FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE WAYNE COUNTY MUNICIPAL COURT
COUNTY OF WAYNE, OHIO CASE No. 2015 TR-C 006394
CHRISTINA I. REIHELD, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.
R. LUTZ, Prosecuting Attorney, and NATHAN R. SHAKER,
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
JENNIFER HENSAL, Presiding Judge.
Matthew McClain appeals a judgment of the Wayne County
Municipal Court that convicted and sentenced him for
operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
For the following reasons, this Court affirms.
State Trooper Justin Ross was sitting in his cruiser by a
county road one rainy summer evening when a vehicle pulled up
to his. The occupants of the vehicle told him that the car in
front of them had attempted to run them off the road. Trooper
Ross caught up to the car and, after noticing it go left of
the center line, initiated a traffic stop. When he reached
the driver's door, Trooper Ross noticed damage to the
left side of the car that appeared to have occurred recently.
According to Trooper Ross, when he observed the driver of the
car, Mr. McClain, he noticed that Mr. McClain's eyes were
glassy and that his pupils were dilated, suggesting that he
might be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Mr. McClain
also kept moving his hands about, despite being told multiple
times to keep them on the steering wheel. Trooper Ross,
therefore, administered field sobriety tests on Mr. McClain.
After observing numerous clues of impairment during each
test, Trooper Ross arrested Mr. McClain for operating a
vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He also
cited Mr. McClain for driving left of center. The State later
dismissed the driving-left-of-center charge.
Following a trial to the bench, the municipal court found Mr.
McClain guilty of the operating-under-the-influence offense.
It sentenced him to 30 days in jail, which it stayed pending
appeal. Mr. McClain has appealed the municipal court's
judgment, assigning as error that his conviction is against
the manifest weight of the evidence.
CONVICTION FOR OPERATING A VEHICLE UNDER THE INFLUENCE IS
AGAINST THE MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE.
The trial court found Mr. McClain guilty of violating Revised
Code Section 4511.19(A)(1)(a), which provides that "[n]o
person shall operate any vehicle * * * if, at the time of the
operation, * * * [t]he person is under the influence of
alcohol, a drug of abuse, or a combination of them." In
this case, it is not disputed that there was no evidence that
Mr. McClain was under the influence of alcohol at the time of
the stop. The question, therefore, is whether Mr. McClain was
under the influence of a drug of abuse. Mr. McClain argues
that his conviction is against the manifest weight of the
evidence because the State failed to establish that he was
impaired because he had used marijuana or because it was a
side-effect of his Adderall medication. According to Mr.
McClain, the State did not present any evidence that
marijuana or Adderall impairs the average individual or him
specifically. He relies on the Second District's decision
in State v. May, 2d Dist. Montgomery No. 25359,
2014-Ohio-1542, which held that the State "must do
more" to establish a violation of Section
4511.19(A)(1)(a) "than simply present evidence that the
defendant has taken * * * medication and shows sign of
impairment." Id. at ¶ 46. He also relies
on this Court's decision in State v. Collins,
9th Dist. Wayne No. 11CA0027, 2012-Ohio-2236, in which this
Court recognized that Section 4511.19(A)(1)(a) requires
"the State to do more than prove impairment in a
vacuum[, ]" and "specifically requires the State
demonstrate that the source of the defendant's impairment
was 'alcohol, a drug of abuse, or a combination of
them.'" Id. at ¶ 19. In other words,
the State must prove that a defendant's "impaired
condition resulted from being under the influence of a drug
of abuse." Id. at ¶ 20.
Although couched as a "manifest weight" argument,
Mr. McClain's argument that the State "was unable to
provide evidence that the actions and impairment shown by
McClain are the result of the use of alcohol or a drug of
abuse" sounds in sufficiency. Mr. McClain also cites
State v. Eskridge, 38 Ohio St.3d 56 (1988), which
involved a question about the sufficiency of evidence, not
the weight of such evidence. Accordingly, we will review Mr.
McClain's argument as a sufficiency-of-the-evidence
claim. See State v. Jackson, 9th Dist. Lorain No.
15CA010828, 2016-Ohio-7637, ¶ 6, overruled on other
grounds by State v Hamilton, 9th Dist. Lorain No.
15CA010830, 2017-Ohio-230, ¶ 17.
Whether a conviction is supported by sufficient evidence is a
question of law, which we review de novo. State v.
Thompkins,78 Ohio St.3d 380, 386 (1997). In making this
determination, we must view ...