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State v. Farrow

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Lorain

August 19, 2019

STATE OF OHIO Appellee
v.
RUSSELL FARROW Appellant

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF LORAIN, OHIO CASE No. 17CR095536

          KENNETH N. ORTNER, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          DENNIS P. WILL, Prosecuting Attorney, and BRIAN P. MURPHY, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          TEODOSIO, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         {¶1} 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.

         I.

         {¶2} 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.

         {¶3} 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.

         {¶4} 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.

         {¶5} 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.

         {¶6} 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.

         {¶7} For ease of analysis, we will consolidate Mr. Farrow's assignments of error.

         II.

         ASSIGNMENT ...


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