Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton
Appeals From: Hamilton County Juvenile Court TRIAL NOS.
15-007432Z, 15-007433Z, 15-007434Z
T. Deters, Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney, and Alex
Scott Havlin, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee,
Raymond T. Faller, Hamilton County Public Defender, and Julie
Kahrs Nessler, Assistant Public Defender, for Appellant.
Following a bench trial before a magistrate, A.T. was
adjudicated delinquent for committing acts that, had he been
an adult, would have constituted misdemeanor possession of
drug paraphernalia, misdemeanor possession of marijuana, and
felonious possession of heroin. A.T. claims that the juvenile
court's delinquency findings were in error. For the
following reasons, we affirm.
and Procedural History
On October 5, 2015, Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Bradley
Hess stopped a car traveling 62 m.p.h. where the posted speed
limit was 35 m.p.h. While informing the driver that he would
receive a speeding ticket, Trooper Hess detected the odor of
raw marijuana in the car. He returned to his patrol car to
radio for backup so that he could safely remove the driver
and two passengers to search the vehicle. A.T. was the
Approximately 20 minutes after the initial stop, two
additional troopers arrived. Trooper Hess ordered the driver
out of the car, searched him and placed him in his patrol
car. Upon questioning, the driver reluctantly admitted that
there was a marijuana cigar in the car. Next, Trooper Hess
searched A.T., emptying AT.'s pockets and discovering
both a digital scale and an envelope containing a heroin
gravel. AT. was informed he was under arrest and was placed
in Hess's patrol car. After the second passenger was also
placed in the patrol car, the other troopers searched the
vehicle. A marijuana cigar was found under the
front-passenger seat, where AT. had been seated.
AT. filed a motion to suppress the evidence discovered in the
search of his person. The magistrate denied the motion and
proceeded to a bench trial, where AT. was adjudicated
delinquent. Over AT.'s objections, the juvenile court
adopted the magistrate's decisions on the motion to
suppress and the adjudication. A.T. now appeals.
In two assignments of error, A.T. claims that the trial court
erred in denying his motion to suppress. In his first
assignment of error, A.T. claims that the search of his
person was unlawful. He argues that because there was no
testimony at the suppression hearing that Trooper Hess was
qualified to recognize the odor of marijuana, Trooper Hess
could not have had probable cause to search the vehicle. A.T.
also asserts that even if Trooper Hess was qualified to
recognize the odor of marijuana and had probable cause to
search the vehicle, there was no testimony that the odor
emanated from AT., so AT. should not have been searched.
In his second assignment of error, AT. claims that the
duration of the traffic stop exceeded constitutional limits.
AT. argues that Trooper Hess violated his Fourth Amendment
rights when he prolonged the stop beyond the time necessary
to issue the speeding ticket. Thus, any evidence obtained as
a result of the stop should have been suppressed.
Appellate review of a motion to suppress presents a mixed
question of law and fact. An appellate court must accept the
trial court's findings of fact if they are supported by
competent, credible evidence. State v. Burnside, 100
Ohio St.3d 152, 2003-Ohio-5372, 797 N.E.2d 71, ¶ 8.
Accepting these facts as true, the appellate court ...