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C.P. v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

June 23, 2015

C.P., Appellant-Respondent,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Petitioner.

Appeal from the Marion Superior Court The Honorable Geoffrey Gaither, Magistrate The Honorable Marilyn A. Moores, Judge Case No. 49D09-1407-JD-1720

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Joel M. Schumm Indianapolis, Indiana

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Gregory F. Zoeller Attorney General of Indiana George P. Sherman Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

Vaidik, Chief Judge.

Case Summary

1. Many state and federal courts have applied an exception to the Fourth Amendment's exclusionary rule called the new-crime exception. This exception provides that notwithstanding a strong causal connection in fact between an illegal search or seizure by law enforcement and a defendant's response, if the defendant's response is itself a new and distinct crime, then evidence of the new crime is admissible notwithstanding the prior illegality. Because the purpose of the exclusionary rule-to deter police misconduct-is not advanced by suppressing evidence of a new crime committed by a defendant after an illegal search or seizure, we apply the new-crime exception to the Fourth Amendment's exclusionary rule. And we also conclude that this exception applies equally to the Indiana Constitution. Accordingly, evidence that C.P. battered a police officer after being illegally seized is admissible. We therefore affirm C.P.'s adjudication as a juvenile delinquent for committing what would be Level 6 battery against a public-safety official if committed by an adult.

Facts and Procedural History

[1] On July 14, 2014, C.P. attended Holy Spirit Festival at Holy Spirit Catholic Church on East 10th Street in Indianapolis. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Jeffrey Wood was working as a security guard for the church.[1] Officer Wood's responsibilities included enforcing the church's policies on dress and language. One policy provided that "no underclothing be exhibited in a public fashion where the other people would be forced to observe their undergarments." Tr. p. 5. Another policy prohibited "loud noises and obscenities." Id. at 7. Officer Wood was authorized to deal with violators "as deemed necessary." Id. at 5.

[2] Officer Wood saw C.P. and some of his friends walking around the festival. C.P. was wearing his pants down below his "buttocks exposing [his] underwear to the patrons of the festival." Id. When Officer Wood asked C.P. to pull up his pants, C.P. nodded his head and pulled them up.

[3] About an hour later, Officer Wood again saw C.P., whose "pants [were] down exposing his undergarments to the patrons of the . . . festival." Id. at 6. Officer Wood asked C.P. for a second time to pull up his pants. C.P. briefly turned around but then walked away from Officer Wood. As C.P. walked away, he said something to Officer Wood, but Officer Wood could not hear him. So, Officer Wood told C.P. that if he wanted to talk to him, C.P. needed "to turn around and speak to [him]." Id. Using profanity, C.P. told Officer Wood that he "didn't have the right to follow" and "talk to him." Id. Officer Wood told C.P., who was "getting more and more agitated and louder, " "to leave the festival." Id. But because C.P. continued to curse and started walking deeper into the crowd, Officer Wood "put [his] left hand on [C.P.'s] right shoulder to sort of steer him" off church property. Id. at 7; see also id. at 17 ("STATE: When you placed your hand on the respondent's shoulder, what was your goal at that time? WITNESS: To guide him through the crowd and off the property."). In response, C.P. threw his arm in the air and said "don't put your mother fu**ing hands on me . . . ." Id. at 23. Because C.P. was getting more agitated and "women and children [were] around, " Officer Wood tried "to move [C.P.] through the crowd quicker to get him off of the property." Id. In order to do so, Officer Wood put his hand on C.P.'s shoulder a second time, at which point C.P. "threw his hand in the air, spun around[, ] took up a fighting stance[, ] and shoved [Officer Wood] in [the] chest." Id. Officer Wood "went backwards" and had to regain his footing. Id. at 24. Officer Wood arrested C.P. for battery.

[4] The State filed a petition alleging that C.P. was a delinquent child for committing what would be Level 6 battery against a public-safety official if committed by an adult.[2] At the fact-finding hearing, defense counsel argued that when Officer Wood put his hand on C.P.'s shoulder, he was illegally seized because "there [was] no legal reason for [C.P.] to be stopped." Id. at 9, 18. Accordingly, defense counsel moved to suppress everything that occurred after Officer Wood put his hand on C.P.'s shoulder. Although initially granting C.P.'s motion to suppress, the juvenile court later reversed course and ruled that Officer Wood's act of putting his hand on C.P.'s shoulder was not a "stop" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. Id. at 22. Thereafter, the juvenile court entered a true finding for battery. At the dispositional hearing, the juvenile court adjudicated C.P. a delinquent child but closed the case and discharged C.P. and his mother.

[5] C.P. now appeals.

Discussion and Decision

[6] C.P. contends that he was illegally seized when Officer Wood put his hand on C.P.'s shoulder to steer him off church property and, therefore, "the resulting evidence regarding the battery of Officer Wood is inadmissible" pursuant to the exclusionary rule. Appellant's Br. p. 6. He raises this issue under both the Fourth Amendment ...


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