Appeal from the Marion Superior Court. The Honorable Geoffrey Gaither. Cause No. 49D09-1405-JD-1197.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: Valerie K. Boots, Marion County Public Defender Agency, Indianapolis, Indiana.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General of Indiana; Attorney General of Indiana, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Bailey, Judge. Robb, J., and Brown, J., concur.
[¶ 1] N.S. was adjudicated a juvenile delinquent for having committed acts that would be Dangerous Possession of a Firearm and Possession of Marijuana, as Class A misdemeanors, if committed by an adult. He appeals the adjudication, presenting
the sole issue of whether the juvenile court, having declared a search and seizure of N.S.'s property illegal, abused its discretion by admitting evidence that was a product of the illegal search. We reverse.
Facts and Procedural History
[¶ 2] On May 11, 2014, Officer Brian Erdmann of the Clermont Police Department received a report of a stolen vehicle. Approximately thirty minutes after the report, Officer Erdmann located the stolen vehicle at a gas station. D.M., the driver, and N.S., the back seat passenger, were placed under arrest.
[¶ 3] Officer Erdmann expected that the vehicle was " going to be impounded" and he initiated an inventory search. (Tr. 10.) According to Officer Erdmann, one of the reasons was " first of all you never know [when] there could be any illegal contraband." (Tr. 13.) A backpack was found in the back seat. A search of its contents yielded a firearm and marijuana. The vehicle owner appeared, and the vehicle was released to him without completion of a formal inventory search or impoundment.
[¶ 4] The State alleged N.S. to be delinquent and a denial hearing was conducted on June 5 and June 9, 2014. N.S. challenged the admission into evidence of the firearm, marijuana, and any derivative testimony, on grounds that the search violated his Fourth Amendment and Indiana constitutional rights. The juvenile court initially granted N.S.'s motion to suppress, upon concluding that the backpack search was illegal. However, the juvenile court permitted D.M. to testify concerning N.S.'s ...