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Eighth District says Bruising is Insufficient Evidence of Serious Physical Harm

By: April Campbell

Notable for its ruling that bruising is not in itself sufficient evidence of serious physical harm, the Eighth District reversed Crenshaw’s child endangering conviction.  State v. Crenshaw, 2020-Ohio-3183 (June 4, 2020). 

Essentially, Crenshaw got angry at a 9-year-old one day for using Crenshaw’s hair dye to color slime, and for then spilling it onto the floor.  Sounds like a typical 9-year-old to me.  But, it was Crenshaw’s response that caused Crenshaw to be tried and convicted: Crenshaw hit the girl in the head with a spoon, pushing her into a wall, and striking her three times in the legs with an extension cord.  Yeesh. 

While the domestic violence conviction stuck, the child endangering one did not.  The reason? While the 9-year-old was bruised from the incident, had a lump on her head, and couldn’t sleep, the girl was only given over-the-counter medication to deal with the pain.  And her injuries did not require follow up care.  The Eighth district relied on two of its previous decisions to find that bruising is not enough to say that there was serious physical harm.  

The takeaway: if you’ve got a serious physical harm case, and the State can only show bruising, the Eighth District just gave you a shot at a win under Criminal Rule 29. 

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