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State v. Craw

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Third District, Mercer

May 7, 2018

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
RICHARD C. CRAW, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

          Appeal from Mercer County Common Pleas Court Trial Court No. 14-CRM-139

          Michael J. Short for Appellant.

          Matthew K. Fox and Joshua A. Muhlenkamp for Appellee.

          OPINION

          PRESTON, J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant, Richard C. Craw ("Craw"), appeals the September 5, 2017 judgment entry of sentence of the Mercer County Court of Common Pleas. He argues that the trial court erred in denying his motions to suppress. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

         {¶2} This case stems from the execution of a search warrant issued, in part, for a travel trailer owned by Craw following an investigation of Craw's ties to and involvement in the production of methamphetamine. The search warrant, executed on September 18, 2014, yielded physical evidence of methamphetamine possession and manufacturing. On October 17, 2014, the Mercer County Grand Jury indicted Craw on three counts: Count One of illegal manufacture of drugs in violation of R.C. 2925.04(A), (C)(3)(a), a second-degree felony; Count Two of illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs in violation of R.C. 2925.041(A), (C), a third-degree felony; and Count Three of aggravated possession of drugs in violation of R.C. 2925.11(A), (C)(1)(e), a first-degree felony, with a major drug offender specification under R.C. 2941.1410(A). (Doc. No. 5). Craw initially pleaded not guilty to the charges and the specification on October 27, 2014. (See Doc. No. 27). (See also Oct. 27, 2014 Tr. at 4).

         {¶3} On June 29, 2015, Craw filed a motion to suppress the physical evidence seized under the search warrant as well as the statements he made to law enforcement officers during the execution of the search warrant. (Doc. No. 71). Craw argued that the search warrant was not supported by probable cause and did not specify the places to be searched and the items to be seized with sufficient particularity. (Id.). Craw sought to suppress his statements on grounds that the statements were made before he was informed of his Miranda rights. (Id.).

         {¶4} After an August 28, 2015 hearing, the trial court denied Craw's motion to suppress evidence on October 15, 2015. (Doc. No. 87).

         {¶5} On January 19, 2016, Craw, through his attorney, filed a motion requesting that the trial court reconsider its judgment denying Craw's motion to suppress evidence and issue findings of fact and conclusions of law. (Doc. No. 113). On February 25, 2016, Craw, pro se, filed a separate motion for reconsideration. (Doc. No. 122).

         {¶6} On September 12, 2016, the State filed a memorandum in opposition to the motions for reconsideration. (Doc. No. 161). On September 22, 2016, Craw, pro se, filed his response to the State's memorandum in opposition to the motions for reconsideration. (Doc. No. 168).[1]

         {¶7} On December 2, 2016, the trial court denied Craw's motions for reconsideration. (Doc. Nos. 188, 194).

         {¶8} On July 3, 2017, Craw filed a motion with the trial court which the trial court treated as a renewed motion to suppress evidence. (Doc. No. 324). The trial court denied Craw's renewed motion later that day, adopting the entirety of its October 15, 2015 judgment entry. (Doc. No. 326).

         {¶9} On July 27, 2017, pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement, Craw entered no contest pleas to Counts One and Two. (Doc. No. 340). The trial court convicted Craw of those two charges and dismissed Count Three and the specification. (Doc. No. 346).

         {¶10} On September 5, 2017, the trial court sentenced Craw to four years' incarceration on count one and 36 months' incarceration on Count Two for an aggregate term of seven years' imprisonment. (Doc. No. 361).

         {¶11} On September 12, 2017, Craw filed a notice of appeal. (Doc. No. 376). He raises three assignments of error, which we address together.

         Assignment of Error No. I

         The search warrant was not supported by probable cause.

         Assignment of Error No. II

         The search warrant was overbroad.

         Assignment of Error No. III

         The Defendant's statements were made without the required Miranda warnings.

         {¶12} Each of Craw's three assignments of error maintains that the trial court erred in denying his motions to suppress. Accordingly, this court will assess each of Craw's assignments of error under the same standard of review.

         {¶13} A review of the denial of a motion to suppress involves mixed questions of law and fact. State v. Burnside, 100 Ohio St.3d 152, 2003-Ohio-5372, ¶ 8. At a suppression hearing, the trial court assumes the role of trier of fact and, as such, is in the best position to evaluate the evidence and the credibility of witnesses. Id. See also State v. Carter,72 Ohio St.3d 545, 552 (1995). When reviewing a ruling on a motion to suppress, "an appellate court must accept the trial court's findings of fact if they are supported by competent, credible evidence." Burnside at ¶ 8, citing State v. Fanning,1 Ohio St.3d 19 (1982). With respect to the trial court's conclusions of law, however, our standard ...


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