Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Criminal Appeal from the Rocky River Municipal Court Case No.
18 CRB 1264
Michael P. Maloney, Law Director, and John J. Spellacy,
Assistant Law Director, for appellee.
V. Barilla, for appellant.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
LASTER MAYS, J.
1} Defendant-appellant Brittany M. Dudas
("Dudas") appeals the trial court's decision to
adopt the magistrate's findings of fact and conclusions
of law. Dudas asks this court to reverse the judgment of the
trial court and dismiss the complaint against Dudas. We
affirm the trial court's decision but remand for the
limited purpose of correcting the journal entry.
2} After the denial of Dudas's motion to
suppress, Dudas pled no contest to one count of offenses
involving underage persons, a first-degree misdemeanor in
violation of R.C. 4301.069(C)(1); one count of possession of
drugs, a first-degree misdemeanor in violation of R.C.
2925.11(C)(3); and one count of possession of drug
paraphernalia, a minor misdemeanor in violation of R.C.
2925.141(C). The trial court sentenced Dudas to pay a $300
fine, 180 days suspended jail time, and six months of
community control supervision.
Facts and Procedural History
3} On June 8, 2018, a Westlake police officer
conducted a traffic stop of a 17-year-old male, W.C. During
the traffic stop, the officer learned that W.C. had just
dropped off Dudas and another minor female, L.P., at the
nearby Red Roof Inn Hotel. Two more Westlake police officers
arrived at the traffic stop as backup. According to Westlake
police, the Red Roof Inn is a location known for
prostitution, human and drug trafficking. W.C. told the
officers that Dudas was over 18 years old, but L.P. was not.
W.C. also told the officers that the alcohol found in his
vehicle was left by either Dudas or L.P.
4} After receiving the information from W.C. and the
fact that there was a minor involved, the officers went to
the Red Roof Inn to speak with staff. The staff confirmed
that Dudas rented room 227 and gave the officers Dudas's
license plate registration information. After running
Dudas's information through the Law Enforcement Automated
Data System ("LEADS"), it was confirmed that Dudas
was 20 years old. No such information was available for L.P.
5} The police officers then went to room 227 and
pounded on the door for a couple of minutes. The officers
announced themselves as "Westlake Police," and told
the occupants that they needed to open the door so they could
conduct a juvenile welfare check. Dudas opened the door, and
then went to lie down in the bed. The officers entered the
room and removed the covers from over Dudas's head. The
officers stated that they removed the covers for officer
safety. One of the officers observed the bathroom door moving
from side to side. He advised whomever was in the bathroom to
come out, and he tried to open the bathroom door, but was
unsuccessful. The officer then advised the person to exit the
bathroom, and L.P. exited the bathroom with bloodshot and
glassy eyes. The officer smelled an odor of alcohol on L.P.
and observed an open bottle of vodka in the bathtub. The
officer questioned L.P. regarding the consumption of alcohol.
L.P. admitted consuming alcohol and stated that she stole the
bottle of vodka from a grocery store.
6} The officers also observed bottles of alcohol
near the door, sticking out of Dudas's purse. Dudas
admitted to the officers that the alcohol belonged to her and
consented to having her purse searched after she was placed
under arrest and mirandized. The officers found marijuana,
marijuana blunts, and a marijuana grinder in Dudas's
7} Dudas was charged with offenses involving
underage persons, possession of drugs, and possession of drug
paraphernalia. Dudas pled not guilty, and then filed a motion
to suppress the evidence arguing that the officers conducted
an unlawful, warrantless search and seizure of her hotel
room. The magistrate concluded that the police officers did
not violate Dudas's Fourth Amendment rights and denied
the motion to suppress. Dudas filed an objection to the
magistrate's decision in the trial court. The trial
court, in its journal entry stated, in part, "upon
review of the recorded proceedings hereby finds that the
Magistrate's determination of the factual issues were
indeed proper and that the application of the appropriate law
was applied. The objections of the Defendant are hereby
overruled." (Journal Entry 18 CRB 1264, Feb. 12, 2019.)
8} Dudas then pleaded no contest to all the charges.
The trial court sentenced Dudas to probation, a suspended
jail sentence, court costs, and fines. The trial court stayed
the sentence on condition that Dudas post an appellate bond
within 30 days. Dudas timely posted the bond and filed this
appeal arguing one assignment of error for our review:
I. The trial court erred in not sustaining the objection to
the magistrate's decision and by adopting the findings of
fact and conclusions of law of the magistrate, which violates
the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution which
grants to the people the right to be secure in their persons,
houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches