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Media > Newsletters > Law Enforcement Bulletin > July 2013 > State v. Bolds, Fifth District Court of Appeals

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State v. Bolds, Fifth District Court of Appeals

Question: When a plastic bag of drugs falls out during a pat-down, is it admissible?
Quick answer: Yes.

Facts: Canton Police Officer Richard Hart responded to a report of a person brandishing a firearm. When Hart arrived, he saw Orion Bolds — who matched the description of the suspect — walking around the area with his hands in his pants. Hart handcuffed Bolds and started a pat-down. Because Bolds’ baggy pants were hanging off him, the officer pulled them up to effectively pat down Bold’s upper legs and groin. When he did so, a bag of cocaine fell out.
Why this case is important: Officer Hart was not searching Bolds for drugs. He was making sure Bolds wasn’t armed, and in doing so he readjusted Bolds’ clothes to the degree that is necessary to conduct the pat-down. Bolds was suspected of brandishing a firearm, and when the officer saw him, he had his hands in his pants. The officer reasonably concluded that a weapon might be in Bolds’ pants, so the officer pulled up Bolds’ pants to ensure he could pat down the area effectively. In doing so, the officer dislodged the cocaine.
Keep in mind: Proving that sometimes fashion trends and crime don’t mix, Bolds’ baggy pants led to the discovery of a bag of cocaine.
Visit the Ohio Fifth District Court of Appeals website to view the entire opinion.