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T.S. v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

May 11, 2015

T.S., Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff

Appeal from the Marion Superior Court, Juvenile Division. The Honorable Scott Stowers, Magistrate. The Honorable Marilyn A. Moores, Judge. Case No. 49D09-1312-JD-3747.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: Victoria L. Bailey, Marion County Public Defender Agency, Indianapolis, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General of Indiana; Justin F. Roebel, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Vaidik, Chief Judge. Kirsch, J., and Bradford, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 781

Vaidik, Chief Judge.

Case Summary

[¶1] The Indiana Supreme Court held in Smith v. State, 765 N.E.2d 578 (Ind. 2002), reh'g denied, that where the parties to criminal proceedings in question are not identical, the doctrine of judicial estoppel does not apply against the State. T.S., a juvenile, argues that Smith does not apply to juvenile-adjudication proceedings because they are civil. We find, however, that the rationale for not applying judicial estoppel against the State in criminal proceedings applies equally in the context of juvenile-delinquency proceedings. We therefore affirm the trial court.

Facts and Procedural History

[¶2] On the evening of December 7, 2013, Connie Bayles went to Dollar Tree at the intersection of 38th Street and High School Road in Indianapolis. As Connie put her shopping bags in the back seat of her car, she felt something pressed against her back and heard someone say, " Give me the bag," which was a reference to the black purse she was carrying on her shoulder. Tr. p. 10. Thinking it was a joke, Connie turned around and said, " [Y]ou are kidding." Id. at 9. The person standing behind Connie was a black male wearing dark clothes; " it wasn't an older person and it wasn't a kid." Id. The male then pushed the gun harder into Connie's back and again said, " Give me the bag." Id. at 10. Because Connie did not recognize the male, she gave him her purse. The male ran toward 38th Street. Connie screamed, " Somebody help, help. He just robbed me. Somebody stop him," and then called the police. Id.

[¶3] Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer William Hornaday was parked at the BP gas station across the street from the strip mall where Dollar Tree was located when he saw a black male in black clothing running through the strip-mall parking lot. Officer Hornaday also saw a black Dodge with no headlights on driving right behind the male. When the male stopped running, the Dodge stopped too. The male then got in the front passenger seat of the Dodge, and the Dodge headed toward High School Road. Officer Hornaday quickly followed the Dodge.

[¶4] When Officer Hornaday saw the Dodge drive through a stop sign without stopping or slowing down, he activated his

Page 782

lights. The Dodge slowed down but did not stop. Officer Hornaday called for backup, and additional officers arrived from the other direction in an attempt to block in the Dodge. However, the Dodge maneuvered around the officers' cars and took off at a high rate of speed. A pursuit followed with speeds reaching " well over sixty miles an hour." Id. at 42.

[¶5] The pursuit ended when the Dodge pulled up to a house on Fullwood Court. A black male, later identified as Leethanel Smith, got out of the driver's door and ran east. Officer Shawn Smith caught up with Leethanel one street over and, with a gun in his hand, yelled at Leethanel to stop, turn around, and put his hands up. Leethanel, however, kept running. Officer Smith pursued Leethanel on foot and saw Leethanel throw a black object. Officer Smith eventually caught up to Leethanel, and the two of them struggled in the snow. Officer Smith gained control of Leethanel and handcuffed him. Officers recovered the black object that Leethanel had thrown during the foot chase: Connie's purse.

[¶6] Meanwhile, the passenger remained in the car and was identified as fourteen-year-old T.S. The Dodge was registered to T.S.'s mother, Tewanda Smith. In addition, Leethanel and Tewanda are cousins, and Leethanel lived with Tewanda and T.S. because he had no other place to go when he was released from prison for robbery three months earlier. As Officer Hornaday handcuffed T.S., Tewanda came out of the house and approached the passenger side of the Dodge. She exclaimed, " [W]hat is my gun doing in this car?" Id. at 52. Tewanda explained that the gun had been upstairs in her purse. At that point, Officer Hornaday looked in the Dodge and saw a gun in the open glove box. Later testing showed that T.S.'s thumb print was on the gun.

[¶7] A police officer took Connie to the scene for a show-up identification. Connie, however, was not able to make a positive identification ...


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