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Johnson v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

November 20, 2014

JOSEPH M. JOHNSON, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
STATE OF INDIANA, Appellee-Plaintiff

APPEAL FROM THE JAY SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Max C. Ludy, Jr., Judge. Cause No. 38D01-1401-CM-2.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: JOELLE A. FREIBURGER, Portland, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, Attorney General of Indiana, BRIAN REITZ, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

BAILEY, Judge. NAJAM, J., and PYLE, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 842

BAILEY, Judge

Case Summary

In this interlocutory appeal, Defendant Joseph M. Johnson (" Johnson" ) challenges the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence. We reverse and remand.

Page 843

Issue

Johnson raises one issue on appeal, which we restate as: whether the trial court erred when it denied Johnson's motion to suppress evidence obtained during an investigatory traffic stop.

Facts and Procedural History

On December 28, 2013, Jay County Sheriff's Deputy Brad Wendel (" Deputy Wendel" ) began following a gold van heading north on Highway 1 in Jay County. He ran a registration check and found tat the van was registered to Ashley Boyd (" Boyd" ). After he requested a driver's license check on Boyd, he discovered that Boyd's license was suspended. Deputy Wendel followed the van for approximately two miles, until he was in a safe area to initiate a traffic stop. During that time, he observed no traffic violations.

After making the stop, Deputy Wendel approached the van and observed a driver, later identified as Johnson, and two passengers, one of which was Boyd. Deputy Wendel stated the reason for the traffic stop: that the van was registered to a suspended driver. Boyd spoke up from the backseat, identified herself as Ashley Boyd, and confirmed her license was suspended. Deputy Wendel later testified that he had no reason to believe that Boyd was lying.

Deputy Wendel then asked Johnson for his driver's license, because he " wanted to confirm that the driver was not Ashley Boyd." (Tr. at 14.) Johnson handed Deputy Wendel an identification card and informed the deputy that his driver's license was ...


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