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Willis v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

July 11, 2014

DRAKKAR R. WILLIS, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
STATE OF INDIANA, Appellee-Plaintiff

APPEAL FROM THE MARION SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Clark Rogers, Judge. Cause No. 49F25-1301-CM-4568.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: RUTH JOHNSON, Marion County Public Defender, Indianapolis, Indiana; BARBARA J. SIMMONS, Oldenburg, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, Attorney General of Indiana, CHANDRA K. HEIN, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

CRONE, Judge. BAKER, J., concurs. BARNES, J., dissents with opinion.

OPINION

Page 461

CRONE, Judge.

Case Summary

Drakkar R. Willis challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction for class A misdemeanor criminal trespass. We affirm.

Facts and Procedural History

The facts most favorable to the trial court's judgment are that on the night of January 18, 2013, Officer Christopher Clouse of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department was dispatched to the Watkins Family Recreation Center when a security alarm was activated. While driving to the scene, Officer Clouse received an additional report from the alarm company which reported voices and noises inside the Center. Once he arrived at the scene, he spoke to Officer LaRussa, who had chased a suspect eastbound across the street from the Center. Officer LaRussa told Officer Clouse that there was a vehicle parked behind the building with its doors and trunk open. As Officer Clouse arrived at the west side of the building, he did not see anyone exit the building but " observed a black male running westbound from the business" about a hundred yards away. Tr. at 5.[1] Officer Clouse radioed the man's description to other officers. Officer Michael Faulk noticed a man who matched the description running westbound and apprehended him. Officer Clouse drove to that location and identified Willis as the man he had seen running away from the Center. Officer Clouse entered the Center and noticed that a vending machine had been broken into.

The State charged Willis with class A misdemeanor criminal trespass. At trial, Cheryl Newsom, a park supervisor, testified that no one had permission to be in the Center on the night of the incident. The trial court found Willis guilty as charged.

Discussion and Decision

On appeal, Willis contends that the State failed to present sufficient evidence that he committed criminal trespass. In reviewing a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, " we neither reweigh the evidence nor assess witness credibility, and will focus on the evidence most favorable to the [judgment] together with the reasonable inferences that may be drawn therefrom. We will affirm unless no reasonable factfinder could find the elements of the crime proved beyond a reasonable doubt." Cooper v. State, 940 N.E.2d 1210, 1213 (Ind.Ct.App. 2011) (citation omitted), trans. denied . A conviction may be based on circumstantial evidence and the reasonable inferences that can be drawn from that evidence. Peters v. State, 959 N.E.2d 347, 355 (Ind.Ct.App. 2011). Contrary to Willis's assertion, on appeal, the circumstantial evidence need not overcome every reasonable hypothesis of innocence. Drane v. State, 867 N.E.2d 144, 147 (Ind. 2007).

Indiana Code Section 35-43-2-2(a)(4) states that a person who " knowingly or intentionally interferes with the possession or use of the property of another person without the person's consent" commits class A misdemeanor trespass. Willis notes that no one saw him inside the Center or exiting the Center that night. Although this is true, based on recent ...


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