Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Richland
from the Richland County Court of Common Pleas, Case No.
Plaintiff-Appellee: GARY BISHOP RICHLAND COUNTY PROSECUTOR
JOSEPH C. SNYDER
Defendant-Appellant: WILLIAM CRANMER
JUDGES: Hon. William B. Hoffman, P.J. Hon. Patricia A.
Delaney, J. Hon. Craig R. Baldwin, J.
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.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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