State v. Kendall, 2010-Ohio-227, 2009-CA-0010 (OHCA5). In this case, the State of Ohio appeals the August 12, 2009 Judgment Entry of the Morrow County Municipal Court granting defendant-appellee Lawrence G. 's motion to suppress evidence. The trial court granted the motion, ruling that a mere crack in the windshield did not justify a stop. "Well that can't be right, " said the prosecutor; "we are justified in pulling someone over for window tint." Off the parties went to the Fifth District Court of Appeals for the answer.
Part II: The Ruling
They ruled, "O.A.C. 4501:2-1-11 is the administrative section for Motor Vehicle Inspection by the state highway patrol. Thus, we agree with the trial court that this section of the administrative code relates to R.C. 4513.12(B) that authorizes the state highway patrol to stop and inspect vehicles. Although we agree that administrative agencies' rules that are issued pursuant to statutory authority have the force and effect of law, we do not agree that O.A .C. 4501:2-1-11 was issued pursuant to any authority set out in R.C. 4513.02(A). This is in marked contrast to R.C. 4513.241 that specifically authorizes the director of public safety to adopt rules governing the use of tinted glass on vehicle windshields as is set out in O.A.C. 4501-41." Id. at ? 17-18.
Part III: The Ruling (continued)
The Court concluded that the simple appearance of a crack in a does not give rise to a reasonable suspicion of a violation of R.C. 4513.02(A). State v. Latham, Montgomery App. No. 20302, 2004-Ohio-2314 at ? 19. Rather, this Court has recognized that the size and placement of the crack must be sufficient to create a reasonable suspicion that R .C. 4513.02 was being violated. State v. Repp, Knox 01-CA-11, 2001-Ohio-7034.
It seems incongruous that window tint would be sufficient basis for a stop, but a cracked-but-not-obstructive windshield would not be sufficient. This is exactly the reason to hire experience and knowledgeable counsel (like those rated by this site). Conscientious attorneys are always trying to keep informed of decision that affect the accused.
Additional resources provided by the author
State v. Kendall, 2010-Ohio-227, 2009-CA-0010 (OHCA5)
State v. Latham, Montgomery App. No. 20302, 2004-Ohio-2314 at ¶ 19
State v. Repp, Knox 01-CA-11, 2001-Ohio-7034