from the Hamilton Superior Court, No. 29D04-1412-CM-10052 The
Honorable J. Richard Campbell, Judge
Petition to Transfer from the Indiana Court of Appeals, No.
Attorney for Appellant Jennifer M. Lukemeyer Voyles Zahn
& Paul Indianapolis, Indiana
Attorneys for Appellee Gregory F. Zoeller Attorney General of
Indiana Angela N. Sanchez Stephen R. Creason Deputy Attorneys
General Indianapolis, Indiana
Osborne filed this interlocutory appeal following the trial
court's denial of her motion to suppress, on the grounds
that the traffic stop giving rise to the charges was not
permissible under the Fourth Amendment to the United States
Constitution or Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana
Constitution. Although we believe the officer's actions
in this case were prompted by a genuine desire to serve and
protect, we hold that, under the circumstances, those actions
constituted an improper intrusion upon Osborne's
constitutional privileges against unreasonable search and
seizure. Accordingly, we reverse.
and Procedural History
approximately 1:00AM, a clerk working at a Marathon gas
station in Fishers, Indiana called the police to report that
a woman was "stuck underneath her vehicle in the parking
lot." Tr. at 13. The clerk described the vehicle as a
"black passenger car, possibly a BMW, " and
provided a license plate number. Tr. at 14. Officer Jason
Arnold was participating in an OWI investigation about a mile
and a half away when he received the report, and by the time
he arrived, dispatch had informed him that the woman had
"gotten herself out from under the vehicle and was
leaving." Tr. at 15. As he pulled in, he saw
Osborne's black BMW pulling out from the station. He made
a U-turn and followed her, but did not witness any driving
infractions or criminal conduct. Nevertheless, Officer Arnold
initiated a traffic stop on the basis of the dispatch report,
fearing for her well-being: "I was concerned that [the
driver] potentially could have been seriously injured, broken
bones or anything. Or something was wrong with them that
started this whole thing to begin with because it's not
normal behavior." Tr. at 17.
pulling her over, Officer Arnold approached Osborne's
driver's side door and shone his flashlight into the car,
where he observed no signs of physical injury. He asked her
to roll down her window, and she complied; when Officer
Arnold asked if she was hurt, Osborne indicated that she was
fine, and denied his offer of medical care. Osborne also
explained why she got stuck: her car has a manual
transmission, and she had neglected to engage her parking
brake, causing it to roll backwards as she exited.
this exchange, Officer Arnold detected the odor of alcohol
emanating from the vehicle, and observed several signs of
impairment, such as her watery, red eyes, and slurred speech.
Officer Arnold asked Osborne if she had been drinking, and
she said she had had a beer an hour earlier. Osborne then
failed several field sobriety tests, and a portable
breathalyzer indicated her blood alcohol level was 0.12. She
was arrested, and at the Hamilton County jail her blood
alcohol concentration tested at 0.10.
was charged with Class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle
while intoxicated in a manner that endangers a person, and
Class C misdemeanor operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol
concentration of at least 0.08. Osborne moved to suppress the
evidence, claiming the warrantless traffic stop was invalid
under both the Fourth Amendment to the United States
Constitution and Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana
Constitution. The trial court denied the motion, but
certified its order for interlocutory appeal. Our Court of
Appeals agreed with Osborne, finding that the police exceeded
their authority under the Fourth Amendment in stopping her
vehicle. Osborne v. State, 54 N.E.3d 428, 439
granted transfer, thereby vacating the Court of Appeals
opinion below. Osborne v. State, 57 N.E.3d 816 (Ind.
2016) (table); Ind. Appellate Rule 58(A).
deferentially review a trial court's denial of a
defendant's motion to suppress, construing conflicting
evidence in the manner most favorable to the ruling.
Kelly v. State, 997 N.E.2d 1045, 1050 (Ind. 2013).
Although we do not reweigh the evidence, we will
"consider any substantial and uncontested evidence
favorable to the defendant." Robinson v. State,
5 N.E.3d 362, 365 (Ind. 2014) (citing Holder v.
State, 847 N.E.2d 930, 935 (Ind. 2006)). However, to the