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Meehan v. State

Supreme Court of Indiana

April 29, 2014

MARTIN MEEHAN, Appellant (Defendant below),
v.
STATE OF INDIANA, Appellee (Plaintiff below)

Appeal from the St. Joseph Superior Court, No. 71D02-1112-FC-286. The Honorable John M. Marnocha, Judge. On Petition to Transfer from the Indiana Court of Appeals, No. 71A04-1209-CR-453.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: Jeffrey E. Kimmell, Joel M. Schumm, Indianapolis, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General of Indiana; Aaron J. Spolarich, Ellen H. Meilaender, Deputy Attorneys General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

David, Justice. Dickson, C.J., Rucker, Massa, and Rush, JJ., concur.

OPINION

Page 256

David, Justice.

At Martin Meehan's trial for class C felony burglary, the State offered into evidence, among other things, a glove containing Meehan's DNA recovered at the scene of the burglary. Meehan was subsequently convicted of class C felony burglary, found to be a habitual offender, and sentenced to a total term of thirteen years in the Indiana Department of Correction. On appeal, he challenges the sufficiency of the evidence underlying his conviction. Finding that Meehan's jury had before it substantial evidence of probative value from which it could have reasonably inferred that Meehan was guilty of burglary beyond a reasonable doubt, we affirm his conviction.

Facts and Procedural History

On the afternoon of May 2, 2011, employee Scott Floyd closed and locked an overhead door that opened to a loading dock at the building housing O.J.S. Building Services, a mechanical contracting business. When he arrived at work early the next morning, Floyd observed that a panel of the overhead door had been removed. Entering the building through a locked access door, Floyd discovered two interior doors off their hinges, including the door connecting the loading dock to the offices. Floyd exited the building and called police.

South Bend Police Department Officer Kevin Gibbons was dispatched to the scene. Upon arrival, Officer Gibbons walked through the building with Floyd. Immediately inside of the overhead door, the men found a black glove. Floyd would later testify that the glove was not present when he locked the building on May 2. From the scene, police also collected a screwdriver and a footwear print from one of the interior doors. Among other things, laptops and approximately $1200 in cash were missing.

Subsequently, the glove and the screwdriver were tested for the presence of DNA. Although an insufficient amount of DNA for testing was found on the screwdriver, a stain on the glove tested positive for the presence of saliva or mucus on both the inside and outside of the glove. Entered into a database, the DNA from the glove matched Martin Meehan's DNA. No other person's DNA was found on the glove.

On December 7, 2011, South Bend Police Department Detective Chris Slager spotted Meehan standing with a group of men on a street corner, recognized him from a crime information bulletin, and took him into custody. At the time, Meehan possessed bolt cutters, a pocket knife, a screwdriver, a chisel, and two Allen key sets. During an interview with police, Meehan denied any involvement with the O.J.S. burglary. Following the interview, he was placed under arrest. Police collected a DNA swab from Meehan, and the DNA from that swab matched the DNA from the glove found inside the O.J.S. building.

The State charged Meehan ...


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