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State v. Kline

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Summit

January 8, 2020

STATE OF OHIO Appellee
v.
LORI KLINE Appellant

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CR-2018-07-2291

         APPEARANCES:

          KRISTEN KOWALSKI, ATTORNEY AT LAW, FOR APPELLANT.

          SHERRI BEVAN WALSH, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY, AND JACQUENETTE S. CORGAN, ASSISTANT PROSECUTING ATTORNEY, FOR APPELLEE.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          LYNNE S. CALLAHAN JUDGE.

         {¶1} Appellant, Lori Kline, appeals an order that denied her motion to suppress. This Court reverses.

         I.

         {¶2} 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 railroad tracks.

         {¶3} 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.

         {¶4} 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.

         {¶5} 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.

         II.

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 ...

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