from the Morgan Superior Court. The Honorable Peter R. Foley,
Judge. Trial Court Cause No. 55D01-1409-F5-1458.
FOR APPELLANT: Glen E. Koch II, BOREN, OLIVER & COFFEY, LLP,
FOR APPELLEE: Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General of
Indiana; Jodi Kathryn Stein, Deputy Attorney General,
Judge. Baker, J., and Bailey, J., concur.
Following a jury trial in Morgan Superior Court, Nathan
Polson (" Polson" ) was convicted of Level 5 felony
carrying a handgun without a license. Polson was ordered
to serve four years in the Department of Correction. On
appeal, Polson argues that the trial court abused its
discretion when it admitted a handgun into evidence because
he claims the handgun was seized by police in violation of
the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
and Procedural History
Late in the morning on September 24, 2014, a concerned
citizen, T.B., placed a 911 call to report a suspicious
person walking westward down Mahalasville Road in Morgan
County towards Martinsville, Indiana. The caller identified a
gentleman in a black t-shirt who appeared to be " under
the influence of something" and was " holding
something underneath his shirt with his arm down
straight." Tr. pp. 206-08. T.B. described the man, who
was later identified as Polson, as about six feet tall and
between 175-185 pounds with a " real [sic] bad
complexion" on his face. Tr. p. 207. T.B. was concerned
because it was " unusual to see somebody walking down
Mahalasville Road" as the area was mostly rural farmland
with few houses, and especially because the man appeared to
have a " pretty sizeable weapon tucked up underneath his
shirt." Tr. p. 206.
Sergeant Brad Cooley (" Sergeant Cooley" ) of the
Morgan County Sheriff's Department was dispatched to
Mahalasville Road in response to the suspicious person report
around 11:31 a.m. on September 24, 2014. He arrived at the
scene at 11:40 a.m. and observed a man matching the
description from the report in a black shirt and blue jeans
walking along the rural road at the intersection of Low Gap
and Mahalasville Roads. Sergeant Cooley parked his patrol car
so he faced Polson but did not activate his emergency lights.
As Polson approached, Sergeant Cooley asked Polson to walk
toward him and Polson responded, " I haven't done
wrong." Tr. p. 239. Sergeant Cooley explained to Polson
that he had received a suspicious person report and that
Polson matched the description. Polson told Cooley that he
was walking to a gas station to catch a ride. The closest gas
station was two-and-one-half miles away. Tr. p. 247.
At that point, Polson put his hands behind his back, was
sweating, and acted " nervous and kind of
skittish." Tr. p. 215. This behavior indicated to
Sergeant Cooley that Polson was under the influence of "
something." Tr. pp. 215-16. Polson was also in the
middle of the road at the time, and because a car was
approaching, Sergeant Cooley asked Polson to step behind his
patrol car. Polson stepped to the right side of the trunk
area of the car, and Sergeant ...