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Ericksen v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

January 18, 2017

Jeremiah Edward Ericksen, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

         Appeal from the Vanderburgh Circuit Court The Honorable Kelli E. Fink, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 82C01-1511-F5-7086

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Matthew J. McGovern Anderson, Indiana

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill Attorney General of Indiana James B. Martin Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          Riley, Judge.

         STATEMENT OF THE CASE

         [¶1] Appellant-Defendant, Jeremiah Edward Ericksen (Ericksen), appeals his conviction for carrying a handgun without a license, a Class A misdemeanor, Ind. Code § 35-47-2-1(e), enhanced to a Level 5 felony based on a prior conviction; and resisting law enforcement, a Level 6 felony, I.C. § 35-44.1-3-1.

         [¶2] We affirm.

         ISSUES

         [¶3] Ericksen raises two issues on appeal, which we restate as:

(1) Whether the State presented sufficient evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to support Ericksen's conviction for carrying a handgun without a license; and
(2) Whether the trial court tendered a proper jury instruction on the charge of carrying a handgun without a license.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         [¶4] In September 2015, Detective James Budde (Detective Budde) of the Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Department initiated an undercover operation to purchase a handgun from Ericksen. During a meeting on October 8, 2015, Ericksen showed Detective Budde a black and silver Taurus .45 caliber handgun and referred to it as a "throwaway."[1] (Transcript p. 169). The following month, on November 8, 2015, Detective Budde discussed with Ericksen the purchase of the Taurus handgun and Ericksen indicated that if this sale went smoothly, they could conduct future firearms transactions. They scheduled the purchase for November 11, 2015.

         [¶5] On November 11, 2015, officers conducting surveillance on Ericksen witnessed him putting a black bag, a "possible gun case type thing, " inside the trunk of a black Jaguar, which was registered to Marilyn Ericksen (Marilyn). (Tr. p. 150). Ericksen got into the back seat of the vehicle, directly behind the driver. Shortly after the vehicle crossed into Vanderburgh County, Indiana, on the Lloyd Expressway, officers conducted a traffic stop. During the stop, the officers held the occupants of the vehicle at gunpoint because of the high risk that Ericksen might be armed and ordered the occupants to exit the Jaguar. The front passenger, believed to be Ericksen's son, exited and was placed in handcuffs and seated in the police car. While the female driver, later identified as Marilyn, was complying with the officers' orders, Ericksen opened his car door and started cursing the officers. He jumped out of the car, smashed a full can of Coke on the ground, and yelled "to shoot him and kill him." (Tr. p. 93). He started "pumping up, throwing his hands, [and] clinching his fists." (Tr. p. 44). When Ericksen charged the officers, Officer Robert Schmitt (Officer Schmitt) deployed his K-9 partner, Boss. Boss bit Ericksen in his stomach and forced him to the ground. While officers approached to place Ericksen in custody, Officer Schmitt ordered Boss to release Ericksen. Although Ericksen initially put his hands out, he continued to resist after Boss withdrew.

         [¶6] Subsequent to Ericksen's arrest, the officers obtained a search warrant for the Jaguar. During the search of the vehicle, officers discovered two empty firearm magazines and one loose round in the black bag in the trunk. Inside the vehicle, the officers discovered a Taurus handgun underneath the driver's seat with the barrel of the handgun pointing towards the rear of the vehicle.

         [¶7] On November 16, 2015, the State filed its Information, charging Ericksen with carrying a handgun without a license, a Class A misdemeanor; theft of a firearm, a Level 6 felony; and resisting law enforcement, a Level 6 felony. The State additionally filed an enhancement of the carrying a handgun without a license charge to a Level 5 felony based on a prior conviction. On April 13 and 14, 2016, the trial court conducted a jury trial. At the onset of the bifurcated trial, the State moved to dismiss the theft charge, which was granted by the trial court. After ...


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