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Bradley v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

March 10, 2014

BRIAN BRADLEY, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
STATE OF INDIANA, Appellee-Plaintiff

Page 832

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 833

APPEAL FROM THE RIPLEY SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable James B. Morris, Judge. Cause No. 69D01-1203-FD-38.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: LEANNA WEISSMANN, Lawrenceburg, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, Attorney General of Indiana, ERIC P. BABBS, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

VAIDIK, Chief Judge. MAY, J., concurs. RILEY, J., dissents with separate opinion.

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OPINION

VAIDIK, Chief Judge

Case Summary

Police officers pulled over a car and arrested the driver for possession of marijuana. Officers took her to the county jail, where she revealed that she had purchased the marijuana that day from a man nicknamed Shrek--but whose name was Brian--who lived in a second-floor apartment above the antiques store in town. The officers secured a search warrant for an apartment on the second floor of the building. Upon executing the search warrant, the officers learned that the apartment belonged to a couple, who just happened to have marijuana in their apartment. The couple told police that they had purchased their marijuana earlier that day from Brian a/k/a Shrek, who actually lived on the third floor of the building. The officers then secured a search warrant for Brian Bradley's[1] third-floor apartment. Upon executing this search warrant, the officers found marijuana and other related items.

Brian now appeals his conviction for Class D felony dealing in marijuana. He challenges the first warrant that led to the search of the couple's apartment as well as the warrant for his apartment, arguing that they lacked probable cause. Because Brian, who lived on the third floor of the building, lacked a reasonable expectation of privacy in the couple's second-floor apartment, he cannot challenge the search or seizure of property belonging to the couple. Furthermore, although one particular piece of evidence may not have conclusively established probable cause to search Brian's third-floor apartment, the evidence in the officer's probable-cause affidavit, when fitted together and viewed collectively, is sufficient to support the trial court's finding of probable cause. In addition, although the witnesses who provided probable cause changed their stories after the search warrants were issued, the law focuses on the facts known by police and presented to the judge in obtaining the search warrants, not on 20-20 hindsight. We therefore affirm the trial court.

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Facts and Procedural History

Around 6:40 p.m. on March 25, 2012, Meghan Krekler was pulled over in Batesville, Indiana. Indiana State Police Trooper Travis Cook arrested Krekler for possession of marijuana and transported her to the Ripley County Jail.[2] While at the jail, Krekler was questioned for about an hour about the source of her marijuana. Krekler said that she had purchased the marijuana that day from a man nicknamed Shrek, but whose name--according to friends--was Brian. Krekler described Shrek's apartment and said that she had gone to his door several times to buy marijuana. Tr. p. 163. Krekler described Shrek, and the officers showed her a photo array containing about a dozen photographs. Krekler " identified three men that could possibly be him, but [she] was not sure." Id. at 142.

Based on Krekler's account that Shrek lived in a second-floor apartment of the Batesville Antiques building (a three-story building with apartments on the second and third floors) and that she had been to his apartment door several times to buy marijuana, Trooper Cook prepared a probable-cause affidavit in order to obtain a search warrant for the apartment. The judge issued the warrant at 1:15 a.m. on March 26.

Nine minutes later, Detective Abraham Hildebrand from the Ripley County Sheriff's Department and other officers entered the second-floor apartment. The apartment, however, belonged to the couple Mark Carroll and Amanda Hite. The officers detained Carroll and Hite and found a " user amount" of marijuana. Id. at 17. When asked about the source of their marijuana, Carroll and Hite said that they had purchased it from a man on the third floor of their building known as Shrek, but whose name was Brian. Carroll, who provided a physical description of Brian, said that he had purchased the marijuana from Brian earlier that day and that he had paid $40 to $60 for an eighth of an ounce. Hite added that they purchased marijuana from Brian about once a month.[3] They gave a description of the third floor as well as the layout of Brian's apartment. An officer went up to the third floor to verify the location of the apartment doors that Carroll and Hite described.[4]

Comparing the information given by Krekler, Carroll, and Hite, Detective Hildebrand concluded that all three individuals had obtained marijuana from the same source, Brian a/k/a Shrek. Detective Hildebrand then applied for a search warrant for Brian's third-floor apartment. His probable-cause affidavit provides in part:

On Sunday March 26, 2012, at about 1:24 AM, Your Affiant was assisting the Batesville Police Department and Indiana State Police in the execution of a search warrant at 215 North Walnut apartment B, Batesville in Ripley County. Upon entering the apartment the two occupants, one male and one female,

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were immediately secured. The female subject was identified as Amanda Jo Hite, and the male subject was identified as Mark A. Carroll.
I was aware that Indiana State Police Trooper Travis Cook had obtained information from a female subject earlier in the day, Meghan Krekeler [sic], had advised him that she purchased marijuana from a male subject who she identified as " Shrek", and that someone told her that his name was Brian.
I was advised by Reserve Corporal Brandon Blessing that the female subject, identified as Amanda Jo Hite, asked him if we were going to " bust" the third floor apartment as well. I then took Hite outside of the building to speak with her further in reference to this inquiry.
After I advised Hite of Miranda I asked her why she was inquiring about the third floor. She stated that the male who lives on the third floor was selling and using marijuana. I then asked her if she knew a male subject who goes by the nickname of " Shrek", and she stated that she was [sic] and that he was the male on the third floor who she identified as Brian. She stated that the marijuana that was in their apartment was purchased from Brian on the third floor earlier that day.
She further stated that they have purchased marijuana from Brian in the past and it was about once a month that they purchase marijuana from him. She also stated that when you walk up the second staircase in the building that his apartment is the only apartment on the right (north) side of the building.
I then spoke with the male occupant of apartment B identified as Mark A. Carroll, and also advised him of Miranda. I then asked him what he could tell me about the third floor apartment. Carroll stated that the male subject who lived [o]n the third floor was named Brian, and that the marijuana found in his apartment was purchased from Brian earlier that day.
Carroll further stated that he purchased the marijuana from Brian and that he paid 40 to 60 dollars for an eighth of an ounce of marijuana. He also stated that Brian lived in apartment D, which was on the right (north) side of the front staircase and that the door to enter the apartment ...

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