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State v. Wilkins

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District

June 9, 2008

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
DION G. WILKINS, Defendant-Appellant.


William E Peelle, Clinton County Prosecuting Attorney, David M. Henry, for plaintiff-appellee

Rose & Dobyns Co., L.P.A., Blaise Underwood, for defendant-appellant



{¶1} Appellant, Dion Wilkins, appeals his conviction in the Clinton County Court of Common Pleas for drug trafficking. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

{¶2} The Clinton County Sheriff's Office received citizen complaints that Rebecca Workman was selling marijuana from her apartment in Wilmington, Ohio. Sergeant Douglas Eastes initiated a controlled buy using a confidential informant and marijuana was obtained. Thereafter, Sgt. Eastes submitted an affidavit in support of a search warrant for the premises and any and all persons located therein. The search warrant was issued.

{¶3} Upon execution of the warrant, the sheriff's deputies located cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, and marijuana in the master bedroom of the apartment, along with other drug paraphernalia. No persons were present in the apartment when the search was initiated. Based on employment documents found in the home, a deputy obtained Workman from her place of employment and brought her to the apartment. Workman indicated to the deputies that the cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin belonged to appellant, who was her boyfriend.

{¶4} The deputies asked Workman to get appellant to come to the apartment so he could be searched pursuant to the warrant. From the sheriff's office, she telephoned appellant and told him that her apartment had been broken into and asked that he come there. When appellant arrived at the apartment, he was searched by the deputies and placed into custody. Crack cocaine and heroin in capsules were found on his person. During the ongoing search, firearms were also discovered in a box on a shelf in a closet in the living room of the apartment. Workman indicated that the firearms did not belong to her, and that she was unaware of their presence in her apartment, though they were discovered in a box packed by Workman of clothing belonging to Workman's prior boyfriend. Ammunition for each of the two guns was found in the master bedroom of the apartment. A sales receipt for ammunition and surveillance video from a Wal-Mart store indicate the ammunition was purchased by appellant.

{¶5} After a trial by jury, appellant was convicted for trafficking in cocaine in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(2), a second-degree felony, with a special finding that the amount of cocaine was an amount equal to or exceeding ten grams but less than 100 grams; trafficking in crack cocaine in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(2), with a special finding that the amount of crack cocaine was exceeding ten grams but less than 25 grams; and trafficking in heroin, in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(2). On each count, the jury made a special finding that the offense was committed within the vicinity of a juvenile, and the defendant had a firearm on or about his person or under his control while committing the offense. Appellant was also convicted of having weapons while under a disability in violation of R.C. 2913.23(A)(3), a third-degree felony. In a separate case based on unrelated events, appellant was also charged with trafficking in marijuana in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(1), a felony of the first degree. The cases were consolidated for purposes of trial, and Appellant was convicted on that charge, as well. He was sentenced to 15 years 4 months imprisonment for the offenses. Appellant appeals his conviction, raising four assignments of error:

{¶6} Appellant's first assignment of error states:


{¶8} Appellant argued in the trial court that all evidence found on his person at the time of his arrest should have been suppressed. Appellant argued that it was a violation of his constitutional rights for the police officers to lure him to the apartment under false pretenses. Appellant also argued that police officers did not have the authority to search him pursuant to the warrant. The trial court determined that it was not unconstitutional for the police to lure appellant to the apartment. It also determined that at the time appellant presented at the apartment, the officers executing the search had probable cause to believe appellant was engaged in illegal activity because of the information they received during the search. Appellant argues on appeal that the trial court's decision was in error.

{¶9} Because appellate review of a ruling on a motion to suppress evidence presents mixed questions of law and fact, a reviewing court must accept the trial court's findings of fact if they are supported by competent, credible evidence and then determine as a matter of law, without deferring to the trial court's conclusions, whether the trial court applied the appropriate legal standard. State v. Baker, Preble App. No. CA2007-04-009, 2008-Ohio-1884, ¶8. On appeal, appellant again asserts that his constitutional rights were violated when the police lured him to the apartment by having Workman call him. Appellant cites no law in support of this proposition, and we know of none. In the alternative, appellant argues that the officers did not have the authority under the search warrant to search him because the warrant was an "all persons" warrant. See State v. Kinney, 83 Ohio St.3d 85, 91, 1998-Ohio-425. During the search of the apartment, the officers discovered a large amount of drugs and equipment related to drug distribution. Workman identified the material as belonging to appellant. We find, as the trial court did, that it was not necessary for the officers to rely on the "all persons" portion of the warrant to ...

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