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Carpenter v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

February 20, 2014

JONATHAN D. CARPENTER, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
STATE OF INDIANA, Appellee-Plaintiff

APPEAL FROM THE ALLEN SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Wendy Davis, Judge. Cause No. 02D04-1207-FD-1008.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: DONALD C. SWANSON, JR., Fort Wayne, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, Attorney General of Indiana, CYNTHIA L. PLOUGHE, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

MAY, Judge. BAILEY, J., and BRADFORD, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 1069

MAY, Judge.

Jonathan D. Carpenter appeals the admission of evidence obtained from a warrantless search of his house. He argues the initial warrantless search of his house violated his rights under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution. We affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On July 13, 2012, police and animal control officers were called to Carpenter's residence on a report four dogs were fighting in Carpenter's yard. When they arrived, the dogs were still fighting, but one had retreated under a deck and seemed wounded. The dogs were covered with mud and blood, and they kept running in and out of the house through an opened sliding glass door.

Animal Control Officer Bryan Miller climbed over the fence into Carpenter's yard and captured three of the four dogs. One dog had run into the house through the sliding glass door and had not come back outside. Officer Miller and Sergeant Derrick Westfield of the Fort Wayne Police Department entered Carpenter's house to search for the dog and to determine if the dogs had injured anyone inside the house. Sergeant Westfield announced his identity and asked anyone inside the house to come out. There was no response.

Officer Miller and Sergeant Westfield observed feces and urine throughout the house, and they noticed whet appeared to be blood on the walls, though it was unclear whether the blood was human or canine. As they walked through the house searching for the dog, they located two rooms with " plastic sheeting and ventilation."

Page 1070

(Suppression Tr. at 23.)[1] One of the doors to the rooms was slightly cracked open and there was a strong light coming from inside. Officer Miller and Sergeant Westfield entered the room, where they found marijuana plants.

Officer Miller and Sergeant Westfield went upstairs to search for the dog, and found it in a room with a closed door that had a hole in the bottom of it. The room contained a mason jar full of marijuana. Officer Miller and Sergeant Westfield captured the dog and determined there were no people in the house. ...


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