The Ohio Third District Court of Appeals in Lima, Ohio unanimously ruled on Monday that the drug evidence obtained at a traffic stop should be suppressed, affirming the lower court’s ruling. The ruling stemmed from a case in which the defendant, a Tennessee man, was arrested and indicted on the charge of felony possession of oxycodone after a State Highway Patrol sergeant searched his vehicle.
According to the appeals court ruling, the Ohio Highway Patrol sergeant did not follow proper procedure to search the Tennessee man. The sergeant claimed that he smelled marijuana on the man after pulling him over at a traffic stop on Interstate 75, so he conducted a search of his person and vehicle and found more than 1,000 oxycodone pills. However, state prosecutor’s were unable to prove that the sergeant had probable cause to conduct the search.
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The defendant’s case was handled in Hancock County Common Pleas Court. The trial court ruled to suppress the evidence obtained by the sergeant at the traffic stop, saying that the sergeant’s testimony was not credible in regards to the smell of marijuana (since no marijuana was found in the vehicle or on the defendant’s person). The appeals court affirmed that decision in yesterday’s ruling, saying that the sergeant should have obtained a warrant before the search.