A court case involving a traffic stop on I-280 by Lake Township police appears headed to the Ohio Supreme Court.
Mark Hummer, township police chief, said Wednesday he’s conferred with the Wood County prosecutor’s office about the decision and a review by the Supreme Court will be sought.
Drugs seized from the motorist during the traffic stop on I-280 should have been excluded from evidence under Ohio law, the Sixth District Court of Appeals has ruled in partially overturning a November 2012 decision of a lower court.
Terrance Brown, 27, of Detroit, had pled no contest in Wood County Common Pleas Court and was sentenced to a mandatory term of three years in prison for possession of 30 mg. of oxycodone, a second degree felony, after being stopped by a township police officer for a marked lane violation.
The appeals court recently ruled, however, that while Brown’s Fourth Amendment rights were not violated because the officer had probable cause to initiate the stop, the officer violated state law by making the stop on an interstate highway outside the township’s jurisdiction.
In its 11-page decision, the appeals court noted Ohio Revised Code leaves traffic enforcement on interstate highways within the jurisdiction of the Ohio State Highway Patrol and sheriff departments.
“Further, no extenuating circumstances were presented to justify an extraterritorial stop by township police officers for this type of traffic violation,” the appeals court ruled. “Therefore, we find the extraterritorial stop was unreasonable under the Ohio Constitution.”
The officer was watching southbound traffic on I-280 in March 2011 and began following another vehicle before noticing the passenger side tires of Brown’s vehicle cross over the white line for about 100 feet, according to court records. The officer continued to follow Brown’s vehicle and initiated a stop north of the intersection with the Ohio Turnpike, about 2 ½ miles from where the officer was parked.
The officer didn’t cite Brown for a lane violation but did arrest him for possession of drugs.
Brown denied crossing the line and said he was driving deliberately to avoid being stopped because he had an outstanding warrant and was in possession of drugs that evening, according to court records.
The case is remanded to the common pleas court for “proceedings consistent with this decision,” the appeals court wrote.
Chief Hummer said the traffic stop and alleged lane violation both occurred within the township’s jurisdiction on I-280.