from the Marion Superior Court The Honorable Shannon L.
Logsdon, Judge Pro Tempore Trial Court Cause No.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Bernice A. N. Corley Marion County
Public Defender Agency Appellate Panel Attorney Indianapolis,
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Gregory F. Zoeller Attorney General of
Indiana George P. Sherman Deputy Attorney General
William McNeal appeals his conviction for level 5 felony
possession of cocaine, following a bench trial. He contends
that the trial court abused its discretion in admitting
evidence that he claims was obtained in violation of his
rights pursuant to the Fourth Amendment to the United States
Constitution and Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana
Constitution. Finding no federal or state constitutional
violation, and therefore no abuse of discretion, we affirm.
and Procedural History
On August 28, 2015, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police
Department Officer Aaron Helton was on routine patrol near
East 10th Street and Gray Road in Marion County, when he
noticed a man lying face down on the sidewalk. A crowd was
starting to form around the man. Officer Helton alerted
dispatch that he was going to stop and perform a welfare
check on the man. When Officer Helton got close to the man,
who was later identified as "Kemo, " he observed
that Kemo was sweating and he could not tell if Kemo was
breathing. Tr. at 16. Officer Helton attempted to shake Kemo
to rouse him, but Kemo was unresponsive. Officer Helton
immediately called for medical personnel to come to the
Around the same time that medics arrived, another man, later
identified as McNeal, approached Officer Helton saying,
"That's my bro, let's go, let's go."
Id. at 14. Officer Helton observed that McNeal had
an "[u]nsteady gait, like not really walking straight
…." Id. McNeal was sweating profusely,
his eyes were "reddish, "glassy, " and
"glazed over, " his speech was "kind of
slurred, " and it appeared to Officer Helton like
McNeal's heart "was beating out of his chest. He
just looked like he was in dire straits medically."
Id. at 14, 22, 31. Officer Helton asked McNeal who
he was, and McNeal gave him his identification. As Kemo
started to wake up, McNeal kept saying, "We got to go,
let's get out of here, let's go." Id.
at 16. McNeal began speaking "gibberish" and things
that "didn't make sense, " and then he tripped
and fell over Kemo. Id. at 16, 28-29.
Believing that McNeal was also in need of medical treatment,
Officer Helton advised McNeal, "Why don't you sit
down, why don't you stay seated, why don't you sit
down." Id. at 17. McNeal refused, saying,
"No, I got to go, let's get out of here."
Id. Officer Helton stated, "No, man, you look
like you need some medical attention, why don't you sit
down." Id. As McNeal tried to get up, he fell
back down again. Worried about McNeal's safety and his
medical condition, Officer Helton decided to handcuff McNeal
because he did not believe that he would otherwise be able to
"keep [McNeal] there" and seated until more medics
could arrive. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department
Officer Davey Williams arrived on the scene and observed that
McNeal, who was sitting on the ground, was "kind of like
leaning over" and having trouble remaining in an upright
position. Id. at 42. Officer Williams used his legs
to "prop [McNeal] up" so that he did not fall and
hit his head on the sidewalk. Id. at 51.
A second group of medics arrived. After evaluating Kemo and
McNeal, the medics determined that both of them were in
"bad shape" and needed to be transported to the
hospital. Id. at 18. Before McNeal was transported,
Officer Helton ran a check on his identification and
discovered that he had an outstanding arrest warrant. During
a subsequent search incident to arrest, Officer Helton
discovered three baggies of cocaine in McNeal's front
right pants pocket. McNeal was transported by ambulance to a
hospital emergency room.
The State charged McNeal with level 5 felony possession of
cocaine. McNeal filed a motion to suppress alleging that his
detention by police was unconstitutional, and therefore all
evidence subsequently obtained should be suppressed. The
trial court denied the motion to suppress and held a bench
trial on March 14, 2016. McNeal renewed his objection to the
admission of the cocaine evidence during trial. At the
conclusion of the trial, the court found McNeal guilty as
charged. This appeal ensued.
McNeal asserts that the trial court abused its discretion in
admitting the cocaine evidence at trial. "Our review of
rulings on the admissibility of evidence is essentially the
same whether the challenge is made by a pre-trial motion to
suppress or by trial objection." Lundquist v.
State, 834 N.E.2d 1061, 1067 (Ind.Ct.App. 2005).
"We do not reweigh the evidence, and we consider
conflicting evidence most favorable to the trial court's
ruling." Id. We must also consider the
uncontested evidence favorable to the defendant. Id.
We will not disturb the trial court's evidentiary ruling
unless it is shown that the trial court's decision is
clearly against the logic and effect of the facts and
circumstances before the court. Turner v. State, 953