Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fourth District, Hocking
Benjamin E. Fickel, Hocking County Prosecutor, Logan, Ohio,
Timothy P. Gleeson, Logan, Ohio, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY
Matthew W. McFarland, Judge
This is an appeal from a Hocking County Court of Common Pleas
judgment entry granting Christopher Keefer's motion to
suppress evidence obtained from a search warrant. Pursuant to
the evidence discovered from the search warrant, the State
charged Appellee with seven drug-related offenses. The State
appeals the trial court's judgment that granted
Appellee's motion to suppress contending that 1) the
trial court erred when it found the affidavit for the search
warrant did not sufficiently support a finding of probable
cause, and (2) the trial court erred when it found that the
good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule did not apply
to prevent exclusion of the evidence recovered pursuant to
the search warrant. Because we sustain the State's second
assignment of error, we reverse the judgment of the trial
court and remand the cause for proceedings consistent with
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On March 28, 2017, Detective Dustin Robison, seeking a search
warrant, filed an affidavit alleging that he had good cause
to believe numerous drug-related offenses were occurring at
18692 Laurel Run Road in Nelsonville, Ohio. The following is
a summary of the averments made in Robison's affidavit:
1. Robison was a detective with the Hocking County Sheriffs
Office with fifteen years of experience and eight years of
narcotics experience, which familiarized him with the methods
used by drug traffickers.
2. On July 27, 2016, law enforcement received an anonymous
tip that drug trafficking was occurring at 18692 Laurel Run
Road, Nelsonville, Ohio 45764.
3. On August 8, 2016, the Hocking County Sheriffs Office
executed, and attempted to serve, an arrest warrant on
Appellee at the Laurel Run Road address, but Jessica Gilmore,
Appellee's girlfriend, said that she had not seen
Appellee for some time and did not know where he was. Upon
executing a consent search of the premises, officers found
$2, 080.00 and three firearms. Gilmore stated that the money
was from illicit drug sales. The money and firearms were
4. On March 25, 2017, a "reliable confidential
informant" told detective Downs that Appellee and Randy
Loring were going to drive to Columbus in a white Chevy
Malibu to buy drugs to bring back to Keefer's residence,
which he shares with Robin Zuransky, Denver Hutchinson, and
5. Detectives unsuccessfully attempted to intercept Appellee
and Loring upon their return.
6. The informant stated that Hutchinson, Zuransky, and
Appellee all had outstanding warrants in other counties.
Detective Downs verified that the named individuals in fact
did have outstanding warrants, including Appellee for drug
trafficking in Franklin County.
7. On March 27, 2017, the informant contacted the affiant and
stated that Appellee was again going to Columbus in the White
Malibu to purchase drugs, but officials decided not to act at
8. On March 28, 2017, the informant stated that Appellee,
Gilmore, Zuransky and Hutchinson were at the residence along
with drugs, money, and firearms.
9. The informant asserted that on March 28, 2017 Keefer was
Pursuant to the affidavit, a municipal judge signed the
warrant. In executing the warrant, the State alleges that law
enforcement officers recovered 60 grams of heroin, 10 grams
of cocaine, 32 grams of methamphetamines, 2 firearms, 2 cell
phones, and $3, 000.00 at the Laurel Run Road address.
On May 4, 2018, the State charged Appellee with possession of
heroin in violation of R.C. 2925.11(A)(C)(6)(E), trafficking
in heroine in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(1)(C)(6)(F),
possession of cocaine in violation of RC.
2925.11(A)(C)(4)(B), trafficking in cocaine in violation of
R.C. 2925.03(A)(1)(C)(4)(C), two counts of aggravated
trafficking in drugs in violation of RC.
2925.03(A)(1)(C)(1)(D), and having weapons while under a
disability in violation of R.C. 2923.13(A)(2), all with
forfeiture specifications in violation of R.C. 2941.1417.
On October 2, 2018, Appellee filed a motion to suppress the
evidence obtained pursuant to a March 28, 2017 search warrant
because it was defective and the evidence recovered from the
warrant should be suppressed. The State filed a motion in
In a January 2, 2019 judgment entry, the trial court
addressed whether Detective Robison's affidavit provided
sufficient probable cause to support the search warrant that
had been issued. Generally, the trial court determined the
overall reliability of the confidential information, as well
as his or her assertions in paragraphs 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10
of the affidavit were not sufficiently corroborated, and the
information regarding the issuance and execution of the
arrest warrant for Appellee made in paragraphs 3 and 4 was
The court determined that "[t]he information in
paragraphs 3 and 4, while stale, does provide some
corroboration as to the CI's tip. Some further
corroboration is provided in paragraph 4 as to a relationship
between [Appellee] and Ms. Gilmore." But, ultimately,
the court concluded that it was not enough, under the
totality of the circumstances, to find that there was
probable cause to support the warrant.
The court then set a hearing to determine if the evidence
should be suppressed under the good-faith exception to the
exclusionary rule. The court indicated that this judgment was
not a final order.
At that hearing, on direct examination, Detective Robison
testified that he had been employed with the Hocking County
Sheriffs Office for 19 years. He testified that he received
peace officer training, a college education, as well as
ongoing police training. Detective Robison testified that he
was part of the Sheriffs interdiction unit for narcotics and
was investigating Appellee and others. He testified that he
"worked on well over a hundred [search warrants]."
Detective Robison testified that met with the Hocking County
Prosecutor and obtained a search warrant pertaining to
Appellee at the Laurel Run Road address. Detective Robison
testified that both the prosecutor and the judge reviewed the