Franklin County Criminal Law Casebook
Reproduced with permission from
Allen V. Adair and the Franklin County Public Defender Office
Also see Arrest;
Competency to be a Witness/Police officers.
R.C. 2935.03 -- Officer's power to arrest
without warrant; pursuit outside jurisdiction.
Scott v. Harris
(2007), 127 S.Ct. 1769 -- Pursuing officer bumped fleeing suspect from behind at
high speed. Crash rendered the driver a quadriplegic, and he brought a 1983
suit. Summary judgment should have been granted on the officer's claim of
qualified immunity as the Supreme Court (unlike the lower courts) concludes
there is no disputable issue of fact as to the reasonableness of his actions.
Compare Tennessee v. Garner (1975), 471 U.S. 1.
Hassiah v. Walton (6th Cir. 1982), 676 F.
2d 208 -- Ohio law does not authorize the use of gunfire to stop a fleeing
misdemeanant. At 215: "Police employment of gunfire to effect the capture of a
citizen who is fleeing from the law can, of course, be justifies in some
circumstances. It is justifiable to prevent the escape of a person known to have
committed or be in the process of committing a felony involving violence. It is
justifiable, also, on self-defense grounds if the fleeing person by his or her
actions endangers the life or limbs of the pursuing officer."
Tennessee v. Garner (1975), 471 U.S. 1 --
Apprehension by the use of deadly force is a seizure subject to the Fourth
Amendment requirement of reasonableness. Notwithstanding a statute to the
contrary, the police may not use deadly force to prevent the escape of a suspect
unless the officer has probable cause that the suspect poses a significant
threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.
Whitley v. Albers (1986), 475 U.S. 251 --
It is not cruel and unusual punishment to use necessary force in quelling a
prison riot. Prisoner was shot in the leg without warning.
State v. McCrone (1989), 63 Ohio App. 3d
831 -- A suspect is not required to produce a drivers' license as identification
upon the demand of a police officer.
Carter v. Simpson (1984), 16 Ohio App. 3d
420, -- "A few episodes of excessive use of force (by a police officer,
reflected in his personnel file), whether provable or not, do not constitute
proof of a regular practice of meeting a particular kind of situation with a
specific type of conduct so that the conduct becomes semi-automatic." If
admissible at all, such incidents would come in under Evid. R. 404(B).
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State v. Jones,
121 Ohio St. 3d 103,
2009-Ohio-316 – Syllabus: "A law-enforcement officer who personally observed
a traffic violation while outside the officer‘s statutory territorial
jurisdiction has probable cause to make a traffic stop; the stop is not
unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment. (State v. Weideman
(2002), 94 Ohio St. 3d 501, 764 N.E. 2d 997, followed.)"
State v. Weideman 94 Ohio St. 3d 502,
2002-Ohio-1484 -- Based on probable cause, officer detained drunk driver while
outside her jurisdiction until a Highway Patrol officer arrived, but did not
make the actual arrest. Syllabus: "Where a law enforcement officer, acting
outside the officer's statutory territorial jurisdiction, stops and detains a
motorist for an offense committed and observed outside the officer's
jurisdiction, the seizure of the motorist by the officer is not unreasonable
under the Fourth Amendment. Therefore, the officer's statutory violation does
not require suppression of all evidence flowing from the stop." Also see
State v. Taylor, 159 Ohio App. 3d 629,
State v. Fitzpatrick, 152 Ohio App. 3d
2003-Ohio-1405 -- Sylvania officer thought defendant was "moving kind of
slow" but didn't learn plate was registered to another vehicle until the officer
and the defendant had driven into Toledo. Defendant was taken back to Sylvania
headquarters where he failed a breath test. Suppression was required. State
v. Weideman, 94 Ohio St. 3d 502,
2002-Ohio-1484, distinguished as the
officer in that case observed driving that was a danger to public safety and
merely held the suspect until an officer with territorial jurisdiction arrived
and made an arrest.
