A recent case from the 12th District in Ohio addressed the conviction of a man for domestic violence when no evidence was put forth regarding physical harm or attempted physical harm. The case, State v. Krieger, began when Krieger allegedly had an argument with wife’s daughter from a previous marriage. Krieger and his wife were going through divorce proceedings at the time and Krieger’s wife confronted Krieger regarding the argument. This resulted in an argument of their own.
Krieger walked away from his wife, went to their bedroom, and began recording their interaction. Krieger’s wife confronted Krieger in the bathroom and would not allow Krieger to leave. Krieger asked her to move, but she refused. Krieger pushed his wife out of the way so that he could leave. The wife then called her divorce attorney, who advised that the police should be called.
At trial, the testimony of the responding officer and Krieger’s wife was put forth by the government. Krieger moved the court for an acquittal, arguing that insufficient evidence had been presented to convict him of domestic violence. Krieger then testified, was found guilty, and sentenced to 90 days in jail. Krieger appealed the conviction.
Domestic Violence Requires Physical Harm
R.C. 2919.25(A) prohibits a person from knowingly causing or attempting to cause physical harm to a family or household member. R.C. 2901.01(A)(3) defines “physical harm” as “any injury, illness or other physiological impairment, regardless of its gravity or duration.” A person acts knowingly when the person is aware that the person’s conduct will probably cause a certain result. R.C. 2901.22(B).
The appellate court found that the undisputed testimony from Krieger’s wife reflected that no physical harm occurred and that she testified, specifically, that she had not suffered any physical harm. Furthermore, the responding officer testified that he did not observe any injuries.
The government argued the conviction should not be reversed because Krieger attempted to cause physical harm by pushing his wife. A push can amount to physical harm when accompanied by the requisite intent. State v. Kelley. However, there was no evidence presented that Krieger pushed his wife to cause harm as Krieger’s only intent was to move his wife out of his way. Furthermore, there was no evidence to support the government’s contention that Krieger’s push could even cause physical harm. Thus, Krieger’s conviction was reversed.
Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney
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