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State v. Wilson

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Summit

December 11, 2019

STATE OF OHIO Appellant
v.
CRAIG A. WILSON Appellee

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CR-2018-05-1611

          SHERRI BEVAN WALSH, Prosecuting Attorney, and JACQUENETTE S. CORGAN, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellant.

          DAVID M. LOWRY, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          DONNA J. CARR, PRESIDING JUDGE

         {¶1} Appellant, the State of Ohio, appeals from the decision of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, granting Appellee, Craig Wilson's, motion to suppress. This Court affirms.

         I.

         {¶2} Wilson's eighteen-year-old niece told her high school counselor that Wilson had engaged in sexual activity with her. The counselor notified the authorities, and a police officer came to the school to speak with the counselor and the niece. As a result of those conversations, the investigating officer learned that the niece was in special education classes and was intellectually disabled.

         {¶3} Later that same day, Wilson came to the police station to speak with the investigating officer. He initially denied that he had engaged in any type of sexual activity with his niece. The investigating officer repeatedly noted that the niece was eighteen, however, and urged Wilson to admit to any consensual sexual activity that might have occurred. She repeatedly informed him that an admission to consensual sexual activity would allow her to close the case and avoid a drawn-out investigation. She did not comment on the niece's intellectual disability or how it might affect her ability to consent. As a result of the investigating officer's representations, Wilson ultimately made several admissions.

         {¶4} A grand jury indicted Wilson on two counts of rape, two counts of sexual battery, and a single count of gross sexual imposition. Two of his charges alleged that he forced or coerced his niece, but his remaining charges were based on her having lacked the capacity to consent as the result of a substantial impairment. Wilson filed a motion to suppress, arguing that his admissions were involuntary and a direct result of the investigating officer's deceptive tactics. The court held a hearing on his motion and ultimately agreed that Wilson's admissions were a product of coercion. The court granted Wilson's motion to suppress, and the State immediately appealed from its decision.

         {¶5} The State's appeal is now before us and contains a single assignment of error for our review.

         II.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

         THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GRANTING THE APPELLEE'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS EVIDENCE.

         {¶6} In its sole assignment of error, the State argues that the trial court erred by granting Wilson's motion to suppress. The State argues that there was no evidence the investigating officer used an inherently coercive tactic when interviewing Wilson. Further, it argues that Wilson's admissions were voluntary ...


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