locked the bathroom door and Mr. Lack pounded on the door and demanded entry. Eventually Ms. Ott acquiesced and opened the door. Mr. Lack then went on a verbal harangue and did not let Ms. Ott out of the bathroom for an estimated ten to fifteen minutes.
During Mr. Lack’s bathroom harangue, he grabbed Ms. Ott’s wrist and squeezed real hard, causing pain and leaving red marks. When Ms. Ott repeatedly attempted to leave the bathroom, Mr. Lack balled up his fists and blocked her exit. Ms. Ott tried to maneuver her way past Mr. Lack to exit the bathroom. Ms. Ott yelled for Mr. Lack to let her go and let her out of the bathroom. At this time Ms. Riley called 911. As Ms. Ott finally got around Mr. Lack she walked down the hallway and he smacked the back of her arm.
Hamilton County Sheriff Deputy Adam Giver and Deputy Kimberly Koehler responded. Deputy Koehler testified that she observed redness on Ms. Ott’s wrist and arm where Mr. Lack grabbed and smacked her. Deputy Giver testified that he did not see any injuries on Ms. Ott but that he had not looked for injuries.
Mr. Lack was charged with Domestic Violence O.R.C. § 2925.25(A) which provides, “No person shall knowingly cause or attempt to cause physical harm to a family or household member.”. A trial was held, Mr. Lack testified in his own defense and he was convicted of Domestic Violence. Mr. Lack appealed his conviction based on the theory that there was an insufficiency of evidence. He testified that he put his hands on Ms. Ott but he could not have ‘known’ that putting his hands on Ms. Ott would cause her harm.
The First District Appellate Court disagreed with Mr. Lack and upheld his conviction “Lack knowingly squeezed Ott’s wrist and hit the back of her arm. He is presumed to understand the reasonable and probable consequences of his actions. It is reasonable and probable to assume that when someone hits another person, the aggressor knows that the victim will suffer some harm.”.
Information for this article was obtained from State v. Lack, 2021 – Ohio – 2956. This case was issued by the First District Appellate Court and is binding in Hamilton, County Ohio.
- The First District Appellate Court upheld Mr. Lack’s conviction, in part, based on a previous decision wherein the court held “The slightest injury is sufficient to prove physical harm.” State v. Daniels, 2018-Ohio-1701. This minor type of injury is very common in calls for service and law enforcement must be diligent to investigate claims of violence, most especially Domestic Violence. The redness on Ms. Ott’s wrist and arms, coupled with her statement and the statement of Ms. Riley would properly establish probable cause.
- The First District Appellate Court also applied an Eighth District Appellate Court decision when analyzing Mr. Lack’s appeal. “[A] defendant acts knowingly when, although not necessarily intending a particular result, he or she is aware that the result will probably occur … People are presumed to understand the reasonable and probable consequences of their actions. State v. Preston, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 109572, 2021- Ohio-2278. What the Preston case addresses is that if a suspect claims that he did not know he harmed the victim, but that his actions did harm the victim, even if he did not intend to cause harm, he can be convicted of Domestic Violence. This analysis can be very easily made while reading a report or file full of papers but is much more challenging when at the scene. Law enforcement should be aware that a suspect may not reasonably claim if he commits a violent act, he would not know that it would cause harm and that would negate probable cause.
- Deputy Giver testified that he did not see the injuries on Ms. Ott. This too is common in domestic violence calls for service. As training dictates, one officer will talk with one of those involved while another officer will talk with the other person involved. The case does not go into any detail as to why Deputy Giver did not see the injuries but only one officer [deputy] needs to establish probable cause for the arrest to be valid.
Don’t fail your training.
Don’t let your training fail you!
Be safe, smart and Objectively Reasonable!