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Officer awaits decision



Published: Sat, January 12, 2013 @ 12:05 a.m.

By jeanne starmack

starmack@vindy.com

struthers

A Struthers police officer who was charged with operating a vehicle impaired then fired should know soon if he will get his job back.

Former officer Daniel Lamping also continues to drive unrestricted because the Mahoning County Court in Boardman stayed his license suspension.

Lamping, 34, who was a full-time city officer for seven years, was fired July 27 after an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper charged him with OVI during a traffic stop on South Avenue in Boardman on July 16.

The Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association requested an arbitration hearing on Lamping’s behalf, and that took place in October.

City Safety Services Director Ed Wildes said Friday that the city is expecting to hear the arbitrator’s decision sometime this month, and that decision will be binding.

Meanwhile, Lamping’s criminal case still is pending in the county court.

The OVI arrest was Lamping’s first, and he refused field-sobriety and breath tests. Under Ohio law, his license automatically was suspended for one year because of that refusal. If he had submitted to tests and was over the legal limit, the law calls for a 90-day suspension on a first offense.

At Lamping’s arraign-ment July 19, however, Mahoning County Court Judge Joseph Houser stayed the license suspension pending an appeals hearing for it.

Assistant County Prosecutor Martin Hume, who prosecutes cases in the Boardman court, said that is an unusual circumstance but it was at the request of the defense attorney, who at first wanted the suspension dismissed. Hume said he would not agree to the dismissal and decided to allow due process, and he also said he believed the ALS hearing would take place at a motion-to- suppress hearing in court Oct. 30. Hume explained that the issues of evidence-suppression and license-suspension appeal are largely the same, and the judge would consider both at once.

At the suppression hearing, defense attorney Mark Lavelle asked the court to throw out evidence against Lamping, arguing that the trooper did not have probable cause to even stop him.

But when Hume asked the judge for an ALS hearing as well, Lavelle objected, saying he did not expect it and needed more time to prepare for it.

Judge Houser agreed with Lavelle, telling The Vindicator after the suppression hearing that he likely would rule on the motion to suppress “in two weeks,” and the ALS issue could be decided after that.

As of Friday, there still was no ruling on the motion to suppress.

Court administrator Colleen Ingram said that either the prosecution or the defense could ask for an ALS hearing, and the court simply handles scheduling.

Lavelle’s client has his driving privileges, so it would be unlikely he would ask for a hearing, Hume pointed out Friday.

“The defense won’t request it because there is a stay,” he said.

Hume said he believes “it makes sense” for the prosecution to wait as well.

“The judge has heard essentially the same evidence,” he said. “I’m willing to wait and go from there.”

If Judge Houser rules in favor of the defense on the motion to suppress, that will likely cripple the prosecution’s case, Hume acknowledged.


Comments

1USMC0331(150 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Non-public servants know the law as well.......why the different standards? I agree that you should take your punishment, but do other people lose their job when they get an ovi? i think him losing his job is the higher standard. Hopefully he gets it back because i'm sure the lesson has been learned.

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2laborlaw(5 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Interesting comment....about standards that is. In reality the standard is being applied evenly. His job is to enforce the law and he has to drive a car to do that. This is no different than someone who drives as part of their job losing their license and their job as a result of refusing to blow. The administrative license suspension is not criminal... It is what happens for refusing to submit to a test after he was driving without headlights on AND admitting to drinking.

The only thing happening here which is unconscionable is that he is being allowed privileges AFTER REFUSING TO BLOW. For anyone else, privileges are not given. Another example of the prosecutor treating a cop more favorably than they would another member of the public in the same situation.

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3apollo(1227 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

You are correct laborlaw. I smell a fix coming on this one.

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4laborlaw(5 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

I have the same suspicion. When is the last time a prosecutor cowered at a request of the defense. Frankly this seems like a calculated move to put him in the best position to escape the consequences of his actions. Like there is any real debate about having probable cause to stop the car.... He was driving without headlights....he admitted to drinking.....he refused to take any field tests then refused to submit to a breath test. Seems like enforcing the law and being subject to it are different concepts.

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5zebratank2006(16 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Really? So...who is laborlaw? I'm guessing it's Michael Esposito! Anyone reading this garbage that the vindicator writes should check their (the vindicators) facts! Jean Starmack writes nothing but junk and is a puppet for the struthers adminidtration! Oh and btw....throwing the Boardman Judge and Prosecutor under the bus in a bs article is kinda bush league! Both the judge and prosecutor must be using common sense (which the struthers administration lacks) in making their judgment.

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6zebratank2006(16 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Oh....I'm sorry laborlaw. I forgot to post O.R.C. 4513.16 (FYI it has to do with probable cause).

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7laborlaw(5 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Not quite sure who that is you seem to be harping about, but I did take the liberty of looking up the section that you referenced.

4513.16 Lights of less intensity.

(A) Any motor vehicle may be operated under the conditions specified in section 4513.03 of the Revised Code when it is equipped with two lighted lights upon the front thereof capable of revealing persons and substantial objects seventy-five feet ahead, in lieu of lights required in section 4513.14 of the Revised Code, provided that such vehicle shall not be operated at a speed in excess of twenty miles per hour.

(B) Whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor.

In reality it has nothing to do with probable cause since probable cause is a bare minimum threshold to conduct a stop of a vehicle. However, I will give you that it does have everything to do with whether or not he is convicted of the headlight infraction.

Based on what you have provided, any officer can stop a vehicle based on that statute and still meet that standard based on the suspicion that the vehicles lights run afoul of this regulation. To be successful in pursuing that case, I would agree that the state is going to have to establish that the headlights do not comply with the regualtion. That being said though, it does not change the fact that the stop is good based on the suspicion that whatever lights he had were not sufficient. And since that is the case, what transpires after that stop (e.g like smelling of alcohol, admitting to drinking, etc.) is all fair game and legit for other charges even if it is ultimately proven that he gets off on the initial headlight infraction. Correct?

I'd also note that this exception that you pointed out only appears to be available if the vehicle is going less than 20 mph......doubtful since 25 is the lowest posted speed limit. You did read the whole statute right? (and not just stop at the part about being allowed to have lesser headlights)

And by the way, I just caught the story update. How about you look up this one R.C. 2921.44(E). Is there a duty not to allow an intoxicated person to get behind the wheel of a vehicle? Is there a duty to report such action based upon the observation that the individual is likely intoxicated and operating a vehicle? Is there a duty to tell the truth to another police officer?

Those are the types of questions that this type of case raises, but it sounds like the arbitrator thought so...http://www.vindy.com/news/2013/jan/14/fired-struthers-cop-loses-bid-to-get-job/?newswatch

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