KIMBERLY D. BLANKENSHIP, Appellant-Defendant,
STATE OF INDIANA, Appellee-Plaintiff
APPEAL FROM THE MORGAN SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Christopher L. Burnham, Judge. Cause No. 55D02-1112-FD-1510.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: GLEN E. KOCH II, Boren, Oliver & Coffey, LLP, Martinsville, Indiana.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, Attorney General of Indiana, BRIAN REITZ, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.
NAJAM, Judge. CRONE, J., concurs. BAKER, J., concurs in result with separate opinion.
STATEMENT OF THE CASE
Kimberly D. Blankenship appeals her convictions for unlawful possession of a syringe, as a Class D felony, and maintaining a common nuisance, a Class D felony. Blankenship raises a single issue for our review, which we restate as whether the trial court abused its discretion when it admitted into evidence contraband found in Blankenship's hotel room that the police seized pursuant to a search warrant. We hold that the officers' reliance on the search warrant was objectively reasonable under Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution and, as such, any defect in probable cause underlying the warrant does not render the evidence inadmissible under the exclusionary rule. Thus, we affirm the trial court's admission of the evidence.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
In 2011, employees of the Holiday Inn Express in Martinsville began finding drug paraphernalia in the hotel's rooms. Concerned that the hotel was " having a lot of problems with drug use," Donna Johns, a front desk manager at the hotel, requested the Martinsville Police Department to bring canine units to the hotel to conduct " free air sniffs in the common areas and hallways." Transcript at 56.
On December 1, 2011, at Johns' request Martinsville Police Department Officer Blake Long went to the hotel with his canine, Dasko. Dasko is trained to detect narcotics and to alert his handler when he has detected narcotics by sitting down. Officer Long and Dasko walked the main entrance area and the first-floor and third-floor hallways, areas that were randomly selected by Officer Long. On the third floor, Dasko alerted Officer Long to the presence of narcotics in room 328. Accordingly, Officer Long knocked on the door to that room, and Blankenship answered. Officer Long explained the situation and requested permission to enter the
room, which Blankenship denied. Officer Long observed that Blankenship appeared nervous and that she had an empty gun holster in the room.
From a mirror, Officer Long and Officer Lachelle Waskom also observed another woman, Courtney Malone, asleep on a bed inside the room. Officer Long instructed Blankenship to wake Malone. Blankenship went over to Malone and attempted to wake her by speaking to her, but that was unsuccessful. Blankenship then started to shake Malone, but that too was unsuccessful. Blankenship then yelled at Malone, but, again, Malone did not stir. The officers " were afraid that there may be some type of medical problem." Id. at 62. Officer Waskom entered the room and approached Malone while Officer Long stayed in the hallway with Blankenship. Officer Waskom " shook [Malone] until she woke up" and then ...