Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Clermont
APPEAL FROM CLERMONT COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS Case No.
Vincent Faris, Clermont County Prosecuting Attorney, Nicholas
A. Horton, for plaintiff-appellant
Stephen Haynes, Clermont County Public Defender, Robert F.
Benintendi, for defendant-appellee
1} Plaintiff-appellant, the state of Ohio, appeals a
decision of the Clermont County Court of Common Pleas
dismissing charges against defendant-appellee, Thomas
2} Vineyard overdosed on heroin, and was later
revived after first responders gave him Narcan. After his
release from the hospital, Vineyard admitted himself into a
drug addiction treatment center in California. Vineyard
completed three months of in-patient care, and three months
of out-patient care in California before returning to his
home in Ohio.
3} During the time that Vineyard was seeking
treatment in California, the Clermont County Grand Jury
indicted Vineyard on charges of possession of heroin and
fentanyl, both fifth-degree felonies. However, given
Vineyard's stay in California, the state did not serve
the indictment upon Vineyard until he returned to Ohio.
4} Three months after the indictment was issued, the
Ohio Legislature enacted a 'Good Samaritan' statute,
which enabled certain offenders who sought medical assistance
for drug overdose to avoid being arrested for, charged with,
prosecuted for, convicted of, or penalized for possession of
drugs that would constitute a misdemeanor or fifth-degree
felony. Vineyard filed a motion to dismiss the charges
against him based upon the statute.
5} The state opposed Vineyard's motion to
dismiss, arguing that Vineyard's offenses occurred before
the Good Samaritan statute was enacted and that the statute
could not be applied retroactively. The trial court found
that the Good Samaritan statute applied to Vineyard, and
dismissed the case. The state now appeals the trial
court's decision, raising the following assignment of
6} THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING
APPELLEE'S CASE AS IT UNCONSTITUTIONALLY APPLIED THE
IMMUNITY AFFORDED BY SECTION 2925.11(B)(2) TO APPELLEE
7} The state argues in its assignment of error that
the trial court erred in determining that R.C.
2925.11(B)(2)(b) applies to Vineyard.
8} According to R.C. 2925.11(B)(2)(b)
Subject to division (B)(2)(f) of this section, a qualified
individual shall not be arrested, charged, prosecuted,
convicted, or penalized pursuant to this chapter for a minor
drug possession offense if all of the following apply:
(i) The evidence of the obtaining, possession, or use of the
controlled substance or controlled substance analog that
would be the basis of the offense was obtained as a result of
the qualified individual seeking the medical assistance or