Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Licking
from the Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2018-CR-00084
PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE JENNY GONZALEZ-WELLS
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT KORT GATTERDAM DAVID F. HANSON
John W. Wise, P.J. Hon. Craig R. Baldwin, J. Hon. Earle E.
Wise, Jr., 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.
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
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
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 ...