Thursday, May 23, 2013

State v. Lapping case brief

State v. Lapping case brief
599 N.E.2d 416

CASE SYNOPSIS: Defendant appealed a Newton Falls Municipal Court (Ohio) judgment, which convicted him of 28 counts of animal cruelty in violation of Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 959.13, sentenced him to a term of imprisonment, and required him to pay a fine. The court additionally ordered the sale at public auction of the confiscated cattle with the proceeds to be applied the pay the expenses incurred with respect to the cattle's care from the time they were seized.

FACTS: Among defendant's various assignments of error was his contention that the trial court erred in instructing the jury that cruelty to animals pursuant to § 959.13 was a strict liability crime. The State contended that the § 959.13 did not specify any degree of culpability, and plainly indicated a purpose to impose strict criminal liability for the conduct described in each section of the statute. The trial court's instruction tracked the State's interpretation of the statute, informing the jury that the statute did not require a finding of guilt that the State prove that defendant knowingly or recklessly violated the statute's prohibition. 


  • Relying on the rules developed in previous caselaw, the court held that § 959.13 was not a strict liability statute
  • Therefore, any instruction by the trial court that indicated the strict liability nature of the crime would have been prejudicial error to defendant. 
  • Thus, the court reversed. 
  • However, the court found no merit in defendant's contention that the trial court erred in failing to order the State to submit a bill of particulars, noting that the complaint was sufficient to put defendant on notice of the charges against him.

CONCLUSION: The court reversed defendant's animal cruelty convictions and sentence and remanded the matter for further proceedings.

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