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State v. Wright

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fourth District, Adams

March 28, 2018

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
GREGORY WRIGHT, Defendant-Appellee.

          David Kelley, Adams County Prosecutor, and Ariana Bowles, Adams County Assistant Prosecutor, West Union, Ohio, for Appellant.

          Tyler E. Cantrell, Offices of Young & Caldwell, LLC, West Union, Ohio, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY

          Matthew W. McFarland, Judge

         {¶1} The State of Ohio appeals the March 15, 2017 judgment entry of the Adams County Common Pleas Court which dismissed Counts I, III, and IV of an indictment against Appellee Gregory Wright. On appeal, the State asserts that the trial court erred by granting Appellee's motion to dismiss those counts against him based upon double jeopardy. Upon review, we find the State's argument has merit. For the reasons which follow, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         {¶2} This matter arises from a traffic stop on December 1, 2016 in Adams County, Ohio. On that date, Appellee was stopped by Detective Sam Purdin of the Adams County Sheriffs Department. Due to Purdin's belief that Appellee was operating his vehicle under the influence of a drug or drugs of abuse, Purdin requested a urine sample. Appellee was also searched and Purdin located one white pill. Appellee was charged with operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drug of abuse, a violation of RC. 4511.19(A)(1)(a) (OVI), and a traffic lane violation, in Adams County Court case numbers TRC1602533A/B.

         {¶3} Detective Purdin also filed a criminal complaint that Appellee knowingly possessed heroin, a violation of R.C. 2925.11(A), and a felony of the fifth degree. Appellee was scheduled for a preliminary hearing of the matter, Adams County Court case number CRA160580, on December 6, 2016. Appellee was provided court-appointed counsel. At the preliminary hearing, the court found probable cause to bind over Appellee's felony possession charge to the Adams County Grand Jury. In the Adams County Common Pleas Court, this case was originally designated case number CRI20160187.

         {¶4} Later, the test of Appellee's urine sample obtained as a result of the December 1st traffic stop showed the presence of several additional illegal substances. On December 15, 2016, Appellee was charged in a four-count indictment for violations of R.C. 2925.11(A), all felonies of the fifth degree. The indictment specified as follows: (Count 1) aggravated possession of oxycodone; (Count 2) aggravated possession of acetaminophen/hydrocodone; (Count 3) aggravated possession of methamphetamine; and (Count 4) possession of heroin.

         {¶5} On December 19, 2016, Appellee was arraigned in the Adams County Court of Common Pleas and entered pleas of not guilty to all counts. On December 20, 2016, Appellee's counsel as to the criminal indictment filed a notice of representation, jury demand, request for discovery, and request for bill of particulars. The matter was set for a pretrial hearing to be held January 13, 2017.[1]

         {¶6} On January 23, 2017, Appellee's OVI charge was amended to physical control of a vehicle while under the influence, a violation of R.C.4511.194. Appellee pleaded guilty to the amended charge in Adams County Court and was sentenced to a fine, costs, suspended jail sentence, and probation. The accompanying misdemeanor traffic charge was dismissed.

         {¶7} Appellee filed a motion on January 30, 2017 in the Adams County Common Pleas Court to dismiss all counts contained in the indictment against him on the grounds of double jeopardy. On March 3, 2017, the common pleas court judge held an oral hearing on Appellee's motion to dismiss. The trial court found as follows:

"Prior to the hearing the Defendant, through counsel withdrew the motion to dismiss count II as the count's bill of particulars will be amended as the court deals with a pill and not substances within the body. * * * 1. The court hereby dismisses with prejudice Counts I, III, and IV of the indictment as they would subject the Defendant to double jeopardy."

         {¶8} The trial court filed the judgment entry journalizing the decision on March 15, 2017. ...


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