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State v. Jackson

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Summit

April 4, 2018

STATE OF OHIO Appellee
v.
ANDREW JACKSON, III Appellant

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CR-2016-03-0737-B

          DONALD R. HICKS, 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, Andrew Jackson III, appeals from his convictions in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas. This Court affirms.

         I.

         {¶2} Based on a drug trafficking investigation focusing on Mr. Jackson and 1016 Beardsley Street in Akron, police officers obtained a search warrant for the residence at 1016 Beardsley Street. On the day the search warrant was to be executed, police watched the residence and waited until they saw Mr. Jackson and his sister leave the residence together in a rental car. Police conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle several blocks away from the residence and arrested Mr. Jackson. Officers returned Mr. Jackson to the residence, read him his Miranda rights, and questioned him during the search of the residence. See Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).

         {¶3} Police discovered large amounts of drugs, cash, and other evidence of drug trafficking in a bedroom. A letter addressed to Mr. Jackson with 1016 Beardsley Street listed as his address was found on a bedroom dresser amongst the contraband. A firearm was also found in a woman's purse in the bedroom. While speaking to police at the scene, Mr. Jackson admitted that the drugs were his and, before anyone told him that a gun had been found, he asked if his sister had taken ownership of the gun.

         {¶4} Mr. Jackson filed a motion to suppress and a supplemental motion to suppress, which were denied by the trial court. The case proceeded to a jury trial and Mr. Jackson was found guilty of aggravated trafficking in drugs, aggravated possession of drugs, trafficking in heroin, possession of heroin, and having weapons while under disability. The possession counts merged into the trafficking counts, and the trial court sentenced Mr. Jackson to an aggregate total of six years mandatory prison time.

         {¶5} Mr. Jackson now appeals from his convictions and raises four assignments of error for this Court's review.

         II.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR ONE

         THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT FAILED TO SUPPRESS ALL EVIDENCE AND STATEMENTS OBTAINED IN VIOLATION OF APPELLANT JACKSON'S FOURTH, FIFTH, AND SIXTH AMENDMENT RIGHTS UNDER THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION AND ARTICLE I, SECTIONS TEN AND FOURTEEN OF THE OHIO CONSTITUTION.

         {¶6} In his first assignment of error, Mr. Jackson argues that the trial court erred in failing to grant his motion to suppress. Specifically, he argues that his statements to the police were made involuntarily and the search warrant for 1016 Beardsley Street was defective as it failed to establish probable cause. We disagree.

         {¶7} 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 deference to the conclusion of the trial court, whether the facts satisfy the applicable legal standard.

State v. Oberholtz, 9th Dist. Summit No. 27972, 2016-Ohio-8506, ¶ 5, quoting State v. Burnside, 100 Ohio St.3d 152, 2003-Ohio-5372, ¶ 8.

         Mr. Jackson's Statements to Police

         {¶8} Mr. Jackson filed a motion to suppress and sought suppression of all statements made to the police. He conceded in his motion that the police initially read him his Miranda rights before he made any statements, but argued that they failed to read him his Miranda rights again when he spoke to the police a second time prior to being transported to jail. He also argued that his statements were involuntary because the police threatened to arrest both his mother and sister and further threatened to have his mother's house seized and forfeited.

         {¶9} Akron Police Detective Brian Callahan testified at the suppression hearing that Mr. Jackson was handcuffed and in custody. Detective Callahan testified that, prior to any questioning, he read Mr. Jackson his Miranda rights off of the Akron Police Department's "Miranda card." He testified that Mr. Jackson verbally acknowledged that he understood each and every right individually. Akron Police Sergeant Jason Mallick testified that he was present when Detective Callahan read Mr. Jackson his Miranda rights. Sergeant Mallick testified that Mr. Jackson indicated he understood all of his rights. Detective Callahan testified that he then asked Mr. Jackson if he was willing to speak to him and Mr. Jackson replied, "Yes." The detective questioned Mr. Jackson for two or three minutes. Twenty minutes later, while Mr. Jackson was in the back of a police vehicle outside waiting to be transported to jail, he asked to speak to Detective Callahan again. The detective did not Mirandize Mr. Jackson again, but spoke to him for another minute or two. Detective Callahan and Sergeant Mallick both testified at the hearing that they did not threaten Mr. Jackson in any way, nor did they observe any other officers threaten Mr. Jackson. The officers also testified that no one threatened to seek forfeiture of the house or to arrest any of Mr. Jackson's family members.

         {¶10} The trial court found that Detective Callahan read Mr. Jackson his Miranda rights and that Mr. Jackson verbally acknowledged that he understood his rights and waived them. After reviewing the record, we conclude that the trial court's findings are supported by competent, credible evidence.

         {¶11} The State must prove by a preponderance of evidence that a waiver of Miranda rights is knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily made. State v. Belton, 149 Ohio St.3d 165, 2016-Ohio-1581, ¶ 107. To determine whether a confession was involuntary, courts "'consider the totality of the circumstances, including the age, mentality, and prior criminal experience of the accused; the length, intensity, and frequency of interrogation; the existence of physical deprivation or mistreatment; and the existence of threat or inducement.'" Id., quoting State v. Edwards, 49 Ohio St.2d 31 (1976), paragraph two of the syllabus, death penalty vacated on other grounds, 438 U.S. 911 (1978). "[W]e will not conclude that a waiver was involuntary 'unless there is evidence of police coercion, such as physical abuse, threats, or deprivation of food, medical treatment, or sleep.'" (Emphasis sic.) Id. at ¶ 107, quoting State v. Wesson, 137 Ohio St.3d 309, 2013-Ohio-4575, ¶ 35.

         {¶12} Here, Mr. Jackson offered no evidence at the suppression hearing of any threats or otherwise improper conduct by the police. On the contrary, two officers testified specifically that they did not threaten Mr. Jackson and did not observe any other officers threaten him. The officers further testified that no one threatened to seek forfeiture of the house or to arrest any of Mr. Jackson's family members. Therefore, as the trial court was in the best position to hear the testimony and evaluate the credibility of witnesses, we defer to the ...


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