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State of Ohio v. Michael Craver

October 28, 2011

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
MICHAEL CRAVER
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



(Criminal Appeal from Common Pleas Court) Trial Court Case No. 09-CR-142

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

Cite as State v. Craver,

OPINION

{¶1} Defendant-appellant Michael Craver appeals from his conviction and sentence, following a no-contest plea, for Felonious Assault, in violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(2), and Fleeing and Eluding, in violation of R.C. 2921.331(B). He contends that the trial court erred in overruling his motion to suppress evidence upon the ground that the evidence was obtained as a result of an unlawful search and seizure.

{¶2} We conclude that the trial court did not err in overruling Craver's motion to suppress. The evidence adduced at the suppression hearing established that Craver was detained for only a few seconds while Beavercreek Police Officer Charmaine Hall struggled, unsuccessfully, to prevent Craver from starting his engine and departing the scene, and that no evidence was obtained as a result of this brief detention. Furthermore, we agree with the trial court that Officer Hall had a reasonable and articulable suspicion that Craver had committed an offense, justifying a brief, investigative detention. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is Affirmed.

I

{¶3} While Beavercreek Police Officer Charmaine Hall was at a Meijer store for an unrelated reason, she noticed a gray Cadillac with its hood up parked in a fire lane near the store. She pulled in behind the vehicle, walked around the vehicle, and saw that the keys were in the ignition, and that what "seemed like oil or some type of fluid had been spit or sprayed about in the vehicle," giving her the impression that it was disabled. No one was inside the Cadillac.

{¶4} Hall got back in her cruiser and called dispatch to ask that the Meijer management be called to see if management knew why the Cadillac was parked in the fire lane. While she was waiting for a response, she noticed Craver exiting the Meijer store, pushing a cart. Hall had previously checked the registration on the Cadillac, and had determined that it was registered to a female. Craver went to the right front end of the Cadillac.

{¶5} Hall testified concerning what followed:

{¶6} "A. I get out of the car to - I'm questioning him if it is his vehicle. He advised me that it is his vehicle, and he and I begin to converse as I'm walking towards the front of the Cadillac. He is explaining to me why the vehicle is in the fire lane.

{¶7} " * * *

{¶8} "Q. And what was the explanation for why it was in the fire lane?

{¶9} "A. He advised me his vehicle had broke down, he couldn't find anybody to help him push it, and that was more-or-less where it came to stop.

{¶10} "Q. What did you do then?

{¶11} "A. He and I continued to discuss it. I ask him for identification and he walks in front of the vehicle to go to the driver door to get in because he tells me his identification is in the car.

{¶12} "As he's getting into the car, I also asked him for a receipt for the merchandise that I see in the cart. He -

{¶13} "Q. I'm sorry to interrupt you, Officer. I'm going to back up for just a moment.

{¶14} "Why did you ask him for his identification?

{¶15} "A. Because the vehicle is returning to a female, and I needed to identify who he was, possible violation of the fire lane, that he may have been issued a ticket if, you know, I needed to do so. And to determine if he was allowed to be in that vehicle since it was not his vehicle.

{¶16} "Q. What if anything caused you to ask him for a receipt for the merchandise in the cart?

{¶17} "A. There was merchandise in the cart as well as underneath, and the merchandise in the cart was covered by what appeared to be a brand new towel that would just have come out of the store.

{¶18} "Q. What was it that made you believe it was brand new?

{¶19} "A. I could see the folds in it like someone had just taken it off the shelf and unfolded it. To me it gave the appearance that it was a brand new towel.

{¶20} "Q. The merchandise that was underneath the towel, could you see some of that merchandise?

{¶21} "A. Yes.

{¶22} "Q. Was any of that merchandise bagged?

{¶23} "A. No.

{ΒΆ24} "Q. And the towels were ...


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