APPEAL FROM THE CLARK CIRCUIT COURT. The Honorable Daniel E. Moore, Judge. Cause No. 10C01-1108-FB-131.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, Attorney General of Indiana, Indianapolis, Indiana, JUSTIN F. ROEBEL, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: JENNIFER HINKEBEIN CULOTTA, Culotta & Culotta LLP, New Albany, Indiana, KRISTINE M. NOLE, The Nole Law Office LLP, New Albany, Indiana.
BRADFORD, Judge. RILEY, J., concurs. ROBB, J., dissents with opinion.
OPINION - FOR PUBLICATION
Appellee-Defendant Chase R. Downey was arrested after
guns, marijuana, and a large sum of cash were discovered during a traffic stop
of the vehicle in which he was a passenger. At the time of the stop, Downey
indicated that the cash belonged to him. The cash was seized at the time of his
arrest. On August 23, 2011, Downey was charged in Division One of the Clark
County Circuit Court (the "Division One Circuit Court") with Class B felony
unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, Class C felony
carrying a handgun without a license, and Class D felony possession of
marijuana. On September 16, 2011, the funds seized from Downey were transferred
to the federal government pursuant to a transfer order that was issued by the
trial judge presiding over Division Three of the Clark County Superior Court
(the "Division Three Superior Court").
Downey filed several requests in the Division One Circuit Court to have the seized funds returned to him before filing a motion to set aside the transfer order on July 27, 2013. The Division One Circuit Court subsequently granted Downey's petition to set aside the transfer order and instructed Appellant-Plaintiff the State of Indiana (the " State" ) to return the seized funds to Downey. On appeal, the State contends that the Division One Circuit Court abused its discretion in setting aside an order of the Division Three Superior Court, a separate court of equal jurisdiction. Concluding that the Division One Circuit Court abused its discretion in setting aside the transfer order, we reverse the judgment of the Division One Circuit Court.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On August 18, 2011, Indiana State Trooper Nathan Abbott initiated a traffic
stop after he observed a white Chevy Impala make an abrupt lane change on Interstate 65 " [u]pon seeing his unmarked police car." Tr. p. 161. In making the abrupt lane change, the driver of the Impala " almost [struck] another vehicle." Tr. p. 161. During the traffic stop, Trooper Abbott observed a " large wad of currency" next to the front seat passenger, who was subsequently identified as Downey. Tr. p. 136. Trooper Abbott also noticed a strong smell of marijuana coming from the vehicle. Trooper Abbott's K9 ...