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State v. Vause

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District

September 18, 2013

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
GRETEL L. VAUSE Defendant-Appellant

Appeal from the Ashland Municpal Court, Case No. 13-CRB-0129AB

For Plaintiff-Appellee W. DAVID MONTAGUE Assistant Law Director.

For Defendant-Appellant KAREN DESANTO-KELLOGG.

William B. Hoffman, P.J. Hon. Sheila G. Farmer, J. Hon. Craig R. Baldwin, J.

OPINION

CRAIG R. BALDWIN, J.

(¶1} Defendant-appellant Gretel L. Vause appeals the denial by the Ashland Municipal Court of her Motion to Suppress. Plaintiff-appellee is the State of Ohio.

STATEMENT OF THE FACTS AND CASE

(¶2} On January 25, 2013, appellant was cited for disorderly conduct in violation of R.C. 2917.11(B)(2) and possession of drug paraphernalia in violation of Ashland City Ordinance 513.12(C)(1), both misdemeanors. Appellant pleaded not guilty to the charges.

(¶3} On February 14, 2013, appellant filed a Motion to Suppress the evidence seized from her person. Appellant, in her motion, argued that there was no probable cause to arrest her for disorderly conduct and that, therefore, the evidence was seized incident to an unlawful arrest.

(¶4} A hearing on appellant's motion was held February 25, 2013. At the hearing, Sergeant Jerry Bloodhart of the City of Ashland Police Division testified that on January 25, 2013, he initiated a traffic stop of a vehicle at 10:01 p.m. after the driver drove the wrong way on a street. Appellant was a passenger in the vehicle. Sergeant Bloodhart arrested the driver of the vehicle for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

(¶5} After arresting the driver, the Sergeant noticed that appellant's eyes were red and watery, that she had a strong odor of alcohol about her person, and that she was unsteady on her feet. Appellant admitted to the Sergeant that she was intoxicated and had been drinking. Because he believed that appellant was in no condition to drive the vehicle, Sergeant Bloodhart asked her if anyone could come and get her and the vehicle. He called the relative whose number appellant provided him with and the relative told the Sergeant that he did not want anything to do with appellant and refused to come and get her. Appellant did not provide the Sergeant with any other numbers. Because it was wintery, cold and dark outside and appellant was dressed in blue jeans, shoes and a Carhartt coat, Sergeant Bloodhart, who believed that appellant could not care for herself due to her intoxication, did not feel that it would be safe to let appellant sit in the vehicle that he had stopped or to let her walk the eleven miles to her home. The Sergeant then arrested appellant and took her to jail.

(¶6} Before placing appellant in his cruiser, another officer on the scene searched appellant and found a metal pipe with burnt residue on the ends in her coat pocket along with a hypodermic needle.

(¶7} On cross-examination, Sergeant Bloodhart testified that appellant was not passed out and was polite and cooperative during their entire contact. Appellant did not appear to be confused, was not swearing and was able to produce identification when asked to do so without any difficulty. The Sergeant testified that after the man he called refused to come and get appellant, he did not ask appellant for any other names to call. He also testified that he did not offer to give her ride to the Ashland Police Department or any other location. He further testified that he arrested appellant for disorderly conduct because she was intoxicated and had no responsible person who could come and get her and take care of her. The Sergeant testified that letting appellant, who was unsteady on her feet, walk down the road would create a risk of physical harm to her.

(ΒΆ8} As memorialized in a Judgment Entry filed on March 12, 2013, the trial court denied appellant's Motion to Suppress, finding that Sergeant Bloodhart had probable cause to charge appellant with disorderly conduct. The trial court, in its Judgment Entry, found that appellant, while intoxicated, had engaged in affirmative acts creating a significant risk of harm to herself. The trial court noted that appellant got into a car with a drunk driver and traveled miles from her residence with no responsible ...


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