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State v. Jackson

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Summit

January 3, 2018



          DONALD R. HICKS, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          SHERRI BEVAN WALSH, Prosecuting Attorney, and RICHARD S. KASAY, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.


          THOMAS A. TEODOSIO, Judge.

         {¶1} Defendant-Appellant, Andrew Jackson III, appeals from the judgment of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, denying his motion to suppress. This Court affirms.


         {¶2} During his shift, Ohio State Highway Patrol Sergeant Neil Laughlin received a tip about Mr. Jackson from the Summit County Drug Unit. He was advised that Mr. Jackson might be traveling to Akron that day and might be transporting narcotics. The Drug Unit provided him with a description of Mr. Jackson's car and asked him to be on the lookout. Sergeant Laughlin shared the information he received with Sergeant Michael Trader, his partner that day.

         {¶3} While observing eastbound traffic on Interstate 76, Sergeant Laughlin spotted Mr. Jackson's car. He clocked the car speeding and also saw it swerve into the other lane without signaling. Because he took interest in a second car directly behind Mr. Jackson's car, however, he decided to relay his observations to Sergeant Trader. Sergeant Laughlin then pursued the second car while Sergeant Trader pursued Mr. Jackson. At the time, Sergeant Trader was already traveling eastbound on Interstate 76.

         {¶4} Sergeant Trader soon spotted Mr. Jackson and noted that he was speeding. Consequently, he stopped Mr. Jackson, approached his car, and asked for his license and registration. Mr. Jackson was unable to produce his registration and appeared nervous, so Sergeant Trader placed him in the back of his cruiser. While waiting for information from dispatch, Sergeant Trader led his canine around Mr. Jackson's car. The canine alerted at the driver's door and a search ensued. The police ultimately found a baggie of marijuana between the center console and driver's seat, a digital scale inside the center console, and a loaded gun in the glove box.

         {¶5} A grand jury indicted Mr. Jackson on charges of having a weapon under disability, carrying a concealed weapon, possession of marijuana, and illegal use of marijuana drug paraphernalia. Mr. Jackson filed a motion to suppress, and the court set the matter for hearing. At the hearing, Mr. Jackson learned for the first time that Sergeant Laughlin had received a tip about him from the Summit County Drug Unit. Because the State had failed to disclose that information during discovery, Mr. Jackson made an oral motion to dismiss the case. Likewise, he orally moved to dismiss the case because neither Sergeant Laughlin, nor Sergeant Trader had preserved their dash cam recordings from the day of the stop. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court took the matter under advisement.

         {¶6} Subsequently, the court denied Mr. Jackson's motion to suppress, and he entered into a negotiated plea. The court accepted his plea, merged his weapons counts, and sentenced him to one year in prison on the weapon under disability count. As to his two remaining counts, both of which were minor misdemeanors, the court waived fines without first imposing them.

          {¶7} Mr. Jackson now appeals from the court's judgment and raises two assignments of error for our review.


         {¶8} Before turning to the merits of Mr. Jackson's assignments of error, this Court pauses to address its jurisdiction. See Ohio Constitution, Article IV, Section 3(B)(2) (appellate court jurisdiction limited to reviewing final orders of lower courts). The State has moved this Court, in accordance with our prior decisions, to dismiss the appeal due to the trial court's decision to waive the fines on Mr. Jackson's minor misdemeanors. The State argues that the court first had to impose fines on those counts before waiving them. Because the court did not do so, the State argues that it neglected to sentence Mr. Jackson on his minor misdemeanor counts and, consequently, issued a non-final order.

         {¶9} Admittedly, this Court previously has dismissed appeals for the reasons outlined by the State. See, e.g., State v. Rice, 9th Dist. Summit Nos. 27386 & 27551, 2016-Ohio-8443, ¶ 9 (appeal dismissed where court waived fine on minor misdemeanor); State v. Goodwin, 9th Dist. Summit No. 23337, 2007-Ohio-2343, ¶ 1-2 (appeal dismissed where court ordered that no costs or fines be imposed on minor misdemeanors). Further reflection now compels us to conclude, however, that those opinions were wrongly decided and that, in practical application, they defy workability. See Westfield Ins. Co. v. Galatis, 100 Ohio St.3d 216, 2003-Ohio-5849, paragraph one of the syllabus. Because abandoning the finality precedent set forth in those cases will not result in undue hardship, see id, this Court now overrules those decisions to the extent that they are inconsistent with the following discussion.

         {¶10} For a judgment of conviction to be final and appealable, it must set forth "(1) the fact of the conviction, (2) the sentence, (3) the judge's signature, and (4) the time stamp indicating the entry upon the journal by the clerk." State v. Lester,130 Ohio St.3d 303, 2011-Ohio-5204, paragraph one of the syllabus. A sentence is "the sanction or combination of sanctions imposed by the sentencing court * * * " R.C. 2929.01(EE). A sanction is "any penalty imposed upon an offender * * * as punishment for the offense." R.C. 2929.01(DD). The Ohio Supreme Court recently reiterated that "a valid judgment of conviction requires a full resolution of any counts for which there were convictions." State v. Jackson, Slip Opinion No. 2017-Ohio-7469, ΒΆ 11. Thus, the question is whether the trial court sentenced Mr. Jackson ...

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