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State v. Rybarczyk

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Sixth District

July 5, 2013

State of Ohio Appellant.
v.
Jason Rybarczyk Appellee

Trial Court No. 2011CR0519

Paul A. Dobson, Prosecuting Attorney, Heather M. Baker and David E. Romaker, Jr., Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys, for appellant.

Thomas Sobecki, for appellee.

DECISION AND JUDGMENT

YARBROUGH, J.

I. Introduction

{¶ 1} Appellant, the state of Ohio, appeals from the judgment of the Wood County Court of Common Pleas, which suppressed incriminating statements made by appellee, Jason Rybarczyk, during a police interview. The trial court found that appellee's statements were made involuntarily. We affirm.

A. Facts and Procedural Background

{¶ 2} As part of their investigation into the alleged rape of a four-year old child, Detective Justin White and Detective Sergeant Doug Hartman of the Bowling Green Police Department approached appellee and requested to interview him. The interview took place in White's unmarked police car in the parking lot of the apartment building where appellee had been living. Appellee sat in the front passenger seat, while White sat in the driver's seat and Hartman sat in the back behind White. White and Hartman were dressed in street clothes, and although they were armed, their weapons were never visible to appellee. Testimony from the suppression hearing indicated that the car doors were unlocked and the windows were down throughout the interview.

{¶ 3} During the nearly two-hour long interview, which was audio recorded, White persistently sought to obtain a confession from appellee. White stated repeatedly that he knew that something had occurred between appellee and the child, and that appellee's DNA was found on the child, for example stating, "So what I am saying is we know that your DNA is there, and what I am saying is to why?" Notably, White's statements were an artifice; no DNA evidence existed.

{¶ 4} As appellee consistently denied White's allegations, White intensified the interview by conveying that appellee could get probation if he talked, otherwise he was going to jail for a long time. On one occasion, White went so far as to say,

I am talking this is something you can go to prison for for 15 to 20 years, all right? And we have got the two groups of people. We have got the group of people beside – two groups of normal people. We have got the group that is honest and forthright and apologizes for what happened and it was a mistake or it was an accident and it was taken the wrong way. Or we got the group of people that say, No, nothing ever happened. I never did that. And this group of people is the one that, for the most part, end up doing the 15 – 10 to 15 years. I just had one I did where the grandfather, you know, had a situation with a relative, okay, and he lied about it and he is doing 10 to 15 years. And I have plenty of other situations where I am sitting in a car with somebody, they are honest. They are like, yeah, I have been drinking this and that, it shouldn't have happened, it was a mistake, and they end up getting probation services to help themselves. And as long as they don't get in trouble on that probation – it is not a free ride. As long as they don't get in trouble on that probation, they end up to be able to clear up their lives and go on with their lives. Right now you are sitting at a crossroads which one of those you are going to take.

On another occasion, White stated,

I am throwing you a lifeline here, dude. I am throwing you a lifeline possibly on the difference between large amount of years in prison or just getting on probation or something or having your probation extended. And but the thing is is that second option isn't going to be available if you don't completely come forward.

{¶ 5} Despite White's efforts, appellee continued to consistently deny any inappropriate conduct. However, approximately one hour into the interview, appellee began to believe the officers' ruse that his DNA was found on the child. Appellee still denied that he ever made skin-to-skin contact with the child, but began attempting to justify how his DNA could have gotten there. Appellee recounted a time or two when he was horsing around with the child, and while the child was lying across another person's knee, appellee spanked her on the bottom. Appellee mentioned times where the child was up on his shoulders or straddling his knee. Appellee also recalled a time when he was playing a video game while watching the child and the child climbed onto his lap and was bouncing around. After a few minutes of the child bouncing, appellee noticed that his penis was becoming hard because of the contact, at which point he ordered the child off his lap. Finally, appellee ...


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