Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Trumbull
Appeal from the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas. Case
No. 2013 CR 00900.
Watkins, Trumbull County Prosecutor; LuWayne Annos and
Ashleigh Musick, Assistant Prosecutors, Administration
Building, (For Plaintiff-Appellee).
Michael A. Partlow, Suite C, Kent, (For Defendant-Appellant).
TIMOTHY P. CANNON, J.
Appellant, Ezara Shine, Jr., appeals his conviction for
possession of cocaine entered by the Trumbull County Court of
Common Pleas following our remand order for findings of fact
and conclusions of law on appellant's motion to suppress.
For the following reasons, the judgment of the trial court is
On January 24, 2014, Mr. Shine was indicted on one count of
possession of cocaine, a felony of the fifth degree, with a
forfeiture specification. On March 18, 2014, Mr. Shine filed
a motion to suppress evidence obtained during the arrest. He
argued the initial stop was unlawful and there was no
probable cause for the arrest. A hearing was held, where the
following testimony was given.
Warren City Police Sergeant Gary Riggins, of the street crime
division, testified he was patrolling a high crime area in
the city at about 12:00 noon in December 2013. His partner
was driving an unmarked police car in which he was a
passenger. Officer Riggins was in plain clothes but was
wearing a vest clearly indicating "police" across
the front and back. His badge was attached near his neck, and
his handcuffs were visible.
Officer Riggins testified he observed Mr. Shine leave from
what he suspected to be a vacant home. He testified that
vacant homes are crime magnets. Mr. Shine was alone, walking
along the sidewalk, carrying a plastic grocery-type bag.
Officer Riggins testified he knew it was Mr. Shine. His
partner pulled the unmarked car into a driveway into Mr.
Shine's path on the sidewalk. Officer Riggins exited the
car and said something to the effect of, "Mr. Shine,
what's going on with you today?" According to
Officer Riggins, Mr. Shine replied "nothing" and
volunteered that he "didn't have anything." Mr.
Shine then pulled a pair of pants from the bag he was
carrying. Officer Riggins told him to put his pants back in
According to Officer Riggins' testimony, the following
exchange occurred: "[Mr. Shine said, ] '[w]ell, I
don't have anything. I don't have anything.'
[Officer Riggins] said, Well, we want to talk to you about
why you're leaving a vacant house over here.' Mr.
Shine continued to utter, 'I don't have anything. I
don't have anything.' [Officer Riggins said], Well,
if you don't have anything you don't mind me
checking.' Shine said, 'Go ahead.' [Mr. Shine
then t]hrew his hands up." Officer Riggins further
testified that Mr. Shine indicated there were other people at
the house in response to the assertion that it was vacant.
Upon patting his clothes down, Mr. Shine turned his body away
from Officer Riggins and took a defensive stance, which made
Officer Riggins believe that Mr. Shine was hiding something.
Officer Riggins patted down the side of his body positioned
toward Officer Riggins without issue, but when Officer
Riggins began patting down Mr. Shine's other side, Mr.
Shine threw his hands down and knocked Officer Riggins'
hands off of him. Officer Riggins tackled Mr. Shine to the
ground before he could run away. Mr. Shine was kicking and
swinging in an effort to get away until Officer Riggins
threatened him with a taser. Officer Riggins placed him in
handcuffs. Mr. Shine then stated, "What you're
looking for is in my left pocket." Officer Riggins found
crack cocaine in his left shirt pocket. On cross-examination,
Officer Riggins said he believed Mr. Shine was free to leave
when he first stopped him.
Mr. Shine testified that Officer Riggins and his partner
aggressively pulled their car into his path while he was
walking. He explained Officer Riggins' approach was
aggressive based on his body language, and he did not feel
free to leave at the time. Upon questioning from Officer
Riggins, Mr. Shine told him the house he had just left was
not abandoned, and he even offered to take the officers
there. Mr. Shine said Officer Riggins asked if he had a gun
on his person, and Mr. Shine replied "no." Officer
Riggins then took the bag from him and pulled out the pair of
jeans. Officer Riggins proceeded to pat him down without his
consent. Mr. Shine described turning away from Officer
Riggins in order to prevent discovery of the drugs in his
shirt pocket. Officer Riggins then grabbed him, slammed him
to the ground, and roughed him up. At that point, Mr. Shine
told Officer Riggins about the drugs in his shirt pocket. Mr.
Shine testified he knew Officer Riggins was a police officer
because he had "dealt with him" approximately 12
years prior and had seen him at the grocery store and playing
poker at church. Mr. Shine confirmed on recross-examination
that he had two prior felony drug convictions.
The trial court orally denied Mr. Shine's motion to
suppress but did not issue a written decision. Mr. Shine was
subsequently found guilty of possession of cocaine following
a jury trial.
Mr. Shine filed a timely appeal from the entry of conviction,
solely challenging the denial of his motion to suppress.
State v. Shine, 11th Dist. Trumbull No. 2015-T-0006,
2016-Ohio-3123. This court sustained in part Mr. Shine's
assignment of error because the trial court failed to provide
us with a sufficient basis upon which to determine whether
its decision was supported by competent, credible evidence.
Id. at ¶16. We remanded the matter for the
trial court to make findings of fact and conclusions of law
based on the evidence adduced at the suppression hearing and
to journalize its clarified decision on the motion to
suppress. Id. at ¶17.
On remand, the trial court issued findings of fact and
conclusions of law in support of its decision to deny Mr.
Shine's motion to suppress. The trial court engaged in a
written review of the testimony offered at the hearing on the
motion to suppress. ...