State v. Black, Fulton App. No.
2004-Ohio-218 -- Park ranger had statutory authority to make a traffic
stop for an offense on a roadway adjoining a park, even though he followed the
violator for several miles at a high rate of speed before activating his beacon.
Cincinnati v. Alexander (1978), 54 Ohio
St. 2d 248 -- Syllabus: "The authority granted in
R.C. 2935.01 to a police
officer to 'arrest and detain a person found violating a law of this state' does
not confer authority upon a municipal police officer to arrest without a warrant
outside the geographical boundaries of his municipality for traffic offenses
observed by the officer to have been committed outside such municipal limits."
Also see State v. Wallace (1976), 50 Ohio App. 2d 78 where the same
conclusion was reached, vindicating the trial court's application of the
Kettering v. Hollen (1980), 64 Ohio St. 2d
232 -- "The exclusionary rule will not be applied to the testimony of an
arresting police officer regarding the actions of a misdemeanant observed as a
result of an extraterritorial warrantless arrest, even though the arrest is
unauthorized under existing state law, if the arrest is based on probable cause
that a crime was committed within the officer's jurisdiction, and if the officer
was in hot pursuit of the misdemeanant." (syllabus). Also see State v. Droste
(1998), 83 Ohio St. 3d 36; State v. Aleshire (August 5, 1986), Franklin
Co. App. No. 85AP-869, unreported (1986 Opinions 2020); State v. Alexander
(August 3, 1989), Franklin Co. App. Nos. 89AP-21 through 25, unreported (1989
Opinions 2741, 2747).
State v. Holbert (1974), 38 Ohio St. 2d
113 -- An arrested person is not immune from prosecution merely because his
arrest was "unlawful" or "unauthorized." Also see State v. Hooper (1966),
10 Ohio App. 2d 229.
State v. Rouse (1988), 53 Ohio App. 3d 48:
Deputy sheriff may make an arrest within territorial limits of a municipality or
township since the sheriff as the chief law enforcement officer in the county is
generally deemed to have jurisdiction coextensive with the county.
State v. Burger (1986), 33 Ohio App. 3d
231, 233 -- Highway patrol may arrest traffic violators on federal land unless
the federal government has accepted jurisdiction over that land by filing a
notice with the governor in accordance with 40 U.S.C. Sec. 255. Also see Cincinnati v. Nussbaum (1968), 14 Ohio Misc. 19.
State v. Nunally (1992), 83 Ohio App. 3d
741 -- Park ranger found to have authority to make OMVI arrest within park
Columbus v. DePaso (September 26, 1989),
Franklin Co. App. Nos. 89AP-268 through 271, unreported (1989 Opinions 3679) --
Arrest by township constable outside territorial limits not saved by mistaken
belief he had county wide jurisdiction or that jurisdiction could be conferred
upon him over the radio by an officer of the municipality within which the
arrest was made. Nor may an officer force his way into the suspects home as a
continuation of "fresh pursuit."
State v. Thierbach (1993), 92 Ohio App. 3d
365 -- Cincinnati police officer pursued drunk driver across the I-471 bridge to
Kentucky where the stop was made. (1) Applying the Ker-Frisbie doctrine, there
was no Fourth Amendment Violation. Even where a suspect is arrested illegally,
evidence obtained without violations of the warrant or probable cause
requirements of the Fourth Amendment will not be suppressed. (2) The Ohio
Constitution affords no broader protection in these circumstances. (3) While
there may have been a violation of statutes relating to fresh pursuit, the
exclusionary rule is not available for statutory infractions.
State v. Walden (1988), 51 Ohio App. 3d
209 -- Because the defendant was concluded to have voluntarily walked back to
cruiser parked on one side of the state line from his vehicle parked across the
line in Indiana, and arrest occurred in cruiser, there was no unlawful
State v. Coppick (1995), 103 Ohio App. 3d
405 -- After careful description of the defendant's movements and jurisdictional
limits, and exposition of manner in which individual factual issues were
determined and must be reviewed on appeal, court upholds trial court's finding
arrest outside jurisdictional limits was illegal. However, since the violation
was statutory, the exclusionary rule will not be applied.
