CHARLA P. RICHARD, Appellant-Defendant,
STATE OF INDIANA, Appellee-Plaintiff
APPEAL FROM THE MARSHALL SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Robert O. Bowen, Judge. Cause No. 50D01-1201-FD-43.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: JUNE E. BULES, Plymouth, Indiana.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, Attorney General of Indiana, ELLEN H. MEILAENDER, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.
SHEPARD, Senior Judge. NAJAM, J., and RILEY, J., concur.
SHEPARD, Senior Judge
When a police dog alerts to the presence of narcotics in a vehicle, does an officer have probable cause to arrest and thus search the vehicle's passenger? On the facts of this case, we answer yes and therefore affirm.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On January 24, 2012, Officer John Weir of the Plymouth Police Department was on duty in his squad car with his canine partner Rex, who was trained in narcotics detection. When a vehicle in front of them repeatedly crossed the center line, Officer Weir initiated a traffic stop. Christopher Fields was in the driver's seat, and appellant Charla Richard was in the front passenger seat. Officer Weir recognized both from previous interactions and knew that a warrant had been issued for Fields just the day before.
On the basis of the warrant, Officer Weir arrested Fields and placed him in his squad car. He then retrieved Rex and walked him counterclockwise from the front bumper of the vehicle. Rex alerted at the driver's door.
Officer Weir asked Richard to step out of the vehicle and then called Officer Bridget Hite to the scene so that she could search Richard. In conducting the search, Officer Hite noticed that Richard appeared to favor one side, so she asked her to raise her arm on that side. When Richard did so, a small tin fell out of her shirt onto the ground. The tin held two small plastic baggies containing a white powdery substance later determined to be meth.
The State charged Richard with class D felony possession of methamphetamine. Richard moved to suppress the evidence obtained from the search on both federal and state constitutional grounds. The trial court denied the motion.
In her subsequent bench trial, Richard objected to the meth evidence on the same grounds as in her motion to suppress. The court overruled her objections and found her guilty. She was later ...