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State v. Raphael-Hopkins

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Belmont

June 25, 2019

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
SANTINO TOMAS RAPHAEL-HOPKINS, Defendant-Appellant.

          Criminal Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of Belmont County, Ohio Case No. 16 CR 221

          Atty. Daniel P. Fry, Prosecutor, and Atty. J. Flanagan, Assistant Prosecutor, (NO BRIEF FILED) for Plaintiff-Appellee, and

          Atty. Rhys Cartwright-Jones, for Defendant-Appellant.

          BEFORE: Gene Donofrio, Cheryl L. Waite, Carol Ann Robb, Judges.

          OPINION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY

          DONOFRIO, J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant, Santino Raphael-Hopkins, appeals his conviction following a guilty plea in the Belmont County Common Pleas Court for: drug trafficking of cocaine in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(1)(C)(4)(a), a fifth-degree felony; attempted drug possession of heroin in violation of R.C. 2925.11(A)(2)(C)(6)(d), a third-degree felony; drug possession of cocaine in violation of R.C. 2925.11(A)(C)(4)(c), a third-degree felony.

         {¶2} On or about August 2, 2016, appellant was operating a motor vehicle in Belmont County, Ohio. Two deputies from the Belmont County Sheriffs Department initiated a traffic stop of appellant for failing to use a turn signal. Upon approaching appellant's vehicle, the deputies smelled what they believed was burning marijuana. The deputies requested appellant's driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance. Appellant could not produce either his license or proof of insurance. Appellant claimed that the car was a rental car but could not produce the rental agreement.

         {¶3} Appellant was then removed from the car and frisked for weapons. While the frisk revealed no weapons, the deputy who frisked appellant noticed a large object in one of appellant's pockets which he believed to be a large amount of cash. The deputy also felt a hard object in another one of appellant's pockets. Appellant then confessed that the hard object was something "bad." When the deputy asked what appellant meant, appellant admitted that the hard object contained drugs. The deputies then searched the car and appellant. The searches yielded several bags of crack, cocaine, and heroin in various amounts as well as $2, 445 in cash.

         {¶4} A Belmont County Grand Jury indicted appellant on seven counts:

Count one: drug trafficking in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(1)(C)(4)(a) a fifth-degree felony;
Count two: drug trafficking in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(1)(C)(6)(a), a fifth-degree felony;
Count three: drug trafficking in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(1)(C)(1)(a), a fourth-degree felony;
Count four: drug possession in violation of R.C. 2925.11(A)(C)(6)(d), a second-degree felony;
Count five: drug trafficking in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(2)(C)(6)(e), a ...

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