A Greenfield man seeking to suppress evidence in a case where he was previously indicted on nearly 30 drug charges is apparently heading to trial after his motion was denied Wednesday in Highland County Common Pleas Court.
Jeffrey L. Coleman, 49, is scheduled to face a jury on March 28.
Coleman was charged in a December indictment with 29 drug charges that include first-degree felony engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, and multiple fourth- and fifth-degree drug trafficking and possession charges.
Dayton defense attorney Daniel O’Brien contended in the motion to suppress filed with the court that when Coleman was arrested on the indictment he was not properly administered his Miranda rights, and that what was advised by law enforcement was “deficient and insufficient.” He also argued that since Coleman was detained at the time of the interview in question, the defendant’s statements were not given voluntarily, and that he was coerced and under duress.
Prosecutor Anneka Collins said that a short recording of the interview would show Coleman’s statements were voluntary. That recording was played for the court. Lasting less than four minutes, Det. Sgt. Chris Davis of the Ross County Sheriff’s Office, who also testified on Wednesday, could be heard administering the Miranda rights at two different points during the brief interview.
O’Brien, however, pointed out as Davis was on the stand that what the detective offered was not the rights verbatim, but Davis said he believed that his administering the Miranda rights from memory had the same meaning as the verbatim version.
Collins said Davis didn’t give the Miranda rights verbatim, but the law says he does not have to. She said that in the recording Coleman indicated two times that he understood what was being explained to him in the patrol car.
Along with saying that Davis’ administration of Miranda rights was “partial and incomplete,” O’Brien argued that Coleman was being coerced during the questioning as he was being detained. O’Brien also said that Davis did not ask Coleman if he wanted to waive his rights. He said there was “a large chasm between what happened and what should have happened.”
After a brief recess granted to the defense, judge Rocky Coss returned to the courtroom and said he had listened to the recording again.
“I’m not sure why we are here,” the judge said. He ruled that the Miranda rights had been “adequately explained” to Coleman. He found that the defendant’s statements were voluntarily given and that Coleman being in custody was not in itself coercion. Coss overruled the motion to suppress evidence.
In other hearings this week, Tracey L. O’Cull, 39, pled guilty to two fifth-degree felony counts of trafficking in heroin and was sentenced to nine months on each of those counts. The sentences are to run consecutively.
Coss based his sentencing on O’Cull’s previous record and the fact that the prison sentence was a joint recommendation from the state and defense.
Reese Binegar, 44, Greenfield, is heading to prison for a year after pleading guilty to fifth-degree felony theft. Collins said Binegar has a prior felony conviction and prior prison term.
Alex D. Cox, 34, was granted judicial release to the STAR residential treatment program. He will remain in prison until his April bed date for the facility.
Cox was sentenced to 30 months in prison last June after he pled guilty to third-degree felony illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs.
Jesse Howland, 38, Hillsboro, pled guilty to marijuana possession and aggravated possession of methamphetamine, both fifth-degree felonies, and was granted intervention in lieu of conviction.
If Howland successfully completes the program, the felony charges will be dismissed.
Dawn Sharp, 25, Sardinia, was terminated from intervention in lieu of conviction after admitting to violations that included not reporting to probation and using drugs.
She was granted intervention in lieu of conviction last May after pleading guilty to fifth-degree felony heroin possession. She is scheduled to be sentenced on the charge next month.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.