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State v. Workman

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Clermont

May 15, 2017

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
PERRY J. WORKMAN, Defendant-Appellant.

         CRIMINAL APPEAL FROM CLERMONT COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS Case No. 2015CR00609

          D. Vincent Faris, Clermont County Prosecuting Attorney, Nicholas Horton, for plaintiff-appellee.

          Brian T. Goldberg, for defendant-appellant.

          OPINION

          PIPER, J.

         {¶ 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 Lilly.

         {¶ 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 of error.

         {¶ 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 bedroom.

         {¶ 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 ...


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