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State v. Hager

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Licking

June 18, 2019

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
JOSHUA E. HAGER Defendant-Appellant

          Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2018-CR-00084

          FOR PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE JENNY GONZALEZ-WELLS

          FOR DEFENDANT-APPELLANT KORT GATTERDAM DAVID F. HANSON

          Hon. John W. Wise, P.J. Hon. Craig R. Baldwin, J. Hon. Earle E. Wise, Jr., J.

          OPINION

          Wise, Earle, J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-Appellant, Joshua E. Hager, appeals the August 17, 2018 decision and entry of the Court of Common Pleas of Licking County, Ohio denying his motion to suppress. Plaintiff-Appellee is state of Ohio.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         {¶ 2} On February 1, 2018, Licking County Sheriff's Deputy Dan Pennington stopped a vehicle for a missing front license plate. Appellant was the driver of the vehicle. Deputy Pennington advised appellant and his passenger the reason for the stop ("no visible front plate on the vehicle"), and asked for their identification. Appellant explained to the deputy that the front license plate was not displayed because of recent damage to the vehicle, and showed the deputy the plate which was on the vehicle's dashboard. A check of appellant's driver's license revealed his license had been suspended. The passenger was the owner of the vehicle and was aware of appellant's license suspension, yet she permitted him to drive her vehicle. Because of the two violations, driving under suspension and wrongful entrustment of a motor vehicle, Deputy Pennington decided to impound the vehicle. Thereafter, he was granted consent to search appellant, the passenger, and the vehicle, whereupon contraband was discovered in the trunk.

         {¶ 3} On February 15, 2018, the Licking County Grand Jury indicted appellant on one count of trafficking in drugs in violation of R.C. 2925.03. On May 15, 2018, appellant filed a motion to suppress, claiming an illegal "custodial" interrogation. A hearing was held on June 19, 2018. By decision and entry filed August 17, 2018, the trial court denied the motion, finding the deputy had probable cause to stop the vehicle and extend the detention.

         {¶ 4} On October 9, 2018, appellant pled no contest to the charge. By judgment entry filed same date, the trial court found appellant guilty and sentenced him to eleven years in prison.

         {¶ 5} Appellant filed an appeal and this matter is now before this court for consideration. Assignment of error is as follows:

         I

         {¶ 6} "THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT OVERRULED APPELLANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS HIS UNLAWFUL CONTINUED DETENTION, AND THE EVIDENCE GATHERED FOLLOWING HIS UNLAWFUL CONTINUED DETENTION BY THE POLICE, IN VIOLATION OF APPELLANT'S RIGHTS UNDER THE FOURTH, SIXTH, AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS TO THE UNITED ...


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