State v. Bradley, L-21-1143

CourtUnited States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
Writing for the CourtOSOWIK, J.
Citation2022 Ohio 3352
PartiesState of Ohio/City of Sylvania Appellee v. Charles Bradley Appellant
Docket NumberL-21-1143
Decision Date23 September 2022

2022-Ohio-3352

State of Ohio/City of Sylvania Appellee
v.

Charles Bradley Appellant

No. L-21-1143

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Sixth District, Lucas

September 23, 2022


Trial Court No. TRC2000532

Daniel C. Arnold, City of Sylvania Prosecuting Attorney, for appellee.

Anthony J. Richardson, II, for appellant.

DECISION AND JUDGMENT

OSOWIK, J.

I. Introduction

{¶ 1} In this appeal, appellant, Charles Bradley challenges the Sylvania Municipal Court decision denying appellant's motion to suppress evidence. Appellant pled no

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contest to the charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Appellant also challenges the trial court's failure to consider his ability to pay fines.

II. Facts and Procedural Background

{¶ 2} On January 29, 2020, around 11:55pm, Charles Bradley was driving on Airport highway. At the time, Deputy Matthew Johnson, an officer with the Lucas County Sheriffs Office, was patrolling with the OVI task force. Deputy Johnson observed a taupe colored trailblazer, crossing over and "straddling" the dotted line dividing two lanes of traffic, remaining there for an extended period of time. Deputy Johnson testified that he then began following the vehicle and turned his lights and siren on, after noticing the infraction on Airport Highway east of Albon road. He eventually pulled Bradley over into a parking lot near the intersection of Airport Highway and Roycraft at which time Bradley hit a curb and came to a stop.

{¶ 3} Officer Johnson approached Mr. Bradley at his driver's side window and had a conversation with appellant. After detecting the smell of cologne and slurred speech, the deputy told appellant to step out of the car and administered field sobriety tests. On the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test the appellant lacked smooth pursuit in his eyes and had a distinct nystagmus in both eyes. He had difficulty getting into position for the walk and turn test and needed to be reminded multiple times to follow directions. On the one leg stand test, Mr. Bradley put his leg down and used his arms for balance multiple times.

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{¶ 4} However, Mr. Bradley refused to submit to the Preliminary Breath Test. Based on the field sobriety test appellant was taken into custody and was asked to provide two breath samples, the lower of which was used to determine if there was an OVI violation. He blew a breath alcohol content of .124g/210L and . 131g/210L, the lesser of the two samples was used to determine if there was an OVI violation.

{¶ 5} Appellant was then charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol in violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(A) and (A)(1)(D) and a marked lane violation of R.C. 4511.33(A)(1). The appellant filed a motion to suppress on October, 14, 2020, claiming that the evidence against him was obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures and that the officer's arrest of him was unreasonable because there were no specific and articulable facts that would lead a reasonable person to believe that appellant was committing a crime.

{¶ 6} The motion to suppress went to a hearing before a magistrate on October, 28, 2020. Deputy Johnson was the only witness to testify. At the hearing he also acknowledged that there was not dash cam footage of the arrest and the body cam footage did not record any of the driving infractions to supplement his testimony. Deputy Johnson claimed that it was reasonable to stop Bradley's vehicle because his car's placement over the line was more than merely merging lanes. He testified that Bradley's car remained straddled between two lanes for several seconds at two separate times. This was enough indication to make a stop and assess the situation according to Officer

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Johnson. He was not able to recall some more specific facts of the case such as whether appellant was traveling eastbound or westbound, the lane that Mr. Bradley was in, where exactly on Airport Highway did he first spot appellant, or the speed at which he traveled. The motion to suppress was filed ten months after the initial incident. Based on his observations that night, Deputy Johnson determined that there was probable cause to believe that appellant was violating a law and therefore was justified in stopping appellant and subjecting him to sobriety tests.

{¶ 7} On February, 23, 2021, this issue was decided by the magistrate who denied the motion to suppress. The magistrate concluded that the officer's testimony indicated that appellant was straddling the line between two lanes twice and that observation was enough for a reasonable person to believe that appellant was violating a traffic law, and that the officer was acting appropriately when performing the traffic stop. The magistrate's decision was affirmed by the trial court on August, 26, 2021.

{¶ 8} Appellant ultimately pled no contest to a violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1). Upon the appellant's plea to the OVI, the marked lanes violation was dismissed by the prosecution. The court found appellant guilty and he was sentenced to 30 days in jail, 150 days of probation a violation cost of $130.00, a fine of $850.00 for the OVI and a forfeiture of his vehicle. The vehicle however, had already been sold prior to sentencing. Appellant's attorney made a motion to stay, pending the appeal, which...

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