Appeals Court Reverses Trial Court, Rules Statements Admissible
Statements made by a Dayton man arrested for drug possession were admissible and should not have been suppressed by the trial court because they were not the result of police interrogation, according to the Second District Court of Appeals.
In a unanimous decision authored by Judge Penelope R. Cunningham, sitting by assignment from the First District Court of Appeals, the appeals court said the trial court “reasonably concluded that Moody was in custody when he made his statements. However, the trial court erred in concluding that Moody’s statements resulted from an interrogation, because the officers did not engage in conduct that was likely to elicit a response.”
Officers Michael Wolpert and Theodore Troop arrested Cory Moody on June 7, 2011 after finding him standing on a stoop of an apartment with a baggie containing crack cocaine next to his foot. After placing Moody in the back of the cruiser, the officers tested and confirmed the substance was crack cocaine and communicated that fact with each other in the front of the cruiser.
Before they informed Moody of his Miranda rights, Moody made “an excited utterance” that he knew he had been standing over crack cocaine. He also made further incriminating statements. Charged with possession of crack cocaine, Moody pleaded not guilty and filed a motion to suppress, which the trial court granted.
In disagreeing with the trial court, Judge Cunningham wrote that officers sharing the results of a field test with each other “does not, without more, suggest that the officers were attempting to evoke a response from the suspect.”
She continued: “Officer Wolpert made a straightforward statement to his partner about the field test result; the officers did not engage in a lengthy conversation, nor was the conversation framed in such a way as to encourage a response from Moody. We see no ‘measure of compulsion above and beyond that inherent in custody itself’ under the facts presented in this case,” quoting from a U.S. Supreme Court case, Rhode Island v. Innis.
Judges Mike Fain and Thomas J. Grady concurred in the July 27 opinion. The case was sent back to the trial court for further proceedings.
State v. Moody, 2012-Ohio-3390
Criminal Appeal From: Montgomery County Common Pleas Court
Judgment Appealed From Is: Reversed and Remanded
Date of Judgment Entry on Appeal: July 27, 2012
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