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State of Ohio v. Katherine Studley

October 28, 2011


(Criminal appeal from Municipal Court) T.C. NO. CRB 1001086

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

Cite as State v. Studley,


{¶1} This matter is before the Court on the Notice of Appeal of Katherine Studley, filed December 6, 2010. On May 25, 2010, Officer David Holley of the Beavercreek Police Department cited Studley for underage possession/consumption of alcohol, a misdemeanor of the first degree, in violation of R.C. 4301.69(E), and possession of drug paraphernalia, in violation of R.C. 2925.14, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. Studley pled not guilty on June 7, 2010, and she also filed a motion to suppress. On November 19, 2010, after a hearing, the Fairborn Municipal Court overruled Studley's motion to suppress. Studley pled no contest to both charges. The municipal court fined Studley $100.00 for each offense, and sentenced her to 60 days in jail, suspended, for the first degree misdemeanor and to 30 days, suspended, for the misdemeanor of the fourth degree.

{¶2} At the suppression hearing, Officer Holley testified that on May 25, 2010, around 3:15 a.m., he was on routine patrol, in a marked cruiser, when he observed a blue Ford van driving approximately 30 miles per hour, "slower than the average traffic, which is 40 miles an hour," on Indian Ripple Road. Holley testified the van was "slowing near the intersections but not turning." The van then turned into a residential plat near I-675. Holley stated that he ran the license plate and determined that the car was registered to an owner at an address in Riverside.

{¶3} Holley testified that he was aware of approximately 40 vehicle break-ins and thefts in the area within the last month. Holley testified that no one had been apprehended in connection with the thefts. As he continued to follow the van through the plat, he "noticed the passengers in the back kept looking back at me, moving around from side to side, leaning forward and backwards." Holley "didn't know if they were hiding anything or trying to conceal items from me."*fn1 Holley stated that the vehicle slowed down and then sped back up through intersections, and that it eventually circled back near to the area where he had initially observed it. Holley testified that, based upon his training and experience, the "sporadic" driving pattern suggested to him that the occupants of the vehicle might be "scouting the area for vehicles to break in, open garages."

{¶4} Holley initiated a traffic stop as the van approached Indian Ripple, having followed the van for four or five minutes. He informed the driver, Alan Reddy, "* * * the reason I stopped him was we've had a lot of vehicle break-ins, to me his driving seemed suspicious and I didn't know what was going on and all his passengers were looking back at me, seemed to be concealing items." Reddy responded that he was just aimlessly driving around with his friends before they proceeded home. Reddy did produce a valid driver's license. Holley asked Reddy if there was anything illegal in the vehicle, and he asked him if he could search the van for any items that could be stolen. Reddy consented to the search.

{¶5} Officer Duncan arrived on the scene and, for officer safety, Holley asked Reddy and the three passengers in the back seat, one of whom was Studley, to step out of the van. Reddy and the passengers remained with Duncan while Holley searched the van. In the course of his search, Holley discovered a bottle of margarita mix, containing alcohol, that was half full. According to Holley, the bottle "was in between the passenger seat and the driver['s] seat in the middle - - I would call it the cowl (sic) of the van and it was in between all four compartments." Holley stated that Studley identified the bottle as hers voluntarily.

{¶6} Duncan advised Holley that he detected alcohol on the breath of Studley and another female passenger. Holley observed that Studley's and the other female passenger's eyes were glassy and red, and that they smelled of alcohol. Holley stated that he administered the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. He testified that Studley "had nystagmus in her eyes." Holley testified that he placed Studley under arrest, advised her of her rights, and put her in the cruiser. The following exchange occurred:

{¶7} "Q. And she admitted the alcohol was hers?

{¶8} "A. Yes.

{¶9} "Q. Okay. And then what happened?

{¶10} "A. Upon arresting Miss Studley, I also located a pipe for smoking marijuana in her purse.

{¶11} "Q. Okay. Did she identify the purse as being hers?

{¶12} "A. Yes.

{¶13} "Q. Did she have it on her?

{¶14} "A. It was inside the van.

{¶15} "Q. She said it was her purse?

{¶16} "A. Yes, she did.

{¶17} " * * *

{¶18} "A. She also furthered (sic) to tell me that the marijuana pipe was a friend's she was holding for her in her purse and she had forgotten that it was in there.

{¶19} "Q. Did you ask her any questions about the pipe?

{ΒΆ20} "A. After I arrested and Mirandized her and she told me the only thing she knew that it was a friend from college and ...

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