from the Marion Superior Court, No. 49G10-1509-CM-31258 The
Honorable Linda Brown, Judge
Attorneys for Appellant Ruth Ann Johnson Darren D. Bedwell
Marion County Public Defender Agency Indianapolis, Indiana
Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Monika Prekopa Talbot Christina D. Pace Deputy
Attorneys General Indianapolis, Indiana
Jacobs was found guilty of Class A misdemeanor possession of
a handgun without a license, and appeals his conviction under
the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and
Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution, contending
the search was constitutionally impermissible. We agree, and
and Procedural History
August 31, 2015, there were multiple reports of shots fired
by youths wearing red clothing, a known gang color, near an
apartment complex and neighboring park in a "high
crime" area of Indianapolis. Tr. at 11. In response,
police focused additional attention on the area, and at
around 2:00PM two days later in the park, Officer Terry Smith
"observed several juveniles who looked like they should
be in school, " which included Jacobs, age 18. Tr. at 7.
Smith sat in an unmarked car and observed the group for
"several hours", which also included "several
adult males." Tr. at 7. Some members of the group were
wearing red, but Jacobs was not, though at one point he had a
red t-shirt slung over his left shoulder. They also observed
a park ranger in a marked car patrol the area, at which point
Jacobs and another individual quickly walked away, and then
returned after the patrol car had left. At this point Smith
called for backup to "assist  in stopping them."
Tr. at 8. When the additional marked police cars arrived,
Jacobs and his companion again quickly walked away from the
group; Officers Smith and Jeremiah Casavan pulled up near
Jacobs, Smith got out of his car and ordered him to stop.
Jacobs did not comply, and continued to walk away, at which
point Officer Casavan exited his vehicle and both officers
ordered Jacobs to the ground. Jacobs now complied; Officer
Casavan handcuffed Jacobs while he was on the ground but
"told him he was not under arrest." Tr. at 24.
After Jacobs got off the ground, the outline of a handgun was
clearly visible in his pocket, which Casavan removed.
was charged with one count of Class A misdemeanor possession
of a handgun without a license, and at his bench trial
objected to the testimony of Officers Smith and Casavan, and
the admission of the handgun into evidence, on the grounds
that the officers did not have reasonable suspicion to stop
him under the Fourth Amendment to the United States
Constitution and Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana
Constitution. The trial court denied the motion, found Jacobs
guilty as charged, and sentenced him to one year probation. A
divided panel of our Court of Appeals affirmed, finding that
Jacobs' behavior in evading police in a high crime area
was sufficient to give rise to a reasonable suspicion that
crime was afoot, particularly since the officers reasonably
believed "Jacobs was committing the status offense of
truancy." Jacobs v. State, 62 N.E.3d 1253, 1261
n.3 (Ind.Ct.App. 2016). We hereby grant Jacobs' petition
to transfer and vacate the Court of Appeals' decision
below. Ind. Appellate Rule 58(A).
of evidence is generally left to the discretion of the trial
court, and thus we review admissibility challenges for abuse
of that discretion. Guilmette v. State, 14 N.E.3d
38, 40 (Ind. 2014). When, however, admissibility turns on
questions of constitutionality relating to the search and
seizure of that evidence, our review is de novo.
Id. at 40-41. "We review a trial court's
denial of a defendant's motion to suppress deferentially,
construing conflicting evidence in the light most favorable
to the ruling, but we will also consider any substantial and
uncontested evidence favorable to the defendant."
Robinson v. State, 5 N.E.3d 362, 365 (Ind. 2014)
(citing Holder v. State, 847 N.E.2d 930, 935 (Ind.
2006)). Nevertheless, we defer to the trial court's
factual determinations unless they are clearly erroneous.
Meredith v. State, 906 N.E.2d 867, 869 (Ind. 2009).
Lacked Reasonable Suspicion to Stop Jacobs Under the Fourth
The Fourth Amendment states that:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons,
houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches
and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall
issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or
affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be
searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
U.S. Const. amend. IV. "Accordingly, a warrantless
search or seizure is per se unreasonable, and the State bears
the burden to show that one of the well-delineated exceptions
to the warrant requirement applies." M.O. v.
State, 63 N.E.3d 329, 331 (Ind. 2016) (internal
quotations omitted). One of the most recognized such
exceptions is derived from Terry v. Ohio, which
permits a brief investigatory stop "where a police
officer observes unusual conduct which leads him reasonably
to conclude in light of his experience that criminal activity
may be afoot[.]" 392 U.S. 1, 30 (1968). "When
determining whether an officer had reasonable suspicion for a
Terry stop, we consider whether the totality of the
circumstances presented a particularized and objective basis
for the officer's belief that the subject was engaged in
criminal activity." State v. Keck, 4 N.E.3d
1180, 1184 (Ind. 2014) (internal quotations omitted).
"[I]n order to pass constitutional muster, reasonable