from the Jennings Circuit Court The Honorable Jon W. Webster,
Judge Trial Court Cause No. 40C01-1605-F2-5
Attorneys for Appellant Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Justin F. Roebel Deputy Attorney General
Attorneys for Appellee Mark J. Dove R. Patrick Magrath Alcorn
Sage Schwartz & Magrath, LLP Madison, Indiana
The State appeals the trial court's suppression of
evidence found during a search of Larry Janes's vehicle,
arguing that the trial court erred by finding that because a
Pirtle warning was not given, suppression was
warranted. Finding no error, we affirm.
In the early morning of May 17, 2016, Janes and a passenger
drove past Jennings County Sheriff's Department Reserve
Deputy Jason Littrell on a rural road. Deputy Littrell
observed that Janes failed to dim his headlights. Deputy
Littrell followed Janes's vehicle for a minute so he
could stop Janes in a well-lit area; during this time, the
deputy observed Janes slow down so that he was driving under
the posted speed limit, turn on his turn signal well before
an intersection, stop well in front of the white line at the
intersection, make a wide turn at the intersection, and drive
on the emergency portion of the road.
Once Deputy Littrell stopped the vehicle and approached
Janes, he advised Janes why he stopped him, and Janes
admitted that he did not dim his headlights for approaching
traffic. Deputy Littrell observed that Janes was nervous and
would not make eye contact with him, and when the deputy
requested his driver's license, Janes initially handed
him a bank card. This behavior, coupled with what the deputy
had observed while following Janes, made Deputy Littrell
suspect that Janes was impaired. He then requested additional
officers to assist at the scene.
Deputy Heilers and Sergeant Ritchie arrived shortly
thereafter. Sergeant Ritchie testified that when he arrived,
he "mentioned that [he] heard a lot of information about
Larry Janes being involved in the drug world" or
"with methamphetamine." Tr. Vol. II p. 78. After
Deputy Littrell ran Janes's license, which came back
clean, he returned to Janes's vehicle on the driver's
side, while Deputy Heilers approached the vehicle on the
passenger's side. Deputy Littrell gave Janes a verbal
warning for failure to dim his headlights. He then turned and
stepped toward his patrol car. Deputy Littrell testified that
he then "went back to the driver's door and asked
the driver if he would give consent to search the vehicle due
to us trying to clean the streets up and recover stolen items
and such." Id. at 13. Deputy Littrell testified
that Janes consented and then "I advised him if he
agreed to giving us consent to search the vehicle, I asked
him and the passenger to open the door and step out and walk
to the rear of his vehicle and the front of mine and stand
with Sargent [sic] Ritchie." Id. Janes and the
Deputy Littrell's body camera recorded their exchange:
Deputy Littrell: All right, Larry, here's your ID back.
Like you said, you know why I pulled you over, right?
Janes: Yeah, it won't happen again (inaudible) one thing
(inaudible) hard to see anyway.
Deputy Littrell: All right, you had anything to drink
tonight, anything like that?
Janes: No sir.
Deputy Littrell: ...