Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

S.M. v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

April 13, 2017

S.M., Appellant-Respondent,
State of Indiana, Appellee-Petitioner

         Appeal from the Marion Superior Court The Honorable Marilyn A. Moores, Judge The Honorable Geoffrey A. Gaither, Magistrate Trial Court Cause No. 49D09-1602-JD-181

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Hilary Bowe Ricks Indianapolis, Indiana

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana George P. Sherman Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          Mathias, Judge.

          [¶1] S.M., a teenaged girl, was adjudicated a delinquent child for helping H.J., a teenaged boy, steal Lashawn Rogers's ("Rogers") car. She appeals from the true finding in Marion Superior Court that she committed what would be Level 6 felony theft and Class A misdemeanor criminal trespass if done by an adult. Because the true finding was supported by sufficient evidence, we affirm.

         Facts and Procedural Posture

         [¶2] Shortly before 5:00 p.m. on December 6, 2015, Rogers pulled her car into a gas station near the intersection of 38th Street and Oxford Street in Indianapolis to buy some cookies for her granddaughter. As she pulled up to the gas station, she saw two teenagers, a boy and a girl, standing near her parking space. Rogers eyed the pair warily, expecting they intended to ask her for money. Leaving the car running and taking only her electronic key fob with her, Rogers got out of the car and told the pair she did not have any money to give them. Rogers left her personal cell phone, her laptop computer, her purse, and other items in the running car, and locked it with the key fob.

         [¶3] As she made her way past the pair, Rogers tripped over the concrete parking curb at the head of the parking space and dropped what she had in her hands, including the key fob. The boy offered his assistance. Embarrassed, Rogers picked herself up and thanked the boy for his help. She hurriedly picked up everything she had dropped except, by inadvertence, the key fob, and went inside the gas station.

         [¶4] Cookies in hand, Rogers left the gas station only to watch her car back out of the parking space and pull out of the gas station parking lot. She saw the boy in the driver's seat and the girl in the passenger's. "Are you serious?" Rogers yelped in exasperation. Tr. p. 16. "Bring my truck back!" Id. She ran to the street and flagged a passing driver. The driver offered to call 911 but declined Rogers's invitation to pursue the thieves. Seeing her car turn south down a side street from 38th, Rogers ran to the intersection of 38th and the side street, but the thieves and her car were gone. Rogers returned to the gas station and called 911 herself. Sometime later, after a second call to 911, police arrived and assured Rogers they would do what they could.

         [¶5] A few days later, Rogers had deactivated her stolen cell phone and was activating a new one. When the new phone synced with Rogers's cloud storage account, she noticed that ten or twenty pictures she had not seen before had been downloaded to the new phone. Together the pictures showed six or seven teenaged boys and two or three teenaged girls. Among them, Rogers identified the boy and girl from the gas station. Rogers concluded that the thieves had been using her old cell phone to take pictures of themselves and their friends, and the pictures had been automatically uploaded to her cloud storage account from the old phone before it was deactivated.

         [¶6] Rogers printed out two pictures, one of the boy with two friends and one of the girl by herself, Ex. Vol., State's Exs. 1-2, and started asking friends and family around the city whether they knew either of the teenagers. Family members with children attending Lawrence Central High School identified the pair as students at that school. Rogers presented her findings to the police, whose investigation had not proceeded very far, or had not yet begun.

         [¶7] Detective Kevin Kern ("Kern") of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department was assigned to Rogers's case on December 15, 2015, more than a week after the theft. The gas station at 38th and Oxford was known by police to retain its security camera footage for only three days before taping over it, so no help came from that quarter. Kern's first step was to speak with Rogers, who told him she had already identified the two thieves as students at Lawrence Central and gave him the pictures from her new phone.

         [¶8] Kern went to the school. It is impossible to say what Kern did there or with whom he spoke, because Kern would later contradict himself and other evidence multiple times on the witness stand in recounting his investigation. Compare Tr. p. 63 (Kern spoke with teacher of H.J. and S.M.) with Tr. p. 132 (Kern did not speak with teacher of H.J. and S.M.). In any event, whether by Rogers's efforts, Appellant's App. p. 25 (Kern's probable cause affidavit), or by Kern's, Tr. p. 40 (Kern's trial testimony), the boy in the picture was identified as H.J., and the girl as S.M.

         [¶9] On December 22, 2015, Kern spoke with S.M. and her mother at their home. S.M. denied any involvement in the theft. Mother and daughter directed Kern to an alibi witness, D.G., a school friend of S.M.'s. Kern called D.G. one morning, [1] recording the interview without D.G.'s knowledge or consent. D.G. would later testify that December 6 was her mother's birthday, and that D.G., S.M., and a third school friend spent a long weekend in one another's constant, uninterrupted company from Saturday, December 5, through Monday, December 7. The girls took a picture of themselves time-stamped a little before 3:00 P.M. on December 5, the day before the theft. Ex. Vol., Resp't's Ex. CC. Kern would later testify that D.G. ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.