Fifth District Avoids Judicial Review of Police - DUI News - 9/29/2016

Fifth District substitutes its decision on a suppression motion for that of the trial court, reasoning that the trial court substituted its decision for the police officer, thus eliminating review of the the police officer's actions.

State v. Leyden, 2016 Ohio 5748 (5th Dist).

August 29, 2016

Leyden was subjected to a traffic stop and field sobriety tests after which he was charged with an OVI.  He properly filed a suppression motion, which the trial court granted, concluding:  "After considering the totality of the circumstances, the Court is not convinced that the trooper had probable cause to arrest the defendant for OVI and request a chemical sample for testing. Accordingly, the defendant's motion to suppress is GRANTED."

The state appealed, however.  The Fifth District reviewed that the proper standard is, "Probable cause exists when a reasonable prudent person would believe that the person arrested had committed a crime."  The Court seemed to ignore the standard it cited, however, and instead explained, "the probable cause determination is a subjective decision made by the officer at the scene given the objective facts that he/she perceives."

It then proceeded to review the trial court's decision and concluded, "the trial court erred in substituting its own judgment on the issue of probable cause."  Thus, the Fifth District substituted its decision for that of the trial court and reversed its ruling on the suppression motion.  This is simply a poorly reasoned and poorly written opinion from the Fifth District.