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State v. Jackson

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

April 13, 2017

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
MICHAEL H. JACKSON DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

         Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-15-600704-A

          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

          EILEEN T. GALLAGHER, JUDGE

         {¶1} 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 be reversed.

         {¶2} 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.

         I. Procedural and Factual History

         {¶3} 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 R.C. 2923.13(A)(3).

         {¶4} 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.

         {¶5} 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.

         {¶6} 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.

         {¶7} 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.

         {¶8} 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 ...


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