APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF LORAIN, OHIO CASE No. 10CR080287
DENNIS P. WILL, Prosecuting Attorney, and NATASHA RUIZ GUERRIERI, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellant.
SHIMANE K. SMITH, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
(¶1} Appellant, the State of Ohio, appeals the judgment of the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas granting the motion to suppress filed by appellee, Ligeia Reid. This Court reverses and remands.
(¶2} This matter arises from a traffic stop on the Ohio Turnpike that occurred on January 5, 2010. On May 5, 2010, the Lorain County Grand Jury indicted Reid on one count of possession of drugs, a felony of the first degree, along with a major drug offender specification; one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree; and one count of possession of drugs, a minor misdemeanor. On July 28, 2010, the grand jury returned a supplemental indictment charging Reid with an additional count of possession of drugs, a felony of the second degree.
(¶3} On December 28, 2010, Reid filed a motion to suppress alleging that law enforcement had no basis to stop her vehicle. After a hearing, the trial court denied the motion on July 26, 2011. After several continuances, Reid filed a second motion to suppress challenging the search of her vehicle. The State filed a brief in opposition to the motion, and the trial court held a hearing on the matter. The trial court issued a journal entry granting the motion on July 30, 2012.
(¶4} The State filed a notice of appeal on August 1, 2012. On appeal, the State raises one assignment of error.
ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GRANTING MS. REID'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS AS THE EVIDENCE RECOVERED FROM HER VEHICLE WAS OBTAINED THROUGH A LEGAL SEARCH.
(¶5} In its first assignment of error, the State contends that the trial court erred in granting Reid's motion to suppress. This Court agrees.
(¶6} A motion to suppress evidence presents a mixed question of law and fact. State v. Burnside, 100 Ohio St.3d 152, 2003-Ohio-5372, ¶ 8. "When considering a motion to suppress, the trial court assumes the role of trier of fact and is therefore in the best position to resolve factual questions and evaluate the credibility of witnesses." Id., citing State v. Mills, 62 Ohio St.3d 357, 366 (1992). Generally, a reviewing court "must accept the trial court's findings of fact if they are supported by competent, credible evidence." Burnside at ¶ 8. The reviewing court must then "independently determine, without deference to the conclusion of the trial court, whether the facts satisfy the applicable legal standard." Id
(¶7} In order to initiate a valid traffic stop, an officer must have a "reasonable suspicion that a motorist was violating a traffic law." State v. Poole, 9th Dist. Medina No. 2336-M, 1995 WL 338477 (June 7, 1995). "[A]ny violation of a traffic law gives rise to a reasonable suspicion to make an investigatory stop of a vehicle." State v. Johnson, 9th Dist. Medina No. 03CA0127-M, 2004-Ohi ...