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State v. Lindon

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

June 22, 2017

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
JAMES L. LINDON DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

         Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-16-604473-A

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Russell S. Bensing

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor BY: Eben McNair Assistant County Prosecutor

          BEFORE: Jones, J., Kilbane, P.J., and Boyle, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          LARRY A. JONES, SR., J.

         {¶1} In this appeal, defendant-appellant James Lindon challenges his theft, drug possession, and tampering with evidence convictions, which were rendered after a jury trial. He also challenges the trial court's denial of his request to dismiss the case for an alleged discovery violation by the state, and the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress without holding an evidentiary hearing. We remand for a hearing on the motion to suppress.

         Procedural History

         {¶2} In March 2016, Lindon was charged in a three-count indictment. Count 1 charged theft; Count 2 charged drug possession; and Count 3 charged tampering with evidence. With these charges, the state alleged that Lindon stole drugs while working at the Cleveland Clinic Crile Pharmacy and swallowed some of the drugs to impair the investigation into the alleged theft. The record indicates that after Lindon allegedly ingested the drugs, he was taken to the emergency room at the Cleveland Clinic ("the Clinic").

         {¶3} The parties engaged in pretrial discovery, which included a request by Lindon for audio and video recordings from the Clinic. Lindon also filed a motion to suppress and requested a hearing on the motion. In his motion, Lindon alleged that he was seized and searched without sufficient legal justification and, therefore, he sought to suppress the physical evidence that was seized from him.

         {¶4} The case was scheduled for a jury trial on June 17, 2016. On that date, prior to commencing trial, the trial judge addressed pending motions, which included a motion to compel and the suppression motion. In regard to the motion to compel, Lindon contended that, although he had been provided with some video evidence, he believed that there was more that the state had not provided to him. Specifically, he told the court that he believed that there were cameras in the emergency room. The assistant prosecuting attorney informed the court that the cameras in the patient care areas were "observational only, " there were no video recordings from those cameras, and the video that he did receive from the Clinic he provided to Lindon during discovery. The court ruled that it could not compel the state to produce something that did not exist.

         {¶5} In regard to Lindon's suppression motion, Lindon represented that he sought to suppress oral statements he made after he was apprehended and the physical evidence that was seized from him. After discussion about whether the "plainclothes" men who apprehended Lindon were law enforcement officials, the court concluded that they were.

         {¶6} The court then questioned Lindon about what oral statements he made to the law enforcement officials. Lindon stated that he was interrogated by them for approximately an hour, without Miranda warnings, [1] and that he requested an attorney, but believed he was still questioned after that request. Lindon provided an example of one statement he made that he sought to have suppressed. The court denied his request, and the matter was concluded. There was no discussion about or evidence presented as to the seizure of Lindon or the physical evidence seized from him.

         {¶7} The matter then proceeded to a jury trial. At the conclusion of the evidence, Lindon sought dismissal of the case based on the state's alleged discovery violation by not providing all the relevant videos from the Clinic; the trial court denied his request. Lindon also made a Crim.R. 29 motion for acquittal, which was also denied. After its deliberations, the jury found Lindon guilty of all counts. The trial court sentenced him to two years of community control sanctions and drug treatment. Lindon now appeals, raising the following assignments of error for our review:

I. The trial court erred in failing to conduct an evidentiary hearing on defendant's ...

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