Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton
Appeals From: Hamilton County Municipal Court TRIAL NOS.
16TRC-37026A 16TRC-37026B 16TRC-37026C
Appealed From Are: Affirmed in C-170110 and C-170112; Appeal
Boggs Muething, City Solicitor, Natalia Harris, City
Prosecutor, and Christopher Liu, Appellate Director, for
Raymond T. Faller, Hamilton County Public Defender, and
Carrie Wood, Assistant Public Defender, for
Defendant-appellant Tyrone Slaughter appeals his convictions,
following his no-contest pleas, for operating a vehicle with
a prohibited breath-alcohol content and a marked-lanes
violation. In this appeal, he argues that the trial court
erred by overruling his motion to suppress evidence on the
basis that an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper lacked
probable cause or a reasonable and articulable suspicion to
stop his vehicle for a marked-lanes violation.
The trial court based its decision to overrule the motion on
a second marked-lanes violation that it noted after viewing a
video recording taken from the trooper's cruiser camera.
But the trooper testified he had not seen that violation.
Since the trooper's unrebutted testimony was that he had
witnessed a prior marked-lanes violation, and that testimony
was not inconsistent with the video recording of the traffic
stop, the trooper had reasonable and articulable suspicion to
stop Slaughter's vehicle. We, thus, affirm the trial
court's judgments albeit for reasons other than those
stated by the trial court.
Slaughter was charged with operating a vehicle while under
the influence of alcohol ("OVI") in violation of
R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(a), having a prohibited breath-alcohol
content under R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(d), and crossing marked
lanes in violation of R.C. 4511.33. Slaughter filed a motion
to suppress all the evidence against him on the basis that
the officer lacked reasonable articulable suspicion or
probable cause to stop his vehicle.
At the suppression hearing, Slaughter stipulated that he had
been arrested without a warrant. Trooper Alex Burnett
testified that he was in a uniform and in a marked cruiser on
patrol on North Bend Road when he observed a Nissan Altima
ahead of him traveling out of its lane. He testified the
vehicle was in the left lane and it traveled to the right
approximately one to two feet. He sped up to catch the
vehicle and signaled to the driver to pull over. He then came
into contact with Slaughter, who was driving the vehicle.
After administering field-sobriety tests, he arrested
Slaughter for OVI.
The video from Trooper Burnett's cruiser camera was
admitted into evidence and played during the suppression
hearing. As the video was playing, defense counsel questioned
Trooper Burnett about the basis for the traffic stop. The
video showed a vehicle ahead of Trooper Burnett that turned
right onto one of the north-south streets. Trooper Burnett
testified that while it was difficult to see on the video, he
had then followed a red Nissan Altima. He saw the
marked-lanes violation and sped up to stop the vehicle. The
video showed that Slaughter had committed a second
marked-lanes violation near the intersection of North Bend
Road and Hamilton Avenue when he had driven his vehicle
partly into the left-turn lane and then back into the
adjoining lane, before proceeding straight through the
traffic light. Trooper Burnett testified, however, that he
had not seen that marked-lanes violation.
On cross-examination, Trooper Burnett testified that even
though he was 100-110 meters behind Slaughter's vehicle,
he had a clear and unobstructed view of the marked-lanes
violation. He acknowledged it was difficult to see this
violation on the video because "the blur from the
traffic lights and the headlights of the other vehicles had
blurred out some of the violation."
The trial court overruled the motion to suppress. It found
that Trooper Burnett had probable cause to stop Slaughter
based on the second marked-lanes violation depicted on the
video. Shortly thereafter, Slaughter pled no contest to OVI
with a prohibited concentration of alcohol and the
marked-lanes violation. The trial court accepted the pleas
and found Slaughter guilty. It dismissed the remaining OVI
In a single assignment of error, Slaughter argues the trial
court erred in ...