Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Ashley L. Jones
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor, Amanda Hall Assistant Prosecuting Attorney
BEFORE: E.T. Gallagher, J., Keough, A.J., and Boyle, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
T. GALLAGHER, JUDGE
Defendant-appellant, Michael Jackson ("Jackson"),
appeals from the judgment of the Cuyahoga County Court of
Common Pleas denying his motion to suppress evidence. He
raises the following assignment of error for review:
The trial court erred in denying defendant-appellant's
motion to suppress, and the trial court's decision must
After careful review of the record and relevant case law, we
reverse the trial court's judgment and remand for
proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Procedural and Factual History
In November 2015, Jackson was named in a three-count
indictment, charging him with carrying a concealed weapon in
violation of R.C. 2923.12(A)(2); improperly handling a
firearm in a motor vehicle in violation of R.C. 2923.16(B);
and having weapons while under disability in violation of
In February 2016, Jackson filed a motion to suppress evidence
seized from his person as a result of a traffic stop. The
state filed a brief in opposition, and a suppression hearing
was held in March 2016.
At the suppression hearing, Detective Carl Robinson
("Det. Robinson") testified that he is a detective
with the Cleveland Police, Narcotic Gang Unit. Det. Robinson
explained that detectives in the Gang Unit conduct
neighborhood sweeps and often make "normal stops"
during their patrols. He stated:
If we see anything that looks suspicious on the streets, we
stop and investigate it. Guys hanging around on the corners,
in front of the stores, drug activity. Anything like that we
would stop and check it out.
With respect to the night in question, Det. Robinson
testified that in October 2015, he was patrolling with
Detective David Siefer ("Det. Siefer") in an area
of Cleveland known for "heavy gang activity." At
approximately 11:00 p.m., the detectives observed a
suspicious vehicle parked on the side of the road. Det.
Robinson testified that the vehicle was running and had three
occupants inside. Based on this observation, Det. Robinson
activated his overhead lights and initiated a traffic stop.
Det. Robinson summarized the stop as follows:
We were in the area of 93rd and Raymond going westbound from
102 on Raymond. We got like halfway down the block a little
further, we saw a car sitting with three occupants in it.
We pulled the car over. We activated our lights, got out of
the car. I approached the driver. We did an investigatory
stop and saw an open bottle. Detective Siefer saw the driver
drinking what he thought to be a bottle of liquor.
Det. Robinson testified that he asked Jackson, who was
sitting in the driver's seat of the vehicle, for his
driver's license. Jackson indicated that he did not have
his license on him at that time. Det. Robinson testified that
during this initial conversation, he observed an open bottle
of liquor in the center console of Jackson's vehicle.
Det. Robinson stated that Jackson appeared "fidgety and
nervous" and "kept reaching towards his right"
despite Det. Robinson's commands to not reach for
anything. Det. Robinson testified that he asked Jackson to
step out of the vehicle in order to investigate what Jackson
was reaching for on his right side. Jackson complied with
Det. Robinson's instruction, but removed his jacket
before exiting the vehicle. Believing something inside
Jackson's jacket posed a safety concern, Det. Robinson