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State v. Keyser

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Summit

March 31, 2017

STATE OF OHIO Appellee
v.
JULIE KEYSER Appellant

         APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CR 2015-07-2207

          REBECCA M. BLACK, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          SHERRI BEVAN WALSH, Prosecuting Attorney, and HEAVEN DIMARTINO, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          CALLAHAN, Judge.

         {¶1} Appellant, Julie Keyser, appeals the judgment of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas denying her motion to suppress. For the reasons set forth below, this Court affirms.

         I.

         {¶2} Ms. Keyser was indicted on three counts: possession of heroin, illegal use or possession of drug paraphernalia, and possessing drug abuse instruments. She pled not guilty to the charges and filed a motion to suppress "any and all tangible or intangible evidence" obtained as a result of the illegal stop, detention, and questioning. Because this evidence includes the heroin, the issue is not forfeited. The trial court excluded her statements and needles, but did not suppress the heroin found after her arrest. Ms. Keyser pled no contest to an amended count of possession of drugs and was found guilty. Based on the suppression ruling, the State dismissed the remaining counts. The State did not appeal the suppression of the statements or the needles. Ms. Keyser timely appeals the denial of the motion to suppress the heroin.

         II.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

         THE TRIAL COURT ERRED AS A MATTER OF LAW, IN VIOLATION OF MS. KEYSER'S FOURTH, FIFTH, AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT RIGHTS UNDER THE U.S. CONSTITUTION AND ARTICLE I OF THE OHIO CONSTITUTION IN ITS APPLICATION OF THE LAW TO THE FACTS OF HER SEIZURE, CUSTODIAL INTERROGATION, ARREST, AND THE POLICE'S SEARCH OF HER VEHICLE.

         {¶3} Ms. Keyser's sole assignment of error is that the trial court erred in violation of her rights under the Self-Incrimination Clause of the Ohio Constitution by failing to suppress the heroin found as a direct result of a Miranda violation. While Ms. Keyser lists both the United States and Ohio Constitutions in her assignment of error, her argument is limited to the Ohio Constitution. This Court disagrees.

         {¶4} 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). Thus, a reviewing court "must accept the trial court's findings of fact if they are supported by competent, credible evidence." Burnside at ¶ 8, citing State v. Fanning, 1 Ohio St.3d 19, 20 (1982). "Accepting these facts as true, the appellate court must then independently determine, without deference to the conclusion of the trial court, whether the facts satisfy the applicable legal standard." Burnside at ¶ 8, citing State v. McNamara, 124 Ohio App.3d 706, 710 (4th Dist.1997). Therefore, this Court grants deference to the trial court's findings of fact, but conducts a de novo review of whether the trial court applied the appropriate legal standard to those facts. State v. Booth, 151 Ohio App.3d 635, 2003-Ohio-829, ¶ 12 (9th Dist).

         Trial Court's Findings of Fact

         {¶5} Officers Tassone and Westlake of the Akron Police Department were conducting a routine patrol of the parking lot of Gatsby's Strip Club. The parking lot is a high drug area. The officers were looking for individuals who remain inside their cars, because this type of activity is a red ...


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