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State v. Barnett

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Richland

June 10, 2019

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
RANDY KRISTOPHER BARNETT Defendant-Appellant

          Appeal from the Richland County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2018-CR-0014

          For Plaintiff-Appellee: GARY BISHOP RICHLAND COUNTY PROSECUTOR JOSEPH C. SNYDER

          For Defendant-Appellant: WILLIAM CRANMER

          JUDGES: Hon. William B. Hoffman, P.J. Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, J. Hon. Craig R. Baldwin, J.

          OPINION

          Delaney, J.

         {¶1} Defendant-Appellant Randy Kristopher Barnett appeals his August 9, 2018 conviction and sentence for Possession of Heroin, a fifth-degree felony in violation of R.C. 2925.11(A) and (C)(6)(a). Plaintiff-Appellee is the State of Ohio.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         {¶2} On January 17, 2018, Defendant-Appellant Randy Kristopher Barnett was indicted on one count of Possession of Heroin, a fifth-degree felony in violation of R.C. 2925.11(A) and (C)(6)(a). Barnett was arraigned on February 20, 2018 and he entered a plea of not guilty.

         {¶3} Barnett filed a motion to suppress on May 2, 2018. He argued the heroin seized on March 22, 2017 should be suppressed because it was obtained during a warrantless search of his person. A hearing was held on May 29, 2018 and the following evidence was adduced at the hearing.

         {¶4} On March 22, 2017, Detective Nicole Gearhart of the Mansfield Police Department METRICH Drug Enforcement Unit was on patrol in an unmarked car in a high-crime area known for drug activity. (T. 7). During the patrol, Det. Gearhart observed a known drug dealer walking in his area of residence near North Lake Park. (T. 6). Because he was a known drug dealer, Det. Gearhart watched his activity. (T. 6). While the known drug dealer was walking, Det. Gearhart observed a vehicle driving slowly nearby. Barnett was in the front passenger seat of the vehicle. (T. 6). Det. Gearhart lost sight of the vehicle, but then saw the vehicle drive out of an alley and drop off the known drug dealer. (T. 6). Det. Gearhart followed the vehicle to the parking lot of an AutoZone and she called Officer Kory Kaufman, a K9 officer of the Mansfield Police Department, to make contact with the vehicle because based on her skills, training, knowledge, and experience, she believed a drug transaction had occurred. (T. 6, 7). Barnett's vehicle was parked and Det. Gearhart parked her vehicle in a manner in which Barnett's parked vehicle could not leave. (T. 10-11).

         {¶5} Officer Kory Kaufman and his canine, Denise, of the Mansfield Police Department arrived at the AutoZone. As he parked his car, Officer Kaufman saw Barnett exit his vehicle. (T. 14). He denied parking his marked patrol vehicle to block Barnett's vehicle. Officer Kaufman exited his vehicle, left Denise in the vehicle, and asked Barnett if he could speak with him. (T. 14). Barnett did not respond. Denise had been barking loudly from inside the marked vehicle, so Officer Kaufman asked Barnett again if he could speak with him. Barnett came over to the front of Officer Kaufman's vehicle and they started speaking. (T. 14). Officer Kaufman knew that Barnett was suspected of having been associated with a drug transaction. He was concerned about officer safety and asked Barnett if he could pat him down. (T. 14). Barnett consented. (T. 14).

         {¶6} Officer Kaufman conducted a pat down of Barnett. He had Barnett face the marked unit and put his hands behind his back. (T. 15). Officer Kaufman grabbed Barnett's bottom hand, so he had control of his hands and leaned Barnett forward. (T. 15). As he conducted the pat down, Officer Kaufman saw the pocket of Barnett's hoodie bulge open, which made the inside of the pocket visible to him. (T. 15). Officer Kaufman observed a small baggie containing a black or brown rock inside Barnett's hoodie pocket, which he thought was heroin. (T. 15). Officer Kaufman finished the pat down for weapons, did not discover any weapons, and pulled out the small baggie from Barnett's pocket. (T. 15). The contents of the baggie were determined to be heroin.

         {¶7} On May 30, 2018, the trial court overruled Barnett's motion to suppress. The trial court found that the interaction between Officer Kaufman and Barnett was a consensual encounter followed by a consensual search. On seeing what he believed to be heroin inside Barnett's pocket, Officer Kaufman had probable cause to remove the baggie from Barnett's pocket.

         {¶8} A change of plea hearing was held on June 15, 2018. Barnett changed his plea to no contest. The State recommended community control. The trial court ordered a presentence investigation before sentencing.

         {¶9} The trial court held the sentencing hearing on August 8, 2018. The trial court stated the presentence investigation report showed Barnett owed $80.00 in lab fees to the Mansfield Police Department Crime Lab. (T. 37). The trial court found Barnett guilty of Possession of Heroin. It sentenced Barnett to six months in prison and three years of discretionary postrelease control. It ordered Barnett to pay ...


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