Appeal from the Stark County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2012CR1162
For Plaintiff-Appellee JOHN D. FERRERO, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY, STARK COUNTY, OHIO RENEE M. WATSON Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Appellate Section
For Defendant-Appellant AARON KOVALCHIK
JUDGES: Hon. William B. Hoffman, P.J. Hon. Sheila G. Farmer, J. Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, J.
(¶1} Defendant-appellant Michael Young Ackerson appeals his conviction for possession of marijuana entered by the Stark County Court of Common Pleas. Plaintiff-appellee is the state of Ohio.
STATEMENT OF THE FACTS AND CASE
(¶2} On July 28, 2012, Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Shaun Mollohan and Lieutenant Les Marino of the Canton Police Department noticed a black Ford F150 with a yellow motorcycle on the back of the truck, which appeared to be exceeding the posted speed limit. Trooper Mollohan observed the truck make an improper lane change within an intersection and then proceed to drive on a closed roadway.
(¶3} The officers initiated a traffic stop, asking Appellant for proof of ownership of the motorcycle. Appellant responded he did not have proof of ownership of the motorcycle, as he had recently purchased the motorcycle and title was to be mailed to him. Trooper Mollohan stated he wished to run the motorcycle's registration and VIN number through the appropriate databases. He asked Appellant if he could search the vehicle, and Appellant declined while using his key fob to lock the truck.
(¶4} Trooper Mollohan requested Lieutenant Marino provide K-9 assistance. The K-9 subsequently alerted on the truck, where two suitcases were found in the cab containing bales of marijuana weighing 50 lbs.
(¶5} Subsequently, Appellant was cited with driving on the left side of the roadway. Appellant was also charged with one count of possession of marijuana, in violation of R.C. 2925.11(A)(C)(3)(f), a felony of the second degree.
(¶6} On October 12, 2012, Appellant filed a motion to suppress. On October 17, 2012, the trial court conducted a hearing on Appellant's motion. The trial court made the following findings on the record during the hearing:
(¶7} "The Court: It's sometimes hard for individuals to understand the status of the law right now and the fact is that once a law enforcement officer latches on to you in terms of wanting to check you out, they can. Whether it's a change of lane, not a complete stop at a stop sign, rolling through it, 36 in a 35, whatever they can articulate, some traffic problem, even though it's a pretext to stop you, the courts have said that's okay.
(¶8} "And that's what we have here. He's admitted they were going to get you one way or the other to stop and they did. And the stop ...