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Redfield v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

May 30, 2017

Deshawn Lamont Redfield, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

         Appeal from the Madison Circuit Court Trial Court Cause No. 48C01-1406-FB-1086 The Honorable Angela Warner Sims, Judge

          Attorney for Appellant Anthony C. Lawrence Anderson, Indiana

          Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Caryn N. Szyper Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          NAJAM, JUDGE.

         Statement of the Case

         [¶1] Deshawn Lamont Redfield appeals his convictions for unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, as a Class B felony; possession of cocaine, as a Class C felony; pointing a firearm, as a Class D felony; and resisting law enforcement, as a Class A misdemeanor. Redfield raises one issue for our review, namely, whether an officer violated Redfield's right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution[1] when the officer seized Redfield for officer safety but without pre-existing reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. We hold that, on these facts, the officer's seizure of Redfield was reasonable. Thus, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2] In the early morning hours of June 15, 2014, Anderson Police Department ("APD") Officer Gabe Bailey responded to a dispatch report of a subject with a firearm at the Birdhouse bar. The report, which was based on an anonymous tip, [2] described the subject as a black male wearing a gray shirt and a hat. In the few moments it took for dispatch to describe the suspect, Officer Bailey had already arrived at the Birdhouse, and he immediately observed a person who matched that description outside the bar. Officer Bailey radioed for backup.

         [¶3] While awaiting backup, Officer Bailey approached the man, Redfield, who was talking to another man, Eric Welker. Officer Bailey attempted to "stall" while backup arrived and "made contact with" Welker, "patted him down, " and "spoke to him briefly." Tr. Vol. II at 48. Officer Bailey stated that APD had received a call about "somebody with a gun." Id. At that point, Redfield "took a step" away from Officer Bailey and "blade[d] his body away" from Officer Bailey's line-of-sight "several times." Id. at 48, 51. That is, Redfield moved the right side of his body away from Officer Bailey's vantage point while he walked away from Officer Bailey. Further, and while only about five feet from Officer Bailey, Redfield made a "drawing motion" with his right hand as if he were "drawing for a gun." Id. at 49. Officer Bailey thought he "was go[ing to] be in a gun fight" and immediately drew his sidearm and ordered Redfield to "Stop!" and "Let me see your hands!" Id.

         [¶4] Redfield disregarded Officer Bailey's commands and continued to walk away. After Redfield had gone about fifty feet and continued to disregard Officer Bailey's commands, Officer Bailey tased Redfield, which knocked Redfield down. Officer Bailey again ordered Redfield to put his hands out, and Redfield initially complied. But he then made a quick motion with his right hand and grabbed a firearm "[o]ut of the side of his pants." Id. at 59. Officer Bailey fired the taser again, and, while Redfield was momentarily incapacitated by the taser, Officer Bailey was able to acquire Redfield's firearm.

         [¶5] Thereafter, backup arrived and Redfield was arrested. His firearm was found to have been loaded with one hollow-point bullet along with regular ammunition. Officer Bailey also discovered crack cocaine on Redfield's person.

         [¶6] The State charged Redfield with unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, as a Class B felony; possession of cocaine, as a Class C felony; pointing a firearm, as a Class D felony; and resisting law enforcement, as a Class A misdemeanor. Redfield filed a motion to suppress the evidence on the grounds that he had been unlawfully seized by Officer Bailey and, as such, the evidence obtained pursuant to that seizure was obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and, for the same reasons, Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution. The trial court denied Redfield's motion to suppress after a hearing. At his ensuing jury trial, Redfield renewed his Fourth Amendment and Article 1, Section 11 objections to the State's evidence, and the court overruled his objections. The jury found Redfield guilty as charged, and the court entered its judgment and sentence against Redfield accordingly. This appeal ensued.

         Discussion and Decision

         [¶7] Redfield's arguments that "police violated his Fourth Amendment and Article 1, Section 11 rights" raise "questions of law we review de novo." Zanders v. State, ___ N.E.3d ___, No. 15S01-1611-CR-571, slip op. at 4-5 (Ind. May 4, 2017). As the United States Supreme Court has explained with respect to the Fourth Amendment, "as a general matter determinations of reasonable suspicion and probable cause should be reviewed de novo on appeal, " while "findings of historical fact" underlying those legal determinations are reviewed "only for clear error." Ornelas v. United States, 517 U.S. 690, 699 (1996). The Indiana Supreme Court applies the same standard under Article 1, Section 11. E.g., McIlquham v. State, 10 N.E.3d 506, 511 (Ind. 2014). In other words, we review whether reasonable suspicion or probable cause exists "under a standard 'similar to other sufficiency issues'-whether, without reweighing the evidence, there is 'substantial evidence of probative ...


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