Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Clermont
APPEAL FROM CLERMONT COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS Case No.
Vincent Faris, Clermont County Prosecuting Attorney, Nicholas
Horton, for plaintiff-appellee.
T. Goldberg, for defendant-appellant.
1} Defendant-appellant, Perry Workman, appeals his
convictions in the Clermont County Court of Common Pleas
after pleading no contest to trafficking in drugs within the
vicinity of a juvenile and corrupting another with drugs.
2} Union Township police began to investigate
Workman's stepson on suspicion of participating in a
24-hour crime spree that included breaking and entering,
criminal damaging, obstruction, and pandering obscenity to a
juvenile. The stepson lived in Workman's home, and police
executed a search warrant there looking for items associated
with the stepson's alleged crimes, including clothing,
cellphones, and cigarette packages. During the search, police
located drugs throughout the house, including marijuana and
pills in the bedroom Workman shared with his wife, Amanda
3} Workman was indicted for trafficking in drugs,
corrupting another with drugs, and two counts of possession
of drugs. Workman moved to suppress the evidence, claiming
that the police's search exceeded the scope of the search
warrant. The trial court held a hearing on the matter, and
denied Workman's motion to suppress. Workman then agreed
to plead no contest to the trafficking and corrupting
charges, and the two possession charges were dismissed. The
trial court accepted Workman's pleas as validly made, and
sentenced Workman to five years on the trafficking charge,
and one year on the corrupting charge. The trial court
ordered the sentences to be served consecutively, for an
aggregate prison term of six years. Workman now appeals his
convictions and sentence, raising the following assignments
4} Assignment of Error No. 1:
5} THE TRIAL COURT ERRED TO THE PREJUDICE OF MR.
WORKMAN IN DENYING HIS MOTION TO SUPPRESS.
6} Workman argues in his first assignment of error
that this motion to suppress should have been granted because
officers exceeded the scope of the warrant when searching his
7} Appellate review of a ruling on a motion to
suppress presents a mixed question of law and fact. State
v. Cochran, 12th Dist. Preble No. CA2006-10-023,
2007-Ohio-3353. Acting as the trier of fact, the trial court
is in the best position to resolve factual questions and
evaluate witness credibility. Id. Therefore, when
reviewing the denial of a motion to suppress, a reviewing
court is bound to accept the trial court's findings of
fact if they are supported by competent, credible evidence.
State v. Oatis, 12th Dist. Butler No. CA2005-03-074,
2005-Ohio-6038. "An appellate court, however,
independently reviews the trial court's legal conclusions
based on those facts and determines, without deference to the
trial court's decision, whether as a matter of law, the
facts satisfy the appropriate legal standard."
Cochran at ¶ 12.
8} The permissible scope of a search is governed by
the terms set forth in the search warrant. State v.
Simmons, 12th Dist. Warren No. CA2004-11-138,
2005-Ohio-7036. If the search's scope exceeds that
permitted by the terms of the search warrant, the subsequent
seizure is unconstitutional unless a recognized exception
applies. Id. "A lawful search of fixed premises
generally extends to the entire area in which the object of
the search may be found and is not limited by the possibility
that separate acts of entry or opening may be required to
complete the search." United States v. Ross,
456 U.S. 798, 820-821, 102 S.Ct. 2157 (1982).
9} According to the terms of the search warrant,
police were authorized to search Workman's house for
evidence relating to crimes being investigated by police and
alleged to have been perpetrated by Workman's stepson who