Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Mary Catherine O'Neill Corrigan
Jordan & Sidoti L.L.P.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor By: Brandon A. Piteo Assistant County
BEFORE: Blackmon, J., McCormack, P.J., and Jones, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
PATRICIA ANN BLACKMON, J.
Appellant Anthony Richmond ("Richmond") appeals
from the denial of his motion to suppress evidence obtained
during a search of his vehicle. He assigns the following
error for our review:
trial court erred by failing to grant [Richmond's] motion
Having reviewed the record and pertinent law, we affirm the
trial court's decision.
On June 16, 2016, Richmond was indicted for one count of
having a weapon while under disability, and one count of
carrying a concealed weapon with a furthermore clause
alleging that the weapon was loaded. Both charges also
contained forfeiture specifications. Richmond moved to
suppress the evidence against him, arguing that it was
obtained as the result of a pretextual and unlawful stop. In
opposition, the state argues that the officers' initial
approach was a consensual encounter and that after this
encounter, the officers had reasonable suspicion and probable
cause to justify the subsequent search of the car.
On August 22, 2016, the trial court held a hearing on the
motion to suppress. The state's evidence demonstrated
that around midnight on June 1, 2016, Cleveland police
officers Stephen McGrath and James McClellan assisted another
unit with the investigation of a domestic violence complaint
at East 79th Street near Cedar Avenue. They began patrolling
for the suspect, who reportedly fled on foot. The officers
drove slowly from the location of the domestic violence
incident, looking for the perpetrator. The windows of their
cruiser were down. The officers smelled marijuana and
observed two individuals sitting in a parked vehicle on East
78th Street near Cedar Avenue. No one else was in the area,
and the officers determined that the smell of marijuana was
coming from the parked car. The officers parked the zone car
and approached the occupants of the parked car.
Officer McGrath asked the occupants if they had marijuana in
the car, and Richmond replied that they had already smoked
all of it. The officers observed an open container of
Hennessy liquor on the passenger seat of the car so they had
both occupants exit the car and detained them inside the zone
car in order to do an investigatory search of Richmond's
vehicle. During the investigatory search, the officers found
a loaded .38 Ruger handgun under the driver's seat. The
officers additionally discovered a small bag of marijuana
during a pat down of Richmond.
The trial court denied the motion to suppress and Richmond
pled no contest to the charges. The trial court subsequently
found him guilty of both charges and sentenced him to a total
of 30 months of imprisonment. Richmond now appeals.
In his sole assigned error, Richmond argues that the trial
court erred in denying his motion to suppress because the
initial stop was unlawful.
In State v. Burnside,100 Ohio St.3d 152,
2003-Ohio-5372, 797 N.E.2d 71, the Ohio Supreme Court set
forth the standard of review of a ...