Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Richland
Criminal Appeal from the Mansfield Municipal Court, Case No.
2017 TRC 12870
Plaintiff-Appellee MICHAEL J. KEMERER ASSISTANT LAW DIRECTOR
Defendant-Appellant JOHN C. O'DONNELL
JUDGES: Hon. W. Scott Gwin, P .J. Hon. John W. Wise, J. Hon.
Earle E. Wise, Jr., J.
Defendant-Appellant Hezekiah Norman appeals from his
conviction, in the Mansfield Municipal Court, Richland
County, for OMVI and failure to obey a traffic control sign.
Appellee is the State of Ohio. The relevant procedural facts
leading to this appeal are as follows.
On November 25, 2017, Trooper D.R. Passet of the Ohio State
Highway Patrol was on patrol on Trimble Road in Mansfield,
Ohio. The trooper observed a BMW automobile make a left turn
onto Arbor Street from the right-side driving lane of Trimble
Road without first moving into the middle turn lane. The
trooper thereupon effectuated a stop of the BMW, which was
being operated by appellant. Following further investigation,
appellant was charged with OMVI (R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(a)), DUI
(R.C. 4511.19(A)(2)), and failure to obey a traffic control
device or sign (R.C. 4511.12). Appellant thereafter entered
pleas of not guilty to all three charges.
On March 12, 2018, appellant filed a motion to suppress,
arguing that Trooper Passet lacked probable cause and/or
"specific and articulable facts" for the initial
stop of the BMW.
The State filed a response on April 12, 2018. On the same
day, a hearing on the motion to suppress was conducted by the
trial court. Appellant and the State stipulated to the facts
surrounding the traffic stop, including a stipulation that
the "Center Lane Only" sign (with turning arrows)
was of nonconforming height according to the Ohio Manual of
Uniform Traffic Control Devices ("OMUTCD"). The
parties also agreed to the submission of certain photographs
of the area on Trimble Road where the trooper observed
appellant, leading to the stop. Supp. Tr. at 3-6.
On April 24, 2018, the magistrate issued a decision denying
the motion to suppress, finding in pertinent part it was
proper for the trooper to stop appellant "for making a
left turn from the far right lane, crossing over another lane
which was specifically marked and made for such turns."
Magistrate's Decision at 1.
On May 23, 2018, appellant filed an objection to the
magistrate's decision pursuant to Crim.R. 19.
On August 10, 2018, the trial court issued a judgment entry
denying the motion to suppress, concluding that even though
the road signage was "not in compliance with Ohio
law," the traffic stop in question was lawful because
the "defendant turned from the right lane [and] passed
[through] the turn only lane as marked on the pavement and
onto a one lane road." Judgment Entry, August 10, 2018,
On December 13, 2018, appellant entered a plea of guilty to
the counts of OMVI and failure to obey a traffic control
device or sign. The DUI count was dismissed. Appellant was
thereupon found guilty and sentenced to sixty days in jail
for OMVI, with 57 days suspended. He was also ordered to pay
court costs as to both counts.
Appellant filed a notice of appeal on December 28, 2018. He
herein raises the ...