Stow v. Riggenbach (1994), 97 Ohio App. 3d
661 -- Drunk driver crashed into a tree just past an intersection and the county
line. Though officers from the county in which he was prosecuted were without
statutory authority to arrest the defendant outside their jurisdiction, court
refuses to apply the exclusionary rule to a non-constitutional violation. Also
see State v. Filer (1995), 106 Ohio App. 3d 731.
State v. Grubb (1993), 82 Ohio App. 3d 187
-- (1) No left turn sign posted on university property by university employees
without obtaining proper authorization from the city of Columbus, and not
conforming to other requirements, was unenforceable. (2) Even if the sign were
valid, it could not be enforced by university police as High Street, onto which
turn would have to be made, was not within their territorial jurisdiction.
State v. Brown (1993), 64 Ohio Misc. 2d 41
-- R.C. 2935.03(E)(2) permits a township police officer to stop a motorist for
an infraction committed within the township boundaries, but after he had turned
onto a road immediately adjacent to the boundary.
Fairborn v. Munkus (1971), 28 Ohio St. 2d
207 -- A municipal police officer may make an arrest for a violation of a
municipal ordinance, upon a properly issued warrant, anywhere within the
jurisdictional limits of the issuing court, even though that location may be
outside the territorial jurisdiction of the department the officer is employed
State v. Layman (1986), 29 Ohio App. 3d
343 -- The territorial jurisdiction of a township police officer is limited to
the unincorporated areas of the township. The territorial jurisdiction of a
township police constable extends throughout the county in which his township is
State v. Darga (1985), 30 Ohio App. 3d 54
-- When a township constable observes an offense being committed within the
unincorporated portions of the township, which he patrols, he may make an arrest
within the city limits of an incorporated municipality within township limits.
State v. Beckwith (1987), 38 Ohio App. 3d
30 -- A police officer may make an extraterritorial arrest if he acts in
substantial compliance with
State v. Dotson (1987), 35 Ohio App. 3d
135 -- Authority of police to conduct an investigation of criminal activity is
not limited by their territorial jurisdiction.
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Los Angeles v. Rettele
(2007), 127 S.Ct. 1989 -- In the context of a 1983 suit, it was not unreasonable
for officers executing a warrant to force a couple to stand naked in their
bedroom for a few minutes though the suspects who used to live at that address
were of a different race. The police were entitled to exercise unquestioned
command of the situation and thus were protected by immunity.
State v. Brocious, Clark App. No. 2002
2003-Ohio-4708 -- Deputy was measuring skid marks. Fireman parked truck
over marks. Fireman called deputy an asshole after being ordered to move the
truck. Deputy drew his gun, cuffed the fireman, and placed him under arrest.
Special prosecutor charged deputy with aggravated menacing and misconduct at the
scene of an emergency. Since the prosecutor could not recall the extent to which
she relied upon a compelled, and thus immunized, statement completed by the
deputy, charges were properly dismissed. See Garrity v. State of New Jersey
(1967), 385 U.S. 493. Dissenting judge believes suppression of statement was the
appropriate remedy. Also see State v. Brocious, Clark App. No. 04CA0003
suggesting charges could be properly refiled by a new prosecutor not tainted by
knowledge of the immunized statement.
Baum v. Ohio State Highway Patrol (1995),
72 Ohio St. 3d 469 -- Syllabus: "In the absence of willful or wanton misconduct,
the State Highway Patrol is immune from liability for injuries caused by a
patrol officer in the operation of his vehicle while responding to an emergency
call." See dissent on the unnecessary danger created by high speed pursuit of 14
year old joyriders.
