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Search of Vehicles and Traffic Stops (GPS and the Good-Faith Exception): State of Ohio v. Allen

Question: If you ask your prosecutor if it is OK to put a GPS on a SUV without a warrant and he says “yes,” can you use a good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule even though the advice was incorrect?

Quick Answer: Probably not. The good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule is normally applied in cases in which the police acted in good faith based on a binding judicial document, such as a faulty warrant.


Miranda and Confessions (Requests for an Attorney): State of Ohio v. Ream

Question: Are statements such as “get a public defender in here” and “they’re gonna have to provide me with some counsel” enough to activate Miranda rights?
Quick Answer: Maybe. But if the suspect continues to voluntarily talk and re-waives his right to counsel, even if it occurs several times throughout an interrogation, no violation of Miranda has occurred.


Proper Protocol (Reliance on Informants): State of Ohio v. Norwood

Question: If you receive a tip from an “identified citizen informant” concerning an intoxicated individual located at a drive-through window of a Taco Bell, is this a basis to make a stop?
Quick Answer: Yes, if the tip is reliable and has been corroborated by independent police work.


Driving and Intoxication (Disorderly Conduct): State of Ohio v. Vause

Question: Do you have probable cause to arrest an individual for disorderly conduct if she is intoxicated, even if she is polite and cooperative?
Quick Answer: Yes, if her condition poses a potential of physical harm to self, others, or property.


Search and Seizure (Hotel Rooms): State of Ohio v. Wright

Question: If a hotel employee gives you permission, can you search a hotel room occupied by a guest?
Quick Answer: No, unless the employee has, by an affirmative action, evicted the guest and the guest is aware of the eviction.


Brimfield Township Police Tally More Than 91,000 Facebook Followers

The small community of Brimfield Township, just east of Akron, is home to one of the most famous police departments in social media history, as evidenced by its 91,000-plus Facebook followers. About 7,000 are residents — an impressive total considering the township’s entire population is about 10,500.


Traffic Stops (Turn Signals on, but no Turn is Made): State of Ohio v. Coyle

Question: Do you have reasonable suspicion to pull a car over when the signal is on for 10 seconds, but the car does not turn?
Quick Answer: No.


OVI Tests (Impact of a Lip Ring): State of Ohio v. Gibbs

Question: Can you have an OVI suspect perform a breath test with a lip ring in the mouth?
Quick Answer: Yes, if the lip ring was not inserted in the mouth/lip less than 20 minutes before the test.


Miranda and Confessions (Confession by Individual with Mild Mental Retardation): State of Ohio v. Noles

Question: When you ask an individual with mild mental retardation questions and he confesses to a crime, is that a legitimate confession and did you need to give him Miranda warnings?
Quick Answer: A confession is legitimate if it is voluntary and you can show the individual understood the situation and consequences of making the confession. As you know, Miranda only needs to be given in situations in which the individual is in custody. In this type of situation, the individual needs to understand he is not in custody.


Proper Protocol (How to Weigh Marijuana): State of Ohio v. Flachbart

Question: If you find a brick of marijuana, what parts of the plant are accounted for in the final weight?
Quick Answer: Anything contained in the marijuana brick can be weighed if that was the way you received it.


Search and Seizure (Scent of Marijuana is Reasonable Suspicion): State of Ohio v. Harris and State of Ohio v. Green

Question: If you smell marijuana while at a suspect’s home or vehicle, do you have probable cause for a search?
Quick Answer: Yes.


The “Reality” of Cold Cases

With the craze of reality TV, shows like “Cops” have become a social phenomenon. Now reality TV has set out to solve cold cases with “Cold Case Files” on A&E and “Cold Justice” on TNT.


Constitutional Requirements (Miranda): State v. Matthews

Question: When a suspect refuses to waive Miranda but keeps talking and offers voluntary statements about the case, can those statements we used against the suspect?
Quick Answer: Yes, if you don’t ask him any questions or otherwise provoke, coerce, or induce him to talk.


Proper Protocol (Dereliction of Duty): State v. Beggs

Question: Is it a dereliction of an officer’s duty to leave an intoxicated individual unattended after picking him up from the scene of a one-car accident and hearing of various complaints of his reckless driving?
Quick Answer: Yes.


OVI Tests (Intoxilyzer 8000): State of Ohio v. Lambert

Questions: 1) Does the certification for the Intoxilyzer 8000 have to be done at the patrol station if it had been done prior to transport? 2) Do you have to do the Intoxilyzer 8000 dry gas control test after each breath test?
Quick Answers: 1) No, if the certification was done prior to transport to the patrol station and diagnostic tests were run on delivery, there has been compliance with the rules governing certification. 2) No, a dry control test is done before the subject’s first breath and after the second breath, but not in between.


Traffic Stops (Marked Lane Violations): The Cases of Muller, Thomas, Parker, and Shaffer

Question: When do you have reasonable, articulable suspicion to pull someone over for a marked lane violation?
Quick Answer: When a vehicle crosses a marked lane for reasons other than safety, you are able to pull someone over for a marked lane violation.


Search and Seizure (GPS Surveillance): State v. Wilcox

Question: What information do you need to give the court to get a warrant for surveillance on a vehicle?
Quick Answer: You need to tell the court specific information about the vehicle, including the VIN number, ownership, and where the car is normally located. You also need to give the court a link between the crime and the vehicle, leading it to conclude, “Yes, this vehicle was probably involved in the criminal offense, so now you have probable cause.”


Organized Crime Not Unique to Big Cities

What do you think when you hear the words “organized crime”? Maybe gangsters, big cities, drug rings, or a large crime family? Do you think of a small Ohio town?


Proper Protocol: State of Ohio v. Schneller

Question: Can you patrol in an unmarked police vehicle to enforce traffic laws?

Quick Answer: No.


Search and Seizure (People/Property): State of Ohio v. Mechling

Question: When eavesdropping on a suspect, do you have reasonable suspicion to conduct a search when you hear him deny having contraband?
Quick Answer: Probably not.


Search and Seizure (Electronic Search): State of Ohio v. Lemasters

Question: Can you obtain Internet files from a third-party provider with an investigative subpoena even though the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) requires a court order or warrant?
Quick Answer: Yes, but only if the suspect is not entitled to a reasonable expectation of privacy based on his conduct. Otherwise, a warrant or court order is required.


Search and Seizure (Vehicles): State of Ohio v. White

Question: Can you continue to detain an individual after a routine traffic stop if you have a hunch the person has engaged in illegal activity?
Quick Answer: Depends. You may detain an individual after a routine traffic stop only if you have a reasonable, articulable suspicion that criminal activity is occurring. If you detain someone longer than necessary, it may not matter whether he gave consent to a search.


Interrogations: State of Ohio v. Tullis

Question: Do you have to give Miranda warnings to suspects who voluntarily come to the police station for an interview, but who are not in custody?
Quick Answer: No, Miranda is only required for custodial interrogation.


Sessions Focus on Unsolved Homicide Investigations

The Attorney General’s Office will offer a pair of free two-day symposiums this fall on unsolved homicide investigations.
Offered as part of the office’s Ohio Unsolved Homicide Initiative and led by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), the Unsolved Homicide Investigative Strategies and Resources sessions are Sept. 25–26 in Richfield and Nov. 12–13 in Bowling Green. Earlier sessions were held in Cincinnati and Athens.


Conference focuses on officer safety, wellness

Putting others first is a reality of police work. Yet research and real life clearly show that the stress of the job can take a toll on those who do it, prompting a decision to focus the Ohio Attorney General’s 2013 Law Enforcement Conference on officer safety and wellness.

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