Appeals court upholds retaliation ruling

Larry Limpf

News Editor

A judgment of the Ottawa County Common Pleas Court convicting a woman of six counts of retaliation has been upheld by an appellate court.
The primary piece of evidence in the case was a one-minute message left by Jeannett Horn in December 2020 on the voicemail of a detective of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office. In the voicemail, Horn identified six public officials in the county area and asked the detective to “tell them I want my money, or they can kiss their kids goodbye and if I don’t get my ……… money in the next 24 hours, they’re going to be dead in the next four weeks.”
The officials she named had been involved in an earlier case against her in the common pleas court where she was convicted of drug possession and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
For the retaliation case, she was indicted in December 2020 of committing six counts of retaliation – one count for each person she threatened – all third degree felonies.
She was served with a warrant in January 2022 and extradited from Alabama to Ottawa County.
At the retaliation trial, also in the common pleas court, Horn testified she had intended to bring a civil suit against the six officials and wanted to request paperwork such as subpoenas and transcripts from her drug trial when she made the calls.
The common pleas court convicted her of six counts of retaliation and following a pre-sentence investigation she was sentenced to community control for five years and ordered to undergo mental health and substance abuse treatment.
In her appeal to the Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals, Horn argued the evidence was insufficient to support a finding she was guilty of retaliation.
“In closing, while Ms. Horn’s statements were inappropriate and heated they did not rise to the level of Retaliation. They were not true threats and were not intended to be conveyed to the named individuals. They were frustrations, not threats,” her brief to the appeals court says.
But the appeals court ruled otherwise.
“In short, Horn admits to make the call and that the words were hers. Therefore, because there is evidence that Horn specifically intended to engage in the conduct at issue – i.e., leaving a threatening voicemail – there is sufficient evidence that her conduct was purposeful,” the court wrote. “And, because Horn communicated her threats via telephone, her threats were ‘unlawful’ because they violated the Ohio Revised Code telecommunications harassment statute, which provides that ‘no person shall make or cause be made a telecommunication … with purpose to abuse, threaten, or harass another person.’”


The Press

The Press
1550 Woodville Road
Millbury, OH 43447

(419) 836-2221

Email Us

Facebook Twitter

Ohio News Media Association