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State v. Ridenbaugh

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Licking

September 3, 2019

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
TEDDY E. RIDENBAUGH, JR. Defendant-Appellant

          Appeal from the Licking County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 18 CR 196

          For Plaintiff-Appellee: BILL HAYES LICKING COUNTY PROSECUTOR CLIFFORD J. MURPHY

          For Defendant-Appellant: KATHERINE L. WOLFE

          JUDGES: Hon. W. Scott Gwin, P.J. Hon. John W. Wise, J. Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, J.

          OPINION

          DELANEY, J.

         {¶1} Defendant-Appellant Teddy E. Ridenbaugh, Jr. appeals his conviction and sentence by the Licking County Court of Common Pleas. Plaintiff-Appellee is the State of Ohio.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         {¶2} On March 29, 2018, Defendant-Appellant Teddy E. Ridenbaugh, Jr. was indicted by the Licking County Court of Common Pleas on one count of aggravated possession of drugs (methamphetamine), a third-degree felony in violation of R.C. 2925.11(A)(C)(1)(b) and one count of possession of drugs (heroin), a fifth-degree felony in violation of R.C. 2925.11(A)(C)(6)(a). The counts carried a forfeiture specification (U.S. currency) pursuant to R.C. 2941.1417(A) and 2981.02(A)(2).

         {¶3} Ridenbaugh entered a plea of not guilty to the charges. The matter was scheduled for a jury trial on August 8, 2018. Ridenbaugh moved for a continuance of the trial date because on August 3, 2018, the State provided him with a police report by Detective Kyle Boerstler. Det. Boerstler's report contained a statement made by Ridenbaugh at the time of his arrest where he allegedly confessed to the charged crimes. The trial court granted the motion for continuance and continued the jury trial to September 27, 2018.

         {¶4} The matter came on for trial on September 27, 2018. The following evidence was adduced at trial.

         Ridenbaugh's Arrest

         {¶5} On October 19, 2017, detectives from the Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force ("CODE TF") were conducting surveillance on 452 Woods Avenue located in Licking County, Ohio, for possible drug activity. Det. Tanner Vogelmeir of the Licking County Sheriff's Office assigned to CODE TF was driving a marked cruiser and was notified that a male and female had exited the Wood Avenue residence, driving in a blue Jeep Liberty in which the male was the passenger. Det. Vogelmeir observed the vehicle and determined the male passenger matched the description for Ridenbaugh who had a felony warrant for his arrest. Det. Vogelmeir stopped the Jeep Liberty and approached the vehicle. He secured Ridenbaugh and searched him incident to his arrest. Det. Vogelmeir found a knife, $510.00 in cash, and a blue key chain with multiple keys. He seated Ridenbaugh in the back seat of the cruiser and Detectives Hoskinson, Boerstler, and Green arrived at the scene. There was no dashcam or audio available of the stop because of a technical malfunction.

         {¶6} Det. Boerstler was advised to speak with Ridenbaugh, who agreed to speak with the detective. Ridenbaugh had a brief conversation with Det. Boerstler. Det. Boerstler testified that Ridenbaugh said he and his female companion were going to get something to eat. The conversation then turned to Ridenbaugh's drug supplier. Ridenbaugh identified his drug supplier, where the drug supplier was located, and that Ridenbaugh was getting an ounce of methamphetamine from the drug supplier for $700.00. Det. Boerstler stated Ridenbaugh told him he was staying at the Woods Avenue residence and the keys found on his person would fit in the padlock to Ridenbaugh's room. Ridenbaugh did not sign a statement or sign a Miranda waiver form.

         {¶7} Det. Boerstler testified he was the only police officer to take Ridenbaugh's confession. Det. Boerstler recalled that he drafted his report, which included Ridenbaugh's statement, sometime around October 20, 2017. He did not know when his report was submitted to the State. It was pointed out that the first six sentences of his report were identical to Det. Green's report. It stated:

On 10/19, 2017, the Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force --- and then in parenthesis it says capital letters, CODE TF, CODE TF, received information from a confidential source - in parenthesis it says CS, which means confidential source, that Teddy Ridenbaugh was staying at 452 Woods Avenue. According to the CS, Ridenbaugh possessed a large amount of Methamphetamine at this address and was an absconder from the Ohio Department of Corrections. After receiving this information, Ridenbaugh's parole violation warrant was confirmed.

(T. 153).

         {¶8} Out of the hearing of the jury, Ridenbaugh moved to call the prosecutor as a witness because he felt the jury should hear that the State did not turn over Det. Boerstler's report until August 3, 2018. He argued the date the report was turned over went to the witness's credibility. The jury could draw an inference that the report was inaccurate and Det. Boerstler's testimony was unreliable. The trial court overruled the motion to call the prosecutor as a witness and found the date the report was turned over was irrelevant. The trial court noted the trial was originally scheduled for August 8, 2018. It granted Ridenbaugh's motion to continue the trial date to September 27, 2018 based on the August 3, 2018 release of Det. Boerstler's report. It further found it was improper "to ask the jury to render a verdict against the State simply because they're sloppy with their discovery or they're late in it, that's not the basis for them to make a decision * * *." (T. 160).

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