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State v. Croff

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Trumbull

November 20, 2017

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
VINCENT ARTEZ CROFF, Defendant-Appellant.

         Criminal Appeal from the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2015 CR 00105.

          Dennis Watkins, Trumbull County Prosecutor, and Ashleigh Musick, Assistant Prosecutor, (For Plaintiff-Appellee).

          David L Engler, Engler Law Firm, (For Defendant-Appellant).


          THOMAS R. WRIGHT, J.

         {¶1} Appellant, Vincent Artez Croff, appeals his conviction for possession of cocaine in violation of R.C. 2925.11, a fifth-degree felony with a forfeiture specification. We affirm.

         {¶2} Croff raises four assigned errors:

         {¶3} "[1.] The court erred in dismissing appellant's motion to dismiss for speedy trial violation.

         {¶4} "[2.] The court erred in overruling appellant's motion to suppress the statements, flight of the appellant and discovery of contraband that were all discovered as a result of an unconstitutional search by the arresting officers.

         {¶5} "[3.] The court erred in finding that Officer Edwards' K-9 use reports were not clearly probative of Officer Edwards' character for truthfulness or untruthfulness.

         {¶6} "[4.] The guilty conviction entered by the court is against the weight of the evidence."

         {¶7} Croff first argues the trial court erred in failing to grant his motion to dismiss the charges based on a speedy trial violation. He claims the delay between the second mistrial and the commencement of his third trial was unreasonable. We disagree.

         {¶8} A criminal defendant is guaranteed the right to a speedy trial by the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and the same right is conferred by Section 10, Article I of the Ohio Constitution. State v. O'Brien, 34 Ohio St.3d 7, 8, 516 N.E.2d 218 (1987).

         {¶9} Croff was convicted following a third jury trial. His first two trials ended in mistrials resulting from hung juries.

         {¶10} Ohio's speedy trial statute, R.C. 2945.71, only applies to the initial adjudication following arrest, not to subsequent trials after a jury fails to reach a verdict. State v. Hull, 110 Ohio St.3d 183, 2006-Ohio-4252, 852 N.E.2d 706, ¶14, citing State v. Fanning, 1 Ohio St.3d 19, 21, 437 N.E.2d 583 (1982). Instead of R.C. 2945.71, the standard to apply is reasonableness under federal and state constitutions. Fanning at 21; State v. Iapaola, 11th Dist. Ashtabula No. 91-A-1649, 1992 WL 192134, *2 (June 16, 1992). We assess the reasonableness of the delay pursuant to Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514, 92 S.Ct. 2182 (1972). We apply the de novo standard of review to questions of law upon reviewing speedy trial issues. State v. Downing, 9th Dist. Summit No. 22012, 2004-Ohio-5952, ¶36; State v. Wilson, 11th Dist. Trumbull No. 2015-T-0082, 2017-Ohio-502, ¶39.

         {¶11} The Ohio Supreme Court in Hull spelled out the required analysis, {¶12} "In Barker * * * the court identified four factors to be assessed in determining whether an accused had been constitutionally denied a speedy trial: (1) the length of the delay, (2) the reason for the delay, (3) the defendant's assertion of his right to a speedy trial, and (4) the prejudice to the defendant. Id. at 530, 92 S.Ct. 2182, 33 L.Ed.2d 101. Even though no single factor controlled, the court in Barker stated that the length of the delay is particularly important:

         {¶13} "The length of the delay is to some extent a triggering mechanism. Until there is some delay which is presumptively prejudicial, there is no necessity for inquiry into the other factors that go into the balance. Nevertheless, because of the imprecision of the right to speedy trial, the length of delay that will provoke such an inquiry is necessarily dependent upon the peculiar circumstances of the case.' (Emphasis added and footnote omitted.) Id. at 530-531, 92 S.Ct. 2182, 33 L.Ed.2d 101.

         {¶14} "In State v. O'Brien (1987), 34 Ohio St.3d 7, 516 N.E.2d 218, we considered and applied the Barker v. Wingo analysis to a case involving the waiver of speedy trial for a first-degree misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence of alcohol, and we concluded that a 138-day delay could not be 'regard[ed] [as] "presumptively prejudicial" under [the] circumstances.' Id. at 10, 516 N.E.2d 218. Further, in State v. Madden, 10th Dist. No. 04AP-1228, 2005-Ohio-4281, 2005 WL 1983376, and State v. Webb, 4th Dist. No. 01CA32, 2002-Ohio-3552, 2002 WL 1565686, courts have concluded that delays of five months and six months are not presumptively prejudicial for the prosecution of a first-degree misdemeanor charge involving driving under the influence." State v. Hull, supra, at ¶22-24.

         {¶15} "A delay becomes presumptively prejudicial as it approaches one year in length. Doggett v. United States, 505 U.S. 647, 652, 112 S.Ct. 2686, 120 L.Ed.2d 520 (1992), fn. 1." State v. Adams, 144 Ohio St.3d 429, 2015-Ohio-3954, 45 N.E.3d 127, ¶90, reconsideration denied, 144 Ohio St.3d 1480, 2016-Ohio-467, 45 N.E.3d 246.

         {¶16} Here, the trial court declared a second mistrial July 29, 2016. Croffs second jury trial was conducted ...

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