FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CR-2018-07-2291
KRISTEN KOWALSKI, ATTORNEY AT LAW, FOR APPELLANT.
BEVAN WALSH, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY, AND JACQUENETTE S. CORGAN,
ASSISTANT PROSECUTING ATTORNEY, FOR APPELLEE.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
S. CALLAHAN JUDGE.
Appellant, Lori Kline, appeals an order that denied her
motion to suppress. This Court reverses.
On July 12, 2018, police officers from the City of Norton
responded to a report that a vehicle was parked in a clear,
grassy area underneath high-tension power lines near
Cleveland-Massillon Road. The power lines, which are owned by
FirstEnergy, run parallel to nearby railroad tracks owned by
the Akron Barberton Beltway Railroad Company. The vehicle,
which was empty, was registered to Ms. Kline. The officers
obtained a LEADS report and, in the process, also received a
narrative history of Ms. Kline's previous interaction
with the Barberton police. That history indicated that Ms.
Kline had been warned on two occasions about trespassing near
The officers walked the surrounding property in an attempt to
locate Ms. Kline, but were unsuccessful. When they returned
to the vehicle, they noticed that someone was approaching
from a wooded area nearby. That individual, who the officers
identified as Ms. Kline, carried several bags. The officers
initiated a conversation with her near her vehicle and asked
what she carried in the bags. She set the bags down and
opened one to show the officers that it contained rocks that
she had collected. The officers searched each of her bags and
ultimately found methamphetamine in one.
Ms. Kline was charged with aggravated possession of drugs in
violation of R.C. 2925.11(A)/(C)(1). She moved to suppress
the evidence gained as a result of the search of her bags and
all statements made by her, arguing that the officers did not
have reasonable suspicion to detain her, lacked probable
cause to arrest her, and failed to comply with the
requirements of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436
(1966). During the hearing on the motion to suppress, she
also argued that she did not consent to the search of her
bags. The trial court denied the motion to suppress,
concluding that Ms. Kline consented to the search. The trial
court also concluded that the officers had probable cause to
arrest Ms. Kline for criminal trespassing and reasoned that
"[the officers] could search her and her items pursuant
to that arrest." The trial court did not consider
whether the officers had reasonable suspicion to detain Ms.
Kline in the first instance.
Ms. Kline pleaded no contest to the charge. The trial court
found her guilty and sentenced her to two years of community
control. Ms. Kline filed this appeal.
ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR
THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR BY DENYING MS.
KLINE'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS BECAUSE OFFICERS VIOLATED MS.
KLINE'S FOURTH AMENDMENT RIGHTS AGAINST ...