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Franklin County Criminal Law Casebook
Reproduced with permission from
Allen V. Adair and the Franklin County Public Defender Office

FALSIFICATION (108)

R.C. 2921.13 -- Falsification

In re Slusser (2000), 140 Ohio App. 3d 480 -- Juvenile told his probation officer that he drove straight to school and did not engage in intercourse with a girl who claimed to have been raped. Rape charge was withdrawn, but juvenile was convicted of falsification based on his statement to the probation officer. Affirmed. Court refuses to recognize the "exculpatory no" exception recognized under federal law prior to the decision in Brogan v. United States (1998), 522 U.S. 398.

State v. Lazzaro (1996), 76 Ohio St. 3d 261 -- Syllabus: "The making of an unsworn false oral statement to a public official with the purpose to mislead, hamper, or impede the investigation of a crime is punishable conduct within the meaning of R.C. 2921.12(A)(3) and 2921.31(A). (Columbus v. Fisher [1978], 53 Ohio St. 2d 25...and Dayton v. Rogers [1979], 60 Ohio St. 2d 162...overruled.)"

State v. Bailey (1994), 71 Ohio St. 3d 443 -- Syllabus: "The making of unsworn false statements to a law enforcement officer with the purpose to hinder the officer's investigation of a crime is punishable conduct within the meaning of R.C. 2921.32(A)(5). (Columbus v. Fisher [1978], 53 Ohio St. 2d 25...and Dayton v. Rogers [1979], 60 Ohio St. 2d 162...limited.)" Note that the decision does not address the legality of the warrantless entry to the defendant's home to execute an arrest warrant for another. See Payton v. New York (1980), 445 U.S. 573. Defendant should have sought to suppress evidence that the suspect was actually present, thus making her claim he had left the basis for a falsification charge.

State v. Bell (1994), 97 Ohio App. 3d 576 -- Falsification is a lesser included offense to perjury.

State v. Sufronko (1995), 105 Ohio App. 3d 504 -- Defendant signed his brother's name to tickets and was convicted of forgery. Court rejects claim R.C. 1.51 should have limited prosecution to falsification as a special provision applicable in the circumstances. Violations of the two statutes arise from different conduct.

State v. Cooper (1990), 66 Ohio App. 3d 551 -- In circumstances involving welfare fraud, defendant could be prosecuted for theft. Prosecution was not limited to falsification.

Columbus v. New (1982), 1 Ohio St. 3d 221 -- A Columbus falsification ordinance reaching any false statements made to police officers acting within the scope of their duties is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. Compare State v. Davidson (1998), 131 Ohio App. 3d 607 where a purpose to mislead a public official in the performance of the official's official function was an element.

State v. Coyne (1980), 69 Ohio App. 2d 63 -- Signing another's name to a notarized odometer reading disclosure statement, which is otherwise accurate, does not violate the falsification statute.

State v. Ritchey (1988), 52 Ohio App. 3d 103 -- Maneuvers to keep an AIDS program functioning while receipt of grant funds was delayed did not constitute falsification as defendant's acts were not done with purpose to mislead supervisors and the compensation paid those performing the work was not a "benefit" within the meaning of R.C. 2921.13(A)(4).

State v. Parks (1983), 13 Ohio App. 3d 85 -- The issuance by a clerk of an OSU student ID card is not an "official function" within the meaning of the falsification statute. Therefore, a person seeking an ID using his brother's name is not guilty of falsification.

Findlay v. Coy (1991), 76 Ohio App. 3d 189 -- (1) Court finds that material forwarded to the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services, which was not to be released or used in any court proceeding, could be used in falsification prosecution. (2) Falsification relating to improper receipt of benefits is a theft offense, permitting an order of restitution. (Statutory analysis is open to question.)

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