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State v. Godfrey

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Third District, Allen

August 26, 2019

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
MASON R. GODFREY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

          Appeal from Lima Municipal Court Trial Court No. 18TRC1835-B4

         Judgment Affirmed

          Kenneth J. Rexford for Appellant

          Lisa R. Bradley for Appellee

          OPINION

          SHAW, J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant, Mason Godfrey ("Godfrey"), brings this appeal from the May 3, 2019, judgment of the Lima Municipal Court sentencing him to 60 days in jail, with 50 suspended on various conditions, after Godfrey pled no contest to, and was convicted of, OVI in violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(h). On appeal, Godfrey argues that the trial court erred by overruling his suppression motion.

         Background

         {¶2} On October 27, 2018, shortly after 2 a.m., multiple Lima Police Officers were dispatched to a bar called Harry's Hideaway on Cable Road in Lima for reports of a fight. Officer Kaitlyn Weidman and Officer Ben Thompson went into the bar where there were over 100 people and completed a walkthrough looking for the problem. While in the bar, both officers observed Godfrey. Officer Thompson indicated that Godfrey had slurred speech, that he was "falling all over the place," that he had bloodshot, glassy eyes, and that he was "arguing with a female over car keys." (Tr. at 7). Officer Weidman also observed Godfrey arguing with a female over the keys to a vehicle. Officer Weidman described him as "highly intoxicated at that time." (Id. at 12). More specifically, Officer Weidman stated that Godfrey smelled like alcohol and that his speech was very slurred.

         {¶3} Minutes later, Officer Thompson was outside speaking with the bar's bouncer when he observed Godfrey get into the driver's side of a vehicle. Officer Thompson radioed Officer Weidman and told her to pull Godfrey over if he failed to stop at the "sidewalk." Officer Weidman observed Godfrey leaving and pull onto the road. She stated that she felt Godfrey failed to yield when he entered Cable Road, then she pulled him over both for that failure to yield and for the observations of his intoxication inside the bar.

         {¶4} As a result of the traffic stop, Godfrey's BAC was taken by a breath test and his BAC was .171. Subsequently Godfrey was charged with OVI in violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(a), and alternatively OVI in violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(h). He was also charged with Driving Under Suspension in violation of Lima City Ordinance 436.11(a), and Failure to Yield in violation of Lima City Ordinance 432.22(a)(1). Godfrey initially pled not guilty to the charges.

         {¶5} On December 10, 2018, Godfrey filed a suppression motion. That motion was supplemented on January 7, 2019, once Godfrey received dash camera video from the incident. In his motion, Godfrey argued that there was no legal basis to stop him for a "Failure to Yield" violation based on Lima City Ordinance 432.22(a)(1). More specifically, he argued,

Mr. Godfrey is seen clearly pulling up to one of the exits between Bob Evans and Harry's Hideaway on Cable Road just north of the intersection at that location. At the time, he turned right onto Cable. To his immediate left were several cruisers stopped to attend to another driver, with a red light for north-bound traffic. Therefore, not only was there no impacted traffic at all, no impact on traffic was even possible because all traffic northbound was blocked and stopped by both LPD cruisers and a red light.
One of the officers can be heard on Kaitlyn Weidman's radio telling her that she could stop Mr. Godfrey if he did not stop at the sidewalk. If there was a sidewalk, then a stop would be required. However, there clearly is no sidewalk at this location.
Thus, the purported basis for the stop, namely a violation of L.C.O. ...

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