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City of Columbus v. Spingola
Ohio Court of Appeals
144 Ohio App. 3d 76 (2001)
An organization that served the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community obtained permission to fly the rainbow flag on the Ohio Statehouse lawn as part of a gay-pride celebration. Charles Spingola (defendant) protested on the statehouse lawn, climbed the flagpole, and cut down the rainbow flag. Spingola was charged with ethnic intimidation and the predicate offense of criminal damaging. Spingola testified at trial that he believed homosexuality was a sin. Spingola knew in advance that the rainbow flag would be flying but did not pursue alternative ways to remove the flag. The trial court denied Spingola’s request that the jury be instructed that the elements of necessity are that the act charged was done to prevent a significant harm, there was no adequate alternative, and the harm caused was not disproportionate to the harm avoided. Spingola was convicted of the lesser included offense of criminal damaging. Spingola argued on appeal that the trial court should have given Spingola’s requested jury instruction on the defense of necessity.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Kennedy, J.)
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