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State v. Thacker

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District

June 3, 2008

THE STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellant
v.
THOMAS E. THACKER Defendant-Appellee

Appeal from the Fairfield County Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Case No. 07-CR-0052.

GREGG MARX Licking County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Pickerington, For Plaintiff-Appellant

JAMES L. DYE For Defendant-Appellee

Hon. William B. Hoffman, P.J. Hon. Sheila G. Farmer, J. Hon. Julie A. Edwards, J.

OPINION

Hoffman, P.Judge.

{¶1} Plaintiff-appellant the State of Ohio appeals the May 29, 2007 Judgment Entry of the Fairfield County Court of Common Pleas granting Defendant-appellee Thomas E. Thacker's motion to suppress evidence.

STATEMENT OF THE FACTS AND CASE

{¶2} The following facts are not disputed on appeal: On March 23, 2006, Appellee was involved in an automobile accident with a horse-drawn buggy. The accident occurred at approximately 7:09 p.m. A breath-test was conducted on Appellee at approximately 9:18 p.m. Subsequently, Appellee was indicted on two counts of aggravated vehicular assault.

{¶3} On February 15, 2007, Appellee filed a motion to suppress the results of his breath test on the basis the test was not completed within the statutorily imposed time restriction, pursuant to R.C. 4511.19(D). Via Judgment Entry of May 29, 2007, the trial court granted the motion to suppress.

{¶4} The State now appeals, assigning as error:

{¶5} "I. THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED HARMFUL ERROR AS A MATTER OF LAW IN SUPPRESSING THE BREATH-TEST RESULTS BY IMPROPERLY APPLYING THE PRE-AMENDED VERSION OF R.C. §4511.19(D)(1)(B)."

{¶6} There are three methods of challenging on appeal a trial court's ruling on a motion to suppress. First, an appellant may challenge the trial court's findings of fact. In reviewing a challenge of this nature, an appellate court must determine whether said findings of fact are against the manifest weight of the evidence. See State v. Fanning (1982), 1 Ohio St.3d 19, 437 N.E.2d 583; State v. Klein (1991), 73 Ohio App.3d 486, 597 N.E.2d 1141; State v. Guysinger (1993), 86 Ohio App.3d 592, 621 N.E.2d 726. Second, an appellant may argue the trial court failed to apply the appropriate test or correct law to the findings of fact. In that case, an appellate court can reverse the trial court for committing an error of law. See State v. Williams (1993), 86 Ohio App.3d 37, 619 N.E.2d 1141, overruled on other grounds. Finally, assuming the trial court's findings of fact are not against the manifest weight of the evidence and it has properly identified the law to be applied, an appellant may argue the trial court has incorrectly decided the ultimate or final issue raised in the motion to suppress. When reviewing this type of claim, an appellate court must independently determine, without deference to the trial court's conclusion, whether the facts meet the appropriate legal standard in any given case. State v. Curry (1994), 95 Ohio App.3d 93, 641 N.E.2d 1172; State v. Claytor (1993), 85 Ohio App.3d 623, 620 N.E.2d 906; Guysinger, supra.

{¶7} In the case sub judice, the State contends the trial court applied the incorrect law to the stipulated facts. Accordingly, we review the trial court's ruling de novo.

{¶8} Appellant was charged with violating Ohio Revised Code Section 4511.19. Subsection (D) requires the collection of bodily substances for alcohol or drug testing be collected within a specified time of the violation. The current ...


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