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Sansbury v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

December 11, 2017

Richard Bernard Sansbury, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

         Appeal from the Marion Superior Court. Trial Court Cause No. 49G10-1601-CM-2065 The Honorable Steven J. Rubick, Magistrate.

          Attorney for Appellant Rory Gallagher Marion County Public Defender Agency Indianapolis, Indiana

          Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Angela N. Sanchez Supervising Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          Barteau, Senior Judge.

         Statement of the Case

         [¶1] Richard Bernard Sansbury appeals his convictions of carrying a handgun without a license, a Class A misdemeanor, [1] and driving with a suspended license with a similar infraction within the past ten years, a Class A misdemeanor.[2] We reverse and remand.

         Issues

         [¶2] Sansbury raises three issues, which we consolidate and restate as:

I. Whether the court erred in admitting evidence obtained during a search of the vehicle Sansbury was driving.
II. Whether there is sufficient evidence to sustain Sansbury's conviction for driving with a suspended license with a similar infraction within the past ten years.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶3] On the evening of January 17, 2016, Detective Andrew McKalips and Officer Mollie Johanningsmeier of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) were on patrol in Indianapolis. Detective McKalips was training Officer Johanningsmeier, who was a rookie. McKalips saw a vehicle, specifically a Pontiac Aztek, make a turn without activating a turn signal. He also noted that one of the Aztek's headlights was not working.

         [¶4] McKalips turned his car around and stopped the Aztek in an apartment complex. The Aztek stopped near an apartment building, one and a half to two feet from the curb. The vehicle did not stop in a marked parking spot, but was instead sitting by the side of a road where traffic drove through the complex. McKalips approached the Aztek and learned that Sansbury was the driver. Sansbury had a passenger, Elisha Goins. Sansbury lived in the nearby building.

         [¶5] McKalips determined Sansbury did not have a valid driver's license. Further, Sansbury was not the Aztek's registered owner. The registered owner was Sansbury's mother, Jorja Payton. McKalips decided to impound the Aztek. He contacted a tow truck and requested backup.

         [¶6] Next, McKalips searched the vehicle, claiming it was necessary to inventory its contents. During the search he found three handguns. Two were in the center console, which was closed but not locked. McKalips found the third handgun under a back seat, concealed under a shirt. He also saw a clip of ammunition wedged between the driver's seat and the center console. McKalips determined that neither Sansbury nor Goins had a valid permit to possess guns. At that point, the search ended, and neither McKalips nor Johanningsmeier prepared a written inventory of the Aztek's contents.

         [¶7] The State charged Sansbury with possession of a handgun without a license and driving with a suspended license with a similar infraction within the past ten years. Sansbury filed a motion to suppress all evidence discovered through the search and seizure of the automobile. The trial court held an evidentiary hearing and denied the motion at the end of the hearing.

         [¶8] The case was tried to the bench, and Sansbury renewed his objection to the admission of evidence discovered during McKalips' search. The trial court overruled his objection. After the State ended its presentation of evidence, Sansbury moved for involuntary dismissal. The court adjourned the hearing to consider cases cited by Sansbury. At a subsequent hearing, the court denied Sansbury's motion and offered Sansbury the opportunity to present evidence. Sansbury chose not to present any evidence. The trial court determined Sansbury was guilty as charged and imposed a sentence. This appeal followed.

         Discussion and Decision

         I. ...


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