FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
LORAIN, OHIO CASE No. 17CR095536
KENNETH N. ORTNER, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.
P. WILL, Prosecuting Attorney, and BRIAN P. MURPHY, Assistant
Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
TEODOSIO, PRESIDING JUDGE.
Appellant, Russell D. Farrow, appeals from the trial
court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence in the
Lorain County Court of Common Pleas. This Court affirms.
Sergeant Timothy Timberlake of the Ohio State Highway Patrol
was working traffic enforcement on I-80 in Lorain when he
observed a vehicle traveling 54 miles per hour in a 70
mile-per-hour zone. He followed the vehicle and observed it
exit the turnpike without signaling a lane change, so he
initiated a traffic stop. According to Sergeant Timberlake,
once the passenger side window was opened, he immediately
smelled the odor of burnt marijuana coming from within the
vehicle. He separated the vehicle's two occupants, and
testified that the driver indicated to him that marijuana had
been smoked in the car earlier. Another trooper
("Trooper Grabel") secured the driver in her
cruiser while Sergeant Timberlake spoke to Mr. Farrow. The
sergeant testified that Mr. Farrow also admitted marijuana
had been smoked earlier and presented the sergeant with a
cigar wrapper where he had previously kept the marijuana.
According to Sergeant Timberlake, he had Mr. Farrow step out
of the vehicle and intended to conduct a protective pat down
prior to securing him in a cruiser while the vehicle was
searched. According to another trooper ("Trooper
Dowler"), he noticed a "big, abnormal bulge"
in the front of Mr. Farrow's pants and believed he was
trying to conceal something. When questioned as to what he
was concealing, Mr. Farrow said it was nothing and then
voluntarily removed a balled-up sock. "[A] bulge was
still there," however, and the troopers inquired again.
Mr. Farrow claimed it was his medicine and then removed a
prescription pill bottle with the label ripped off. According
to Sergeant Timberlake, "there was still a bulge in his
pants[, ]" and after more prompting from the troopers
and a brief search of the exterior of his clothes, Mr. Farrow
eventually removed three bags of pills, which later tested
positive for oxycodone. A search of the vehicle revealed no
marijuana, but a pack of cigarettes containing nine more
oxycodone pills was discovered in the center console or cup
holder. In totality, the police seized 491 oxycodone pills.
Mr. Farrow was charged with felony trafficking in drugs,
felony possession of drugs, and misdemeanor illegal use or
possession of drug paraphernalia. He filed a motion to
suppress, and the trial court held a suppression hearing. The
court reviewed the evidence presented and, one month later,
ruled from the bench and denied the motion. The court later
filed a judgment entry denying the motion to suppress
"[f]or reasons set forth on the record." Mr. Farrow
then pled no contest to the indictment. The two felonies were
merged for sentencing as allied offenses of similar import,
and the State elected to have Mr. Farrow sentenced on the
drug trafficking count. The trial court sentenced him to
three years in prison for trafficking in drugs and thirty
days in jail for illegal use or possession of drug
paraphernalia, to be served concurrently. The court also
ordered Mr. Farrow to pay a mandatory fine of $7, 500.00 and
court costs. Mr. Farrow moved the trial court to stay
execution of his sentence, and the court set a $7, 500.00
surety bond pending appeal.
We note that, at both the plea and sentencing hearings, the
trial court and both parties all indicated an understanding
that Mr. Farrow would be sentenced to a mandatory
term of incarceration. See R.C. 2925.03(C)(1)(d) and
2925.11(C)(1)(c). However, when the trial court actually
imposed its sentence for trafficking in drugs, both in open
court and in its sentencing entry, no indication was given
that the prison term was mandatory. Neither party has raised
this issue in the instant appeal.
Mr. Farrow now appeals from the trial court's denial of
his motion to suppress evidence and raises two assignments of
error for this Court's review.
For ease of analysis, we will consolidate Mr. Farrow's
assignments of error.