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K.C. v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

September 8, 2017

K.C. & K.C., Appellants-Respondents,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Petitioner.

         Appeal from the Marion Superior Court The Honorable Marilyn Moores, Judge The Honorable Gary Chavers, Magistrate Trial Court Cause Nos. 49D09-1509-JD-1759, 49D09-1511-JD-2031

          Attorney for Appellants Joel M. Schumm Indianapolis, Indiana

          Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana

          Eric P. Babbs Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          BROWN, JUDGE.

         [¶1] In this consolidated appeal, Ki.C. appeals the juvenile court's true findings that he committed delinquent acts which, if committed by an adult, would constitute battery on a public safety official as a level 6 felony and forcibly resisting law enforcement as a class A misdemeanor. Ke.C. appeals the juvenile court's true finding that he committed a delinquent act which, if committed by an adult, would constitute resisting law enforcement as a class A misdemeanor. Ki.C. and Ke.C. (collectively, the "Respondents") raise three issues which we consolidate and restate as whether the juvenile court abused its discretion in admitting certain evidence due to violations of the Respondents' rights under Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution. We affirm.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2] On September 24, 2015, Indianapolis Public Schools Police Department ("IPSP") Officers John Dunker and Christopher Caldwell were on duty at Arsenal Technical High School when Officer Dunker received a radio call about a possible stolen phone. He proceeded to Allen Hall, and faculty member Tony Henderson told him that a female student's "Windows phone" had been stolen and that no one had left the classroom and no one had reentered.[1] Transcript at 4. Officer Dunker proceeded to conduct pat-down searches of the students who were in the classroom by taking one student at a time out into the hallway and patting down the students' exterior clothing. Soon after, Officer Caldwell arrived to assist with the searches.

         [¶3] After patting down at least one student and not finding the phone, Officer Dunker re-entered the classroom and "was greeted by [Ki.C.] yelling, he is not f ----- touching me. He is not touching me, he is not searching me." Id. at 10-11. Officer Dunker patted down another student, then came to Ki.C. who remained seated and stated that he would not allow Officer Dunker to search him. Officer Dunker asked Ki.C. to stand, and he refused to do so. After Officer Dunker moved the desk, Ki.C. stood, took his jacket off, and began to walk away, Officer Dunker placed his hand on Ki.C.'s shoulder, and Ki.C. "threw his arm back in an aggressive manor [sic] . . . ." Id. Officer Dunker went to grab Ki.C., who then balled his fist and swung it at Officer Dunker several times. Officer Dunker then placed Ki.C. on a ledge in the back of the classroom, and Ki.C. punched Officer Dunker in the ribs with his fist and with a limestone-based trophy. At that point, Officer Dunker took Ki.C. to the ground.

         [¶4] Ke.C., who is Ki.C.'s twin brother, observed Ki.C. and Officer Dunker on the ground, and Officer Caldwell prevented Ke.C. from moving toward them. Ke.C. tried to evade Officer Caldwell, but he was taken to the ground by the officer. During this encounter, Officer Caldwell believed that Ke.C. was hitting him in the leg. Officer Caldwell attempted to place Ke.C. in handcuffs, but Ke.C. kept avoiding the handcuffs by moving his arms and trying to pull away. Eventually, both Ki.C. and Ke.C. were placed in handcuffs and escorted by the officers to the IPSP office on the Arsenal Tech campus.

         [¶5] On September 25, 2015, the State alleged Ki.C. to be a delinquent child for acts constituting the following crimes if committed by an adult: Count 1, battery against a public safety official as a level 6 felony; Count 2, battery by bodily waste as a level 6 felony; Count 3, battery against a public safety official as a level 6 felony; Counts 4 and 5, intimidation as level 6 felonies; and Count 6, resisting law enforcement as a class A misdemeanor. On November 13, 2015, the State alleged Ke.C. to be a delinquent child for committing two counts of resisting law enforcement which would be class A misdemeanors if committed by an adult.

         [¶6] On March 14, 2016, the juvenile court held a consolidated fact-finding hearing for Ki.C. and Ke.C. Early in the testimony of Officer Dunker, defense counsel asked preliminary questions and made an oral motion to suppress the evidence of the events that occurred after the attempted pat-down search. Defense counsel asked Officer Dunker about the myIPS Student Code of Conduct, and Officer Dunker testified that "these rules are not necessarily over us, " that the officers "operate by our own standard operating procedure, " and that "we are separate from the school rules." Transcript at 6. After having him read certain provisions contained in the Code of Conduct regarding personal technology devices such as smartphones and student searches, defense counsel moved to suppress his testimony as follows:

The Officer acting in the capacity of a member of the State in his role as a policeman overstepped his authority; in fact, violated both of my client's [sic] Constitutional rights to be free from unlawful searches and seizures. . . . We would ask that everything that occurred after the officer had the idea that he was going to search everyone in the classroom be suppressed and that in fact may result in a dismissal of the charges against both of these boys.

Id. at 8-9. The court denied the motion. Counsel again objected during Officer Caldwell's testimony, citing his previous argument, which the court overruled. The court also admitted into evidence as Respondents' Exhibit A the myIPS Student Code of Conduct, which includes provisions regarding ...


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