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State v. Newman

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Guernsey

May 30, 2017

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
REGINALD JEVON NEWMAN Defendant-Appellant

         Criminal Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 15 CR 80

          For Plaintiff-Appellee JOEL BLUE PROSECUTING ATTORNEY JASON R. FARLEY ASSISTANT PROSECUTOR.

          For Defendant-Appellant TERRENCE K. SCOTT ASSISTANT PUBLIC DEFENDER.

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

          OPINION

          WISE, JOHN, J.

         {¶1} Appellant Reginald Jevon Newman appeals his conviction, in the Court of Common Pleas, Guernsey County, on several felony counts, including cocaine trafficking and possession. Appellee is the State of Ohio. The relevant procedural facts leading to this appeal are as follows.

         {¶2} The State's criminal case against appellant developed out of a series of controlled drug purchases through a confidential police informant in February, March, and April 2015, and the subsequent execution of a search warrant at a residence on Fairground Road in Lore City, Ohio. The search warrant in question was signed by Guernsey County's probate/juvenile judge on April 16, 2015, although the form utilized the heading "Cambridge Municipal Court, Guernsey County, Ohio."

         {¶3} On August 7, 2015, appellant was indicted by the Guernsey County Grand Jury on two counts of trafficking in cocaine (R.C. 2925.03(C)(4)(d)), one count of trafficking in cocaine (R.C. 2925.03(C)(4)(e)), three counts of conspiracy to commit trafficking in cocaine (R.C. 2923.01), one count of illegal manufacture of drugs (R.C. 2925.04), one count of possession of cocaine (R.C. 2925.11(C)(4)(e)), two counts of possession of cocaine (R.C. 2925.11(C)(4)(a)), one count of possession of drugs (suboxone) (R.C. 2925.11(C)(2)(a)), and one count of possession of drugs (alprazolam) (R.C. 2925.11 (C)(2)(a)).

         {¶4} On September 4, 2015, appellant filed a motion to suppress evidence. The motion raised several grounds, including the argument that the probate/juvenile judge did not have authority or jurisdiction to sign the search warrant, particularly when labeled with a municipal court heading. A hearing on the motion to suppress was conducted on September 29, 2015.

         {¶5} On October 2, 2015, the trial court issued a judgment entry, with findings of facts and conclusions of law, denying appellant's motion to suppress.

         {¶6} The court subsequently dismissed the count of possession of suboxone and the count of possession of alprazolam. A jury trial commenced on April 14, 2016, following which appellant was found guilty of all remaining counts in the indictment except count one (trafficking in cocaine (R.C. 2925.03(C)(4)(d)) and count two (conspiracy to commit trafficking in cocaine (R.C. 2923.01)).

         {¶7} On June 27, 2016, the trial court sentenced appellant to a total sentence of sixteen years in prison.

         {¶8} On July 28, 2016, appellant filed a notice of appeal.[1] He herein raises the following two Assignments of Error:

         {¶9} "I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT CONVICTED MR. NEWMAN OF ENHANCED-DEGREE FELONIES FOR TRAFFICKING OR POSSESSION OF COCAINE BASED ON GROSS WEIGHT THAT INCLUDED OTHER MATERIAL, INSTEAD OF THE WEIGHT OF ACTUAL COCAINE, IN VIOLATION OF HIS RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS. FIFTH AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS TO ...


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