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State v. Knapp

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Perry

May 15, 2017

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
ANTHONY J. KNAPP Defendant-Appellant

         Appeal from the Perry County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 15-CR-0068

         Affirmed.

          For Plaintiff-Appellee JOSEPH A. FLAUTT Prosecuting Attorney.

          For Defendant-Appellant JAMES S. SWEENEY James Sweeney Law, LLC.

          Hon. W. Scott Gwin, P.J. Hon. John W. Wise, J. Hon. Craig R. Baldwin, J.

          OPINION

          Baldwin, J.

         {¶1} 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.

         STATEMENT OF THE FACTS AND CASE

         {¶2} 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.

         {¶3} 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.

         {¶4} 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.

         {¶5} 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.

         {¶6} 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.

         {¶7} 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 ...


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