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State v. Reno

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Montgomery

June 16, 2017

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
RAY L. RENO Defendant-Appellant

         Criminal Appeal from Municipal Court T.C. NO. 16-CRB-3557)

          ANDREW D. SEXTON, Atty. Reg. No. 0070892, Assistant City Prosecutor, Attorney for Plaintiff-Appellee

          J. JOSEPH HYDE, Atty. Reg. No. 0093802, Assistant Public Defender, Attorney for Defendant-Appellant

          OPINION

          DONOVAN, J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant Ray L. Reno appeals his conviction and sentence for one count possession of a drug abuse instrument, in violation of R.C. 2925.12(A), a misdemeanor of the second degree. Reno filed a timely notice of appeal with this Court on August 16, 2016.

         {¶ 2} The incident which forms the basis of the instant appeal occurred on May 29, 2016, at approximately 11:00 p.m., when Dayton Police Officers Bryan Camden and Angela Woody were dispatched to investigate a suspicious person complaint at the 1400 block of Steiner Avenue in Dayton, Ohio. The dispatch was based upon an anonymous tip from a female who only identified herself as "Mrs. Jones." Both Officer Camden and Officer Woody testified that they did not know "Mrs. Jones, " nor did either officer attempt to make contact with her. "Mrs. Jones" stated that she personally observed an unidentified white male walking down an alley south of Steiner Avenue "looking into" or "checking around" garages. "Mrs. Jones" further described the white male as wearing a gray shirt, a hat of unknown color, and blue jeans. "Mrs. Jones" claimed that she had personally witnessed the unidentified white male acting suspiciously only five minutes before she decided to call the police.

         {¶ 3} Acting upon the tip from "Mrs. Jones, " Officers Camden and Woody, who were in a marked police cruiser, traveled to where the suspicious person had been seen and began a search of the area. The officers did not initially observe anyone in the alley south of Steiner Avenue where the tip originated. However, upon further investigation of the surrounding area, the officers observed a white male, later identified as Reno, walking down a sidewalk located at the corner of Steiner Avenue and Euclid Avenue. Both Officers Camden and Woody testified that the individual was wearing a light tan shirt, blue jeans, but no hat. Neither officer observed Reno engaged in any illegal activity when they first located him. Both officers testified that Reno's appearance closely matched the description provided by "Mrs. Jones."

         {¶ 4} Officer Camden testified that at that point he shined his cruiser's spotlight on Reno. Officer Woody testified that Officer Camden gave Reno a distinct order to stop. Officer Camden testified that Reno looked to his left at the police cruiser and then immediately "bladed" his body to the right and began reaching towards his right torso area. The officers both defined the act of "blading" as when a suspect abruptly turns his body away from police at an angle where his or her hands cannot be seen. After Reno turned away from the police and began reaching towards his right side, Officer Camden ordered him to stop moving and show his hands. Based upon Reno's actions up to this point, Officer Camden believed that he may have been carrying a concealed weapon.

         {¶ 5} Officer Camden exited his cruiser and began a pat down search of Reno. Officer Camden discovered a hypodermic syringe in the right front pocket of Reno's jeans. After finding the syringe, the officers subsequently observed further signs of Reno's drug use, namely that his pupils were dilated, and he had puncture marks on his arms. Reno was then arrested and taken into custody.

         {¶ 6} On May 31, 2016, Reno was charged by complaint with one count of possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of possession of a drug abuse instrument. At his arraignment on the same day, Reno pled not guilty to both counts and was released on his own recognizance.

         {¶ 7} On June 22, 2016, Reno filed a motion to suppress, wherein he argued that the police violated his constitutional rights when they performed a warrantless search of his person based upon an uncorroborated tip from an anonymous informant. After a hearing held on July 19, 2016, the trial court overruled Reno's motion to suppress from the bench. The trial court later issued a decision and entry overruling Reno's motion on July 19, 2016.

         {¶ 8} Shortly thereafter on August 4, 2016, Reno pled no contest to one count of possession of a drug abuse instrument, in violation of R.C. 2925.12(A), a misdemeanor of the second degree. The State dismissed the remaining count. The trial court sentenced Reno to ninety days jail, suspended, a fine of $200.00, also suspended, and court costs. Reno was placed on supervised probation for one year, ordered to abstain from the use of alcohol and/or drugs, and ordered to complete treatment at the Cornerstone Project. On August 17, 2016, Reno filed a motion for stay of execution of his sentence pending the outcome of his appeal. The trial court granted Reno's motion for stay of his sentence on August 22, 2016.

         {¶ 9} It is from this judgment that Reno now appeals.

         {¶ 10} Reno's sole assignment of error is as follows:

         {¶ 11} "THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT REFUSED TO SUPPRESS THE EVIDENCE OBTAINED FROM MR. RENO IN VIOLATION OF HIS 4TH AMENDMENT RIGHTS."

         {¶ 12} In his sole assignment, Reno argues that the trial court erred when it overruled his motion to suppress. Specifically, Reno contends that the uncorroborated tip from an anonymous informant did not provide the ...


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