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Belton v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

April 17, 2014

CHARRISE BELTON, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
STATE OF INDIANA, Appellee-Plaintiff

APPEAL FROM THE MARION SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable James A. Joven, Judge. Cause No. 49F13-1303-CM-16642.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: SUZY ST. JOHN, Marion County Public Defender, Appellate Division, Indianapolis, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, Attorney General of Indiana; JESSE R. DRUM, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

BRADFORD, Judge. RILEY, J., and ROBB, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 1044

BRADFORD, Judge.

CASE SUMMARY

On March 7, 2013, Appellant-Defendant Charrise Belton was riding in a vehicle driven by her then-boyfriend, Tacolby Calloway. Belton waited in the vehicle while Calloway entered a home located near the intersection of 33rd Street and Orchard Avenue in Indianapolis. Calloway appeared to be under the influence of drugs when he exited the home approximately thirty minutes later. Calloway subsequently became upset with Belton and threatened to assault her. Fearing for her safety, Belton drove away from Calloway. Belton was stopped by a member of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department for a traffic infraction approximately one-half of a mile away.

The State subsequently charged Belton with Class A misdemeanor driving while suspended. Following a bench trial, the trial court found Belton guilty as charged and imposed a 365-day suspended sentence. On appeal, Belton contends that the State did not present sufficient evidence to negate her necessity defense. Concluding that the evidence presented by the State was insufficient to negate Belton's necessity defense, we reverse.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On the evening of March 7, 2013, Belton was a passenger in a vehicle driven by her

Page 1045

then-boyfriend, Calloway. Calloway drove the vehicle to a home located near the intersection of 33rd Street and Orchard Avenue in Indianapolis. Belton stayed in the vehicle while Calloway entered the home.

Belton observed that Calloway appeared to be under the influence of drugs when he returned approximately thirty minutes later. Specifically, Belton believed that Calloway was under the influence of embalming fluid because she " could smell it and [she] could tell by his demeanor." Tr. p. 9. Upon exiting the home, Calloway appeared " aggravated because he had [had] a dispute with one of the guys that were ...


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