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State v. Purefoy

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Summit

January 24, 2018

STATE OF OHIO Appellee
v.
NIGEL B. PUREFOY Appellant

         APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CR 2014 09 2742

          PAUL GRANT, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

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

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          THOMAS A. TEODOSIO JUDGE.

         {¶1} Appellant, Nigel Purefoy, appeals from his convictions in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas. This Court affirms.

         I.

         {¶2} This Court previously summarized the procedural history of this case as follows:

On September 23, 2014, the Summit County Grand Jury indicted Purefoy on two counts of aggravated burglary and three counts of aggravated robbery. All five counts in the indictment were accompanied by a firearm specification, and the final count of aggravated robbery also contained a criminal forfeiture specification. Purefoy pleaded not guilty to the charges at arraignment.
Purefoy subsequently pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated robbery. Shortly thereafter, however, Purefoy filed a handwritten motion to withdraw his guilty pleas. The trial court granted Purefoy's motion to withdraw his guilty pleas and appointed new counsel.
On April 20, 2015, Purefoy filed numerous motions, including a motion to suppress statements he made to police during an interview at the Barberton Police Department. After holding a hearing on the motion to suppress, the trial court issued a journal entry denying the motion on June 29, 2015.
Prior to trial, Purefoy filed a motion to dismiss the indictment on speedy trial grounds. The trial court denied the motion. The matter proceeded to a jury trial and Purefoy was convicted of all of the counts in the indictment, as well as the attendant specifications. The trial court sentenced Purefoy to a total of 18 years imprisonment.

State v. Purefoy, 9th Dist. Summit No. 27992, 2017-Ohio-79, ¶ 2-5.

         {¶3} Mr. Purefoy appealed his convictions and this Court affirmed in part, concluding that the trial court did not violate Mr. Purefoy's constitutional right to a speedy trial. Id. at ¶ 7. We also reversed in part and remanded the matter back to the trial court "to make factual findings and then address the motion to suppress in the first instance[, ]" but we took no position on the legal arguments Mr. Purefoy raised in challenging the denial of his motion to suppress. Id. at ¶ 18. We declined to address Mr. Purefoy's manifest weight of the evidence argument as premature. Id. at ¶ 20. On remand, the trial court made the requisite findings in an order and denied Mr. Purefoy's motion to suppress.

         {¶4} Mr. Purefoy now appeals from his convictions and raises two assignments of error for this Court's review.

         II.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR ONE

         THE TRIAL COURT ERRED AS A MATTER OF LAW WHEN IT ALLOWED THE INTRODUCTION OF COERCED STATEMENTS IN VIOLATION OF MR. PUREFOY'S [] RIGHTS UNDER THE 5TH AMENDMENT TO THE U.S. CONSTITUTION AND ARTICLE I, SECTIONS 1, 10 & 16 OF THE OHIO CONSTITUTION.

         {¶5} In his first assignment of error, Mr. Purefoy essentially argues that the trial court erred in failing to suppress the confession he made to police because it was coerced and involuntary. We disagree.

         {¶6} A motion to suppress presents a mixed question of law and fact:

When considering a motion to suppress, the trial court assumes the role of trier of fact and is therefore in the best position to resolve factual questions and evaluate the credibility of witnesses. Consequently, an appellate court must accept the trial court's findings of fact if they are supported by competent, credible evidence. Accepting these facts as true, the appellate court must then independently determine, without ...

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