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State of Ohio v. Matthew Jessee

September 30, 2011

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
MATTHEW JESSEE
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



T.C. CASE NO. 09CR3201/1 (Criminal Appeal from Common Pleas Court)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Grady, P.J.:

Cite as State v. Jessee,

OPINION

{¶1} On September 28, 2009, at 6:44 p.m., Dayton police officer Dan Zwiesler observed a vehicle driven by Defendant Matthew Jessee make an abrupt right hand turn from Hoover Avenue onto Westwood Avenue. Defendant failed to signal his intention to turn prior to making the turn. Officer Zwiesler immediately initiated a traffic stop of Defendant's vehicle for failing to signal the turn.

{¶2} When Officer Zwiesler approached the vehicle, Defendant was rolling down his window. The first thing Officer Zwiesler noticed was the overpowering smell of raw marijuana in the vehicle.

From his experience as a Dayton police officer, Zwiesler recognized the odor because he has smelled the odor of raw marijuana over one thousand times.

{¶3} As a result of smelling the odor of raw marijuana coming from Defendant's vehicle, Officer Zwiesler decided to search the vehicle's passenger compartment. After Defendant and his three passengers were removed from the vehicle, Officer Zwiesler discovered a clear, gallon-size freezer bag half full of marijuana underneath the front edge of the driver's seat.

{¶4} Defendant was indicted on one count of possession of marijuana, between two hundred and one thousand grams, a fifth degree felony in violation of R.C. 2925.11(A). Defendant filed a motion to suppress evidence and his statements to police. The trial court overruled the motion following a hearing. Defendant entered a plea of no contest to the charge and was found guilty.

The trial court sentenced Defendant to five years of community control sanctions.

{¶5} Defendant timely appealed to this court from his conviction and sentence. Defendant's appellate counsel filed an Anders brief, Anders v. California (1967), 386 U.S. 738, 87 S.Ct. 1396, 19 L.Ed.2d 493, stating that he could find no meritorious issues for appellate review. We notified Defendant of his appellate counsel's representations and afforded him ample time to file a pro se brief. None has been received. This case is now before us for our independent review of the record. Penson v. Ohio (1988), 488 U.S. 75, 109 S.Ct. 346, 102 L.Ed.2d 300.

{¶6} Defendant's appellate counsel has identified one possible issue for appeal: that the trial court erred in overruling Defendant's motion to suppress evidence.

{¶7} With respect to the stop and search of Defendant's vehicle, Defendant's failure to properly signal his turn, which Officer Zwiesler witnessed, constitutes a traffic violation and provides sufficient probable cause for the stop. Dayton v. Erickson, 76 Ohio St.3d 3, 1996-Ohio-431. The stop of Defendant's vehicle was therefore lawful.

{ΒΆ8} When Officer Zwiesler approached the driver's window, which Defendant rolled down, he immediately recognized the overpowering odor of raw marijuana coming from the vehicle ...


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