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Bell v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

July 28, 2014

ASHLEY BELL, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
STATE OF INDIANA, Appellee-Plaintiff

APPEAL FROM THE MARION SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Steven J. Rubick, Magistrate. Cause No. 49F10-1307-CM-45257.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: MATTHEW D. ANGLEMEYER, Marion County Public Defender, Indianapolis, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, Attorney General of Indiana, GEORGE P. SHERMAN, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

CRONE, Judge. BAKER, J., and BARNES, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 544

CRONE, Judge

Case Summary

Ashley Bell was the passenger of a vehicle that was stopped by a police officer because of an illegally displayed temporary license plate. The officer learned that the driver did not have a valid driver's license and ordered the vehicle's occupants to exit. As Bell exited the vehicle, the officer smelled raw marijuana coming from both the vehicle and Bell's person. The officer handcuffed Bell and conducted a patdown search which revealed ten baggies of marijuana. Bell was convicted of class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

On appeal, she claims that the search of her person during the traffic stop violated the Fourth Amendment and that the marijuana found during the search should not have been admitted at trial. Concluding that the search was permissible under the Fourth Amendment, we affirm.

Facts and Procedural History

In July 2013, Bell was the front seat passenger of a vehicle that was stopped by Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Lorrie Phillips because of an illegally displayed temporary license plate. The driver did not have a valid driver's license. Officer Phillips ordered the occupants of the vehicle to exit so the car could be towed. As Bell exited the vehicle, Officer Phillips smelled a strong odor of raw marijuana coming from both the vehicle and Bell's person. Officer Phillips handcuffed and conducted a patdown search of Bell which revealed ten individual baggies of marijuana in her possession. Bell was charged with class A misdemeanor dealing marijuana and class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Following a bench trial, Bell was found not guilty of dealing but guilty of possession.

Discussion and Decision

Bell claims that the trial court erred by admitting the evidence seized by Officer Phillips because the search violated her rights under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

A trial court has broad discretion in ruling on the admissibility of evidence. Accordingly, we will reverse a trial court's ruling ...

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