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Anderson v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

December 5, 2016

Andre Anderson, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

         Appeal from the Marion Superior Court The Honorable Shatrese M. Flowers, Judge The Honorable David Seiter, Commissioner Trial Court Cause No. 49G20-1409-F5-44249

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT James A. Edgar J. Edgar Law Offices, Prof. Corp. Indianapolis, Indiana

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Gregory F. Zoeller Attorney General of Indiana Michael Gene Worden Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          May, Judge.

         [¶1] Andre Anderson appeals the admission at trial of a handgun found pursuant to a search of his car following his arrest. We reverse.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2] On September 18, 2014, Anderson was pulled over by Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department ("IMPD") Officer Cory Heiny after Officer Heiny ran the license plate on the car and discovered its owner, Anderson, had an outstanding warrant for strangulation and his driving privileges were suspended. After confirming the driver was Anderson, Officer Heiny requested he step out of the vehicle. Anderson did so but not before removing his jacket. Officer Heiny found Anderson's removal of his jacket to be "uncommon." (Tr. at 34.)

         [¶3] Officer Heiny handcuffed Anderson and "placed [him] on the median between [two police cars]." (Id. at 28.) Officer Heiny then returned to Anderson's car and searched it before having it towed "because the vehicle was impeding traffic." (Id. at 12.) When Officer Heiny picked up Anderson's jacket, he noticed it was heavy, so he searched the pockets. Officer Heiny discovered a loaded handgun in the pocket. Anderson did not have a license to carry it.

         [¶4] The State charged Anderson with Class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license[1] and Level 5 felony carrying a handgun without a license.[2]Anderson filed a motion to suppress the handgun. The trial court denied the motion. At trial, Anderson objected to the admission of the handgun but the objection was overruled. The trial court found Anderson guilty and imposed a three-year sentence.

         Discussion and Decision

         [¶5] Anderson did not seek interlocutory review of the denial of his motion to suppress but instead appeals following trial. This issue is therefore "appropriately framed as whether the trial court abused its discretion by admitting the evidence at trial." Washington v. State, 784 N.E.2d 584, 587 (Ind.Ct.App. 2003). Our standard of 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. However, we must also consider the uncontested evidence favorable to the defendant. Id.

         [¶6] "Although a trial court's determination of historical facts is entitled to deferential review, we employ a de novo standard when reviewing the trial court's ultimate determination of reasonable suspicion and probable cause." Lindsey v. State, 916 N.E.2d 230, 238 (Ind.Ct.App. 2009), trans. denied.

In other words, when a trial court has admitted evidence alleged to have been discovered as the result of an illegal search or seizure, we generally will assume the trial court accepted the evidence presented by the State and will not reweigh that evidence, but we owe no deference as to whether ...

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