The case is State v. Codeluppi, Slip Opinion No. 2014-Ohio-1574.
The Ohio Supreme Court has held that a highly detailed pleading of the facts and law is not required to trigger the right to a hearing on a motion to suppress.
In this case, the defendant was was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated (“OVI”).
There was no video recording of the traffic stop and the field sobriety tests conducted. The police report indicated only:
the law- enforcement officer administered the three field sobriety tests that are standardized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) guidelines: (1) horizontal-gaze nystagmus, (2) walk and turn, and (3) one-leg stand. The report described Codeluppi’s actions and the law-enforcement officer’s findings, but did not describe the instructions and demonstrations given by the officer prior to each test.
Under Ohio law, the results of the field sobriety tests are not admissible at trial unless the state shows by clear and convincing evidence that the officer administered the test in substantial compliance with NHTSA guidelines.
The Defendant filed a motion to suppress the evidence obtained during the traffic stop. The State objected, arguing that the defendant motion lacked “sufficient particularity on the issue of alleged improper administration of field sobriety tests.”
The judge denied the motion, and she later plead no contest and was sentenced.
Ohio Criminal Rule 47 governs motions. The Rule provides that a motion “shall state with particularity the grounds upon which it is made and shall set forth the relief or order sought. It shall be supported by a memorandum containing citations of authority, and may also be supported by an affidavit.”
The Supreme Court has previously interpreted this rule to mean that a defendant must state the motion’s legal and factual bases with sufficient particularity to place the prosecutor and the court on notice of the issues to be decided.
The court explained that a motion “does not require that a defendant set forth the basis for suppression in excruciating detail. Instead, the question is whether the language used provides sufficient notice to the state.” In this case, the defendant’s motion met this standard by alleging that the officer had not conducted the field sobriety tests in substantial compliance with NHTSA guidelines. The court concluded, “This statement was sufficient to identify the issues [the defendant] was raising . . . . [T]he state could have no doubt about the basis for the motion to suppress.”