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Stickrod v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

August 3, 2018

William P. Stickrod, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

          Appeal from the Tippecanoe Circuit Court The Honorable Thomas H. Busch, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 79C01-1612-F5-167

          Attorney for Appellant Bruce W. Graham Graham Law Firm, P.C. Lafayette, Indiana.

          Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Justin F. Roebel Supervising Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana.

          Barteau, Senior Judge.

         Statement of the Case

         [¶1] William P. Stickrod appeals his convictions of possession of methamphetamine, a Level 5 felony;[1] and possession of paraphernalia, a Class C misdemeanor.[2]We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand with instructions.

         Issues

         [¶2] Stickrod raises three issues, which we restate as:

I. Whether the trial court erred in admitting evidence the police found in Stickrod's house while serving two arrest warrants.
II. Whether the trial court violated Stickrod's right to present evidence in his defense by barring a witness's testimony.
III. Whether Stickrod's two convictions for possession of methamphetamine violate the federal constitutional prohibition of double jeopardy.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶3] At 6:50 p.m. on December 17, 2016, Officer Grant Leroux of the Lafayette Police Department and other officers arrived at a house in Lafayette, Indiana. The house belonged to Stickrod's mother, but Officer Leroux knew that Stickrod lived there. The officers were there to execute warrants to arrest Stickrod for failing to appear at court hearings in two criminal cases.

         [¶4] We discuss the circumstances in more detail below, but in summary Stickrod's girlfriend, Jessica Caliz, [3] eventually answered the door and told Officer Leroux that Stickrod was not at home. The officers heard a "thud" coming from the house's attached garage. Caliz had previously lied to Officer Leroux about Stickrod's whereabouts. In addition, Officer Leroux had arrested Stickrod at that house a few weeks prior to December 17, 2016, after finding Stickrod hiding in the garage. The officers entered the house and discovered Stickrod hiding in the garage once again. They handcuffed him and, during a search of his person, discovered a glasses case in a pants pocket. The case contained a glass pipe and a small plastic bag which in turn contained a white powdery substance. Subsequent testing revealed the presence of .8 grams of methamphetamine in the bag and methamphetamine residue on the pipe.

         [¶5] The State charged Stickrod with possession of methamphetamine, a Level 6 felony; possession of paraphernalia, a Class C misdemeanor; and possession of methamphetamine, a Level 5 felony. The State further alleged that Stickrod was an habitual offender. Stickrod filed a motion to suppress all evidence that the State obtained after entering his home. The trial court held a hearing and denied the motion.

         [¶6] The court bifurcated the case, choosing to first submit the Level 6 felony and Class C misdemeanor charges to a jury. After the State rested, Stickrod's attