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State v. Brown

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

August 6, 2019

State of Ohio, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
William T. Brown, Defendant-Appellant.

          APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas (C.P.C. No. 17CR-2909)

         On brief:

          Ron O'Brien, Prosecuting Attorney, and Valerie B. Swanson for appellee.

          Yeura R. Venters, Public Defender, and Ian J. Jones for appellee.

         Argued:

          Valerie B. Swanson.

          Ian J. Jones.

          DECISION

          KLATT, P.J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, William T. Brown, appeals from a judgment of conviction and sentence entered by the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas pursuant to his no contest plea to possession of heroin following the trial court's denial of his motions to suppress. Because the trial court did not err in denying appellant's motions to suppress, we affirm.

         {¶ 2} On May 26, 2017, a Franklin County Grand Jury indicted appellant on one count of possession of heroin, in violation of R.C. 2925.11, a felony of the fifth degree. Appellant initially entered a plea of not guilty.

         {¶ 3} On April 17, 2018, appellant filed motions to suppress evidence and statements. The trial court conducted an evidentiary hearing on the motions on August 29, 2018.

         {¶ 4} Columbus Police Officer Kyle Beatty was the only witness who testified at the suppression hearing. Beatty averred that on June 2, 2016, he and his fellow officer, Erik Bateman, were on patrol in a marked police cruiser in the area of Fifth and Benfield at approximately 4:48 p.m. The officers were in the area based upon complaints of narcotics being sold out of a "suspected drug house" on Fifth. (Aug. 29, 2018 Tr. at 13.) To that end, he and Bateman were "looking for a consistency of narcotics sales, people in and out quick, people hanging around, prostitutes in the area, things like that." Id. at 12.

         {¶ 5} The officers stopped in front of the house and observed appellant and another man standing outside near the driveway. When the men saw the officers, both immediately turned their backs and started looking up at a tree. When the officers pulled their cruiser next to the men, neither of them turned around or acknowledged the officers in any way. Because the men were standing in front of a suspected drug house and "their actions happened the second we pulled down the street," the officers believed the men "were engaged in drug activity from that house." Id. at 15. The officers exited their cruiser simultaneously; neither drew a weapon.

         {¶ 6} The officers approached the men and engaged them in conversation. Specifically, the officers asked if either of them lived in the house; both men denied living there. Appellant then "started walking away very slowly with his back towards us." Id. at 17. Appellant did not say anything to the officers as he walked away. Because he was walking so slowly, Beatty thought appellant was "contemplating running." Id. at 17. Beatty stayed with appellant's companion while Bateman followed appellant down the street for approximately 10 to 12 feet. According to Beatty, Bateman did not tell appellant to stop walking, did not impede his travel, did not ...


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