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State v. Gordon

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Ashland

May 24, 2018

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
MATTIE ROSE GORDON Defendant-Appellant

          Appeal from the Ashland Municipal Court, Case Nos. 17TRC00869, 17CRB00143

          For Plaintiff-Appellee: ANDREW N. BUSH Asst. Law Director

          For Defendant-Appellant: JUSTIN M. WEATHERLY

          JUDGES: Hon. John W. Wise, P.J. Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, J. Hon. Earle E. Wise, Jr., J.

          OPINION

          Delaney, J.

         {¶1} Appellant Mattie Rose Gordon appeals from the Journal Entry of the Ashland Municipal Court dated July 24, 2017. Appellee is the state of Ohio.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         {¶2} The following facts are adduced from the record of the suppression hearing on June 16, 2017. We note appellee's evidence at the suppression hearing included, e.g., Exhibit 3, the cruiser video, which contains audio of the trooper's conversation with appellant, video of two of the three field sobriety tests, and the arrest.

         {¶3} This case arose on February 4, 2017, around 11:54 p.m., when Trooper Robert Marshall of the Ohio State Highway Patrol was on patrol in the city of Ashland and observed a vehicle he believed to be traveling over the posted speed limit of 25 M.P.H. Marshall checked his visual estimate of the vehicle's speed with a radar device and determined the vehicle was traveling 35 M.P.H.

         {¶4} Marshall turned around and followed the vehicle, a white Volkswagen hatchback, which was the only car on the road. The vehicle indicated a left turn, and Marshall activated his overhead lights to initiate a traffic stop. The vehicle pulled into a gas station, but Marshall noticed a delayed reaction by the driver, identified as appellant. Marshall made contact with appellant. One male passenger was in the front seat.

         {¶5} Marshall asked appellant for her operator's license and vehicle information; she seemed confused and handed him a credit card. Marshall noted she was visibly nervous and shaking. As she spoke to Marshall, he also noticed that her pupils were constricted and her eyes were red and bloodshot. Marshall shined his flashlight in her eyes but she did not squint or blink. Based upon his training, Marshall suspected illegal or prescription drug use.

         {¶6} Appellant eventually provided Marshall with her operator's license but no further information. Marshall asked her to exit the vehicle to verify the information she provided and to ask her to perform standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs). Appellant briefly protested and asked why she was being detained, but Marshall told her to put her purse down and to exit the vehicle, and she eventually complied.

         {¶7} As Marshall led appellant back toward the patrol car, he told her it was his policy to check individuals for weapons and asked whether she had any; appellant denied having any weapons. Marshall patted appellant down and felt an object in her vest pocket; he asked what it was, and appellant moved as if to reach for it. Marshall asked for permission to retrieve the object himself for officer safety, and appellant consented. The object was an orange pill bottle containing several different pills. Appellant said she didn't know anything about it and that the vest wasn't hers.

         {¶8} Marshall placed appellant in the back of the patrol car and Mirandized her. Marshall asked appellant again about the pill bottle and she said she didn't know anything about it; the vest wasn't hers and she had picked it up at the tow yard apparently operated by the male passenger in her vehicle. Marshall requested that another trooper and a K-9 unit come to the scene.

         {¶9} When asked if she used drugs, appellant said she took several kinds including Adderall and Suboxone. Marshall recognized Xanax pills among the pills in the orange bottle and asked how recently she had taken Xanax. Appellant first said "not too long ago" and then said she hadn't taken Xanax since April. Appellant repeatedly said the vest was not hers and she didn't know where the pill bottle ...


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