Piphus v. Blum (1995), 108 Ohio App. 3d
218 -- Officers were not entitled to summary judgment on the basis of qualified
immunity on claims seeking equitable relief. Black motorists claimed
discriminatory pattern of making traffic stops to facilitate drug interdiction,
and sought injunctive relief.
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City of Ontario, California v. Quon
(2010), 130 S.Ct. 2619 – Police department acquired pagers for officers to use.
These could send text, but some officers, including Quon, exceeded their monthly
limit.. Department obtained records. Some of Quon’s calls were sexual in nature,
leading to discipline. 1983 action is unavailing as “search“ of text messages
was reasonable, because there was a work-related purpose
Cleveland v. Lester,
143 Ohio Misc. 2d 39,
2007-Ohio-5375 -- Citizen believed he was being stalked by an officer
because that officer had stopped and ticketed him twice in the same month. When
this was determined to be unfounded he was charged with making a false
allegation of police conduct in violation of
Dismissed. The statute refers to a complaint, construed in accordance with Crim.
R. 3 to mean a sworn complaint. The form used by the defendant was unsworn.
State v. English, 120 Ohio Misc. 2d 16,
2002-Ohio-5440 -- The word "complaint" as used in
R.C. 2921.15 (filing a false
complaint against a peace officer) means a criminal complaint and not a
department citizen complaint form. In any even the statute violates the Free
Speech Clause of the First Amendment.
Akron v. Davenport, Summit App. No.
2004-Ohio-435 -- Defendant was charged with making false allegations of
misconduct by a police officer based on his taped statement to a sergeant at the
scene. "Complaint" as used in
R.C. 2921.15 means a written complaint. Proffer of
facts in support of a no contest plea did not support conviction.
State v. Baker, 157 Ohio App. 3d 87,
2004-Ohio-2207 -- Ordinance proscribing verbal abuse of a police officer
survives overbreadth attack by being construed to be limited to fighting words.
While it is presumptively invalid for being based on the content of speech, the
basis for the content discrimination consists entirely of the very reason the
entire class of speech is proscribable and the nature of the content
discrimination is such that there is no realistic possibility that official
suppression of ideas is afoot.
State v. Powell (1999), 134 Ohio App. 3d
616 -- Chiropractor bought accident reports, then called those injured telling
them he was from the police department or that he was an officer, then
recommending himself to provide treatment. Personating an officer conviction was
supported by the evidence.
State v. Rutland, 152 Ohio App. 3d 39,
2003-Ohio-1425 -- Uniformed and armed "constable" driving a marked Crown
Victoria with a light bar properly convicted of personating an officer for
having escorted a funeral procession. Neither defendant or his employer had the
required licenses to act as a "private police officer." "Constables" must be
either employed or commissioned by a political subdivision of the state or
State v. Smith, Mahoning App. Nos. 02
CA 227, 231,
2004-Ohio-4285 -- "Ohio State Police Constable Service" operatives
were properly convicted of impersonating a police officer. It doesn't matter
that Youngstown police officers targeting constables working security in the
city were not misled by the defendants' uniforms and badges. Nor does conviction
require proof of fraudulent intent. Mistaken belief that their work was legal is
not a defense. State did not have to prove they were not licensed private
security officers. Separate conviction for committing an offense while
impersonating an officer fails as the state failed to prove the gun carried was
State v. Sess (1999), 136 Ohio App. 3d
689 -- Police officer was required to take a polygraph test as a part of
assignment to a regional narcotics unit. Before the test he admitted that in the
past he had planted drugs on a suspect. Further information concerning the
specifics of this incident was coerced by the threat of losing his job. (1)
Admissions were properly suppressed under the coerced confession rule. (2) Court
declines to address the immunity issue raised pursuant to Jones v. Franklin
County Sheriff (1990), 52 Ohio St. 3d 40. (3) Neither the inevitable
discovery exception or the independent source doctrine save the admissibility of
information derived from such admissions.
