from the Perry County Court of Common Pleas, Case No.
Plaintiff-Appellee JOSEPH A. FLAUTT Prosecuting Attorney.
Defendant-Appellant JAMES S. SWEENEY James Sweeney Law, LLC.
W. Scott Gwin, P.J. Hon. John W. Wise, J. Hon. Craig R.
Defendant-appellant Anthony J. Knapp appeals the overruling
by the Perry County Court of Common Pleas of his Motion to
Suppress. Plaintiff-appellee is the State of Ohio.
OF THE FACTS AND CASE
On October 20, 2015, the Perry County Grand Jury indicted
appellant on one count of aggravated possession of drugs in
violation of R.C. 2925.11 (A) and (C)(1)(a), a felony of the
fifth degree, and one count of tampering with evidence in
violation of R.C. 2921.12(A)(1), a felony of the third
degree. At his arraignment on January 21, 2016, appellant
entered a plea of not guilty to the charges.
On May 5, 2016, appellant filed a Motion to Suppress.
Appellant, in his motion, argued that the "statements
obtained by law enforcement in their custodial interrogation
of him were obtained without following the required
procedural safeguards of Miranda v. Arizona, 384
U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed. (2d) 694
(1966)…" A hearing on appellant's motion was
held on June 14, 2016.
At the hearing, Sergeant David Briggs of the Perry County
Sheriffs Office testified that he was on patrol as a deputy
on June 11, 2015 and was in uniform in a marked cruiser. He
testified that he observed a Pontiac Grand Prix that, a few
months earlier, he had observed at residences known for or
suspected of narcotics trafficking. Sergeant Briggs testified
that he ran the vehicle registration and that while he was
waiting for information, he saw the vehicle pull into a
Circle K and the driver and passenger exit the same and walk
into the store. He testified that appellant was the driver.
After learning that the vehicle registration was expired,
Sergeant Briggs waited for appellant and his passenger to get
back into the vehicle. He testified that he followed the
vehicle and that, after it came to a complete stop, the
passenger jumped out and began running towards the back of
the vehicle. Sergeant Briggs then activated his lights,
ordered the passenger back into the vehicle and approached
appellant. According to him, appellant appeared to be nervous
and his hands were trembling. Appellant admitted that his
driver's license was suspended and further admitted to
knowing that his vehicle registration was expired. While
appellant was under several license suspensions, his
passenger had a felony warrant out of Fairfield County on a
narcotics violation. The passenger was placed under arrest.
Sergeant Briggs testified that he called Chief Ball to secure
the passenger and then retrieved his K-9 from his cruiser to
conduct a free air search of appellant's vehicle. The
Sergeant was unable to secure individuals in his own cruiser
or transport them due to having the K-9 in his cruiser. While
the Sergeant was arresting the passenger, appellant was in
the driver's seat of the vehicle. When asked the result
of the search, Sergeant Briggs testified that his K-9
indicated that there were illegal narcotics on the
driver's side of appellant's vehicle. The Sergeant
then searched appellant's vehicle after having appellant
exit the same and stand at the back of the vehicle.
Appellant, who was informed that the K-9 had alerted to the
presence of illegal narcotics, was not told that he was under
detention or could not leave at that time. During a search of
appellant's vehicle, Sergeant Briggs found two jewelry
bags in the liquid contained within a polar pop cup which was
in the center console of the vehicle. He previously had seen
appellant exit the store with a polar pop cup in his hand.
When asked if the polar pop cup was his, appellant admitted
that it was and told Sergeant Briggs that it contained
methamphetamines. Appellant told him that he had put the
methamphetamines in the cup when he was being pulled over.
According to Sergeant Briggs, appellant, prior to the initial
questioning, was not told that he was being detained and was
not free to leave and was not handcuffed. He further
testified that appellant was not placed in the back of his
cruiser and never asked if he could leave. Before
interviewing appellant for the second time, Sergeant ...