Dori J. West, Appellant-Defendant,
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff
from the Allen Superior Court The Honorable Frances Gull,
Judge The Honorable Jason Custer, Magistrate Trial Court
Cause No. 02D04-1610-CM-3878
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT David L. Joley Fort Wayne, Indiana.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Monika Prekopa Talbot Supervising Deputy Attorney
General Indianapolis, Indiana.
Dori J. West appeals from her conviction for Class A
misdemeanor resisting law enforcement. She raises a number of
claims on appeal, of which we find the following dispositive:
Did the State present sufficient evidence to support the
We reverse and remand.
& Procedural History
During the summer and fall of 2014, the Fort Wayne Police
Department and the Allen County Drug Task Force were
investigating a major drug ring involving the sale of
synthetic drugs. The investigation included, among other
things, a number of controlled drug buys in or around
West's neighborhood. On September 16, 2014, West's
eighteen-year-old son Brandon Bermingham delivered 1.55 grams
of spice to a confidential informant. This transaction took
place on the sidewalk in front of West's home.
On October 2, 2014, police sought and obtained search
warrants for eight homes involved in the investigation.
No-knock warrants were authorized with respect to most of
these homes, including West's home where Bermingham was
the target. At about 6:10 a.m. on October 6, 2014, Fort Wayne
Police Officer Kevin Zelt, commander of the Emergency
Services Team (EST),  along with ten other EST officers,
executed the warrant at West's home. The officers were in
police tactical gear and most were armed with shotguns or
submachine guns. Officer Eric Krull, however, was armed with
a non-lethal weapon called a 40-millimeter foam baton
As the EST encircled the property and prepared for entry, all
was seemingly quiet inside West's home. Her
eleven-year-old son was showering for school while she cooked
breakfast. Her fiancé, Craig Cox, was asleep in a
bedroom just off of the kitchen with West's two-year-old
grandson. Cox's young teenage daughters were in the
living room with their friend, who often came for breakfast
before school. Bermingham was upstairs asleep.
Just before the EST was about to force entry, Cox's
thirteen-year-old daughter heard something outside and opened
the front door. Upon seeing the armed individuals outside in
the dark, she quickly closed the door and ran for West, who
emerged from the kitchen. The officer assigned to the
battering ram then forced the door open into the living room
and shouted: "Police! We have a warrant! We're
coming in!" Transcript Vol. 1 at 157. At the
same time, officers broke through the window into the living
room. The next several seconds were chaotic, as multiple
officers shouted commands for the occupants to come out.
West was standing in the hallway between the kitchen and the
living room. She looked at the EST officers and then turned
back toward the kitchen in an effort to reach her grandson
still sleeping in the bedroom. Officer Krull observed West
walking toward the dark bedroom and fired a foam baton at
her. This occurred within about twenty seconds of entry by
the EST. West fell to the ground and then quickly exited the
home without incident. The three girls and Cox also exited
and were detained outside. Thereafter, officers went inside
and removed the two-year-old and eleven-year-old boys, as
well as Bermingham.
On November 10, 2014, the State charged West with Class A
misdemeanor resisting law enforcement by fleeing. After
numerous delays and continuances, the case was dismissed on
July 15, 2016, by motion of the State. Thereafter, on October
4, 2016, the State refiled the same charge under a new cause
number. West filed a motion for discharge pursuant to Ind.
Criminal Rule 4(C) on February 22, 2017. The trial court
denied the motion and the case was tried before a jury on
March 16, ...