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Bates v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

May 23, 2017

Antoine D. Bates, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff

         Appeal from the Elkhart Superior Court Trial Court Cause No. 20D02-1409-FB-74 The Honorable Stephen R. Bowers, Judge

          Attorney for Appellant Elizabeth A. Bellin Elkhart, Indiana

          Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Monika Prekopa Talbot Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          VAIDIK, CHIEF JUDGE.

         Case Summary

         [¶1] At Antoine D. Bates's jury trial for Class B felony burglary, the State disclosed for the first time that a wallet (which the owner had lost over two years earlier) had been found in the area of the burglary. Bates argued that this late disclosure violated Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), which requires the prosecution to disclose evidence that is favorable to the defendant. The trial court found no Brady violation, and Bates was convicted as charged. Bates now appeals, arguing a Brady violation and that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction.

         [¶2] Because Brady does not impose a general requirement of pretrial disclosure, Bates gives us no reason to believe that the wallet's owner could have offered evidence favorable to him, and Bates did not request a continuance when the disclosure was first made at trial, we find no Brady violation. In addition, because the victim saw Bates running away from her house carrying property that had been inside, we find that the evidence is sufficient to support his burglary conviction. We therefore affirm.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶3] In November 2013, Nancy Medina and her husband, Manuel Torres, lived at Nancy's parents' house in Harrison Ridge subdivision in Goshen along with Nancy's parents and three of her younger siblings. Nancy's youngest brother was one year old at the time.

         [¶4] On the night of November 9, Nancy and Manuel went with another couple to a dance club in South Bend to celebrate Manuel's twenty-second birthday. The group left the club around 3 a.m., and the other couple drove Nancy and Manuel home. Nancy was the first to enter the house and left the door open for her husband. As Nancy headed to the bathroom, she saw a man standing in the kitchen. Tr. Vol. II p. 227; Tr. Vol. III p. 4. The man, later identified as Bates, said, "Don't yell, " but Nancy yelled for her husband and ran out of the house. Tr. Vol. II pp. 229-30. Bates followed Nancy out of the house and ran into the street. Manuel, who was in the driveway, chased Bates for a short time but then stopped. During this time, Nancy saw that Bates was carrying her brother's Winnie the Pooh diaper bag that had been sitting on the kitchen table. It contained baby clothes and a camera.

         [¶5] Sergeant Scott Frey with the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department responded to a report of a burglary in progress at 3:35 a.m. After speaking with Nancy, he walked around the house to see if he could find a point of entry. Sergeant Frey found a screwdriver by the sliding-glass door. The locking mechanism on the sliding-glass door was damaged, as if something had been pushed into it. The screwdriver did not belong to Nancy or her family.

         [¶6] Undercover Officer (UC) 152[1] also responded to the report of a burglary in progress. After receiving a description of Bates, he helped other officers set up a perimeter around the subdivision. Shortly thereafter, UC 152 saw a man matching the description walk out from a wooded area in the subdivision. UC 152 eventually apprehended and arrested Bates. Officers did not find the diaper bag.

         [¶7] Several days later, on November 15, officers, including a K-9 officer, searched "every inch" of the subdivision for the diaper bag but still did not find it. Id. at 191. The K-9 officer, however, found a wallet in the subdivision. He tracked down the wallet's owner, who said he had lost his wallet over two years earlier. Id. at 207. The officers determined that the wallet was unrelated to this case and did not tell Bates about its discovery.

         [¶8] Thereafter, the State charged Bates with Class B felony burglary. At the jury trial, one of the searching officers briefly testified about the discovery of the wallet by the K-9 officer (who did not testify at trial). Id. at 207. Defense counsel cross-examined the ...


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