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State v. Baker

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Ashland

June 11, 2018

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
DAVID S. BAKER Defendant-Appellant

          Appeal from the Municipal Court of Ashland County, Case No. 17 TRC 04301

          For Plaintiff-Appellee ANDREW N. Bush Assistant Law Director

          For Defendant-Appellant MATTHEW J. MALONE

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

          OPINION

          WISE, E.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant David S. Baker appeals the October 17, 2017 decision of the Ashland Municipal Court, Ashland County, Ohio, overruling his motion to suppress. Plaintiff-appellee is the state of Ohio.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         {¶ 2} On Saturday evening, June 17, 2017, at 11:20 p.m., Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Paul Green observed appellant operating his vehicle near West Fourth and Cottage Street in the city of Ashland, Ohio. This intersection is in the vicinity of several bars. Trooper Green noticed appellant was traveling without an illuminated rear license plate and initiated a traffic stop on that basis.

         {¶ 3} Trooper Green approached the vehicle, which contained appellant and a passenger. He noted a strong odor of alcoholic beverage emanating from the vehicle and further noted that appellant's eyes were glassy, red, and bloodshot. As he spoke with appellant, Trooper Green also noted that appellant made deliberate effort to avoid looking at him. Appellant denied consuming alcohol, but his passenger admitted to consuming alcohol.

         {¶ 4} Trooper Green asked appellant to step out of the car. Once out of the car, Trooper Green was able to confirm that appellant had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath. Appellant, however, denied consuming alcohol. Based on his observations, Trooper Green asked appellant to preform field sobriety tests.

         {¶ 5} Trooper Green began with the horizontal gaze nystagmus and noted four of six clues. He noted four of eight clues on the walk and turn and no clues on the one-leg stand. Trooper Green placed appellant under arrest. Appellant refused a portable breath test at the scene, but later submitted to a DataMaster breath test and registered .128 breath alcohol content.

         {¶ 6} Appellant was cited for OVI and illumination of rear plate. Appellant filed a motion to suppress, arguing Trooper Green did not have reasonable suspicion to conduct field sobriety testing, that the field sobriety testing was not performed in compliance with the NHTSA manual, and that Trooper Green lacked probable cause to arrest.

         {¶ 7} A hearing was held on the matter on July 10, 2017. Trooper Green testified for the state. Appellant presented no evidence. After taking the matter under advisement, the trial court denied appellant's motion in part and granted it in part. Specifically, the trial court found Trooper Green had reasonable suspicion to request appellant preform field sobriety tests, but that the walk and turn test was not administered in substantial compliance with the NHTSA manual. The trial court nonetheless found probable cause to arrest appellant for OVI.

         {¶ 8} Appellant entered pleas of no contest. He was subsequently sentenced to 30 days of local incarceration with 27 days suspended, fines, one year community control, and one year operator's license suspension. The trial court granted ...


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