State v. Lozada 92 Ohio St. 3d 74,
2001-Ohio-149 -- Syllabus: "During a routine traffic stop, it is reasonable for
the officer to search the driver for weapons before placing the driver in a
patrol car, if placing the driver in the patrol car during the investigation
prevents officers of the driver from being subjected to a dangerous condition
and placing the driver in the patrol car is the least intrusive means to avoid
the dangerous condition. (2) During a routine traffic stop, it is unreasonable
for an officer to search the driver for weapons before placing him or her in a
patrol car, if the sole reason for placing the driver in a patrol car during the
investigation is for the convenience of the officer." Also see State v.
Dabney, Belmont App. No. 92 BE 31,
2003-Ohio-5141. (Unreasonable to place
passenger in rear of cruiser after already frisking him for weapons and cuffing
him behind the back.)
Middletown v. Flinchum 95 Ohio St. 3d 43,
2002-Ohio-1625 -- Syllabus: "When officers, having identified themselves, are in
hot pursuit of a suspect who flees to a house in order to avoid arrest, the
police may enter without a warrant, regardless of whether the offense for which
the offender is being arrested is a misdemeanor." See dissent citing the lack of
exigent circumstances and characterizing the chase as the "lukewarm amble" of a
State v. Stuber, 150 Ohio App. 3d 200,
2002-Ohio-6309 -- Defendant fled into his house when officers arrived to arrest
him on a bench warrant. Presumed failure to comply with knock and announce
requirement before making forcible entry doesn't matter, as officers are deemed
to have been in hot pursuit.
State v. Huff (2001), 145 Ohio App. 3d
555, 561 -- "The opinion of a witness as to whether another witness is being
truthful is inadmissible...The fact that the vouching witnesses were police
officers caused even more of a problem."
State v. Karasek, Montgomery App. Nos.
17408 and 17409,
2002-Ohio-2616 -- Woman arrested for civil contempt was
frustrated by delay in being processed for release and kneed jail officer in the
groin. Because civil contempt is not a crime or delinquent act under
2903.12(C)(2)(b), she was erroneously convicted of assault on a corrections
officer. Assault conviction stands.
State v. Brewer (1994), 96 Ohio App. 3d
413 -- Recklessness and not strict liability, is the culpable mental state for
failure to obey the order of a traffic officer,
R.C. 2921.331(A). Highway Patrol
officer arrested a medic who refused to move an ambulance at a wreck location
because doing so would interfere with medical assistance being rendered.
State v. Wagar (1993), 91 Ohio App. 3d 233
-- Misconduct at an emergency conviction upheld where defendant attempted to
move his crashed ultralight aircraft, contrary to the wishes of the Highway
Patrol officer who was investigating the crash.
State v. Reymann (1989), 55 Ohio App. 2d
222 -- Warrantless arrest was illegal when based on hearsay and not officer's
own observations. Though error did not apply directly to hit skip charge
defendant pleaded to, did apply to OMVI charge dropped in plea negotiations,
which process was affected by the erroneous ruling.
Steagald v. United States (1981), 451 U.S.
204 -- Absent consent or exigent circumstances, an arrest warrant does not
authorize search of subject's home. A separate search warrant for the subject's
person must be obtained.
State v. Pembaur (1984), 9 Ohio St. 3d 136
-- Syllabus: "Absent bad faith on the part of a law enforcement officer, an
occupant of business premises cannot obstruct the officer in the discharge of
his duty, whether or not the officer's actions are lawful under the
circumstances. (Columbus v. Fraley, 41 Ohio St. 2d 173 followed.)" While
decision may be defensible insofar as the validity of the defendant's
obstructing official business conviction, conduct of officers was contrary to
rule of Steagald v. United States (1981), 451 U.S. 204.
State v. Doss (1996), 111 Ohio App. 3d 63
-- Licensed private detective and security guard improperly convicted of
impersonating a police officer.
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