State of Ohio v. Justin Wintermeyer, Case No. 2017-1135
Tenth District Court of Appeals (Franklin County)
- Can a defendant claim a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure when police discover the contraband that led to his arrest by searching a companion?
- Do prosecutors waive the right to argue a defendant's lack of standing on appeal if the issue wasn't raised at a trial court evidence suppression hearing?
Two Columbus police officers were called to check on a vacant house with an open window. One officer was stationed in the back of the house when he saw two men walking in the alley behind the backyard. One of the men, Justin Wintermeyer, went inside a house across the alley from where the officer was standing. Wintermeyer returned to the alley about two minutes later and handed an object to his companion, identified in court documents as Mr. Carlson.
Suspecting he just witnessed a narcotics exchange, the officer walked toward the men and shined a flashlight on them. The officer saw an object in a cellophane baggie in Carlson's hand, and he grabbed it from Carlson. The officer detained the two men while another officer tested the substance in the baggie and determined it was heroin.
Wintermeyer was indicted for possession of heroin, a fifth-degree felony, and he filed a motion to suppress the evidence, alleging the police search was a violation of his rights against unreasonable search and seizure guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment.