Ohio Supreme Court Rules on DUI Motion To Suppress Issue
The Ohio Supreme Court ruled on a DUI Motion to Suppress issue in State v. Codeluppi, 2012-Ohio-5812.
In August of 2011, Officer Ryan M. Young of the North Ridgeville Police Department stopped Ms. Codeluppi on Lorain Road for driving 53 m.p.h. in a 35 m.p.h. zone. When Officer Young walked to the driver’s window of Ms. Codeluppi’s car, he smelled a strong odor of alcohol coming from the interior of the car. Following an investigation and administration of standardized field sobriety tests, the defendant was arrested for OVI.
In her motion to suppress, Ms. Codeluppi asserted that: the officer lacked sufficient reasonable grounds to effectuate a traffic stop and/or probable cause to arrest her, the Field Sobriety Tests were not conducted in substantial compliance with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) Guidelines, and statements she made during the traffic stop were obtained in violation of her Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Ms. Codeluppi also requested a hearing.
In its response, the State argued that Ms. Codeluppi’s DUI motion to suppress should be denied because, pursuant to Crim.R. 47, it failed to state with particularity the respects in which Officer Young failed to conduct the Field Sobriety Tests in substantial compliance with NHTSA guidelines. As such, the State contended that Ms. Codeluppi did not put it on notice by setting forth any factual basis for her challenge to the constitutionality of the traffic stop and arrest. On November 14, 2011, after reviewing both parties’ arguments, the trial court denied Ms. Codeluppi’s motion to suppress without conducting the scheduled hearing, and, instead, set the matter for a pre-trial. In its order, the trial court stated:
[Ms. Codeluppi’s] Motion to Suppress is denied, at the [S]tate’s request, due to the fact it fails to state legal and factual bases with sufficient particularity to * * * place the prosecutor and the court on notice of the issues to be decided. * * * Case remains set for pretrial on 11/15/11 at 1:30 P.M.
This is an all-to-familiar response from some courts in addressing a motion to suppress and a powerful tactic to prevent a defendant from asserting a DUI motion to suppress. Much confusion has been raised as to what does, and what does not, constitute a proper motion. While it is understandable that a court does not want to make a prosecutor “guess” as to what may be raised in a DUI motion to suppress, it is also a devastating blow to deny the single most important motion in a case because of an improperly filed motion. What is worse, some courts apply this standard in an arbitrary way, denying lengthy or boilerplate motions because they assert issues with too much particularity. This confusion was addressed by the Ohio Supreme Court.
Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger, in her majority opinion, wrote that a motion to suppress need not describe “in excruciating detail” the basis for arguing for suppression of the evidence. It does need, she said, to provide sufficient notice of the issues to be considered. The motion to suppress, she wrote, “is merely a procedural vehicle to ‘put the ball into play’ and serve notice that the defendant intends to have the state meet its legislatively mandated burden of demonstrating compliance with any and all challenged regulations and requirements.” Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justices Terrence O’Donnell, Sharon L. Kennedy, Judith L. French and William M. O’Neill joined Lanzinger’s opinion. Justice Paul E. Pfeifer dissented without an opinion, stating that he would affirm the Ninth District ruling.
Attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in the Miami Valley and throughout Ohio during prom season and beyond. He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself Dayton’s choice for drunk driving defense. Contact Charles Rowland by phone at (937) 318-1384 or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263). If you need assistance after hours, call the 24/7 DUI Hotline at (937) 776-2671. You can have DaytonDUI at your fingertips by downloading the DaytonDUI Android App or have DaytonDUI sent directly to your mobile device by texting DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500. Follow DaytonDUI on Facebook, @DaytonDUI on Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Pheed and Pintrest or get RSS of the Ohio DUI blog. You can email CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or visit his office at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324. “All I do is DUI defense.”
To learn more about a DUI motion to suppress check these city-specific sites at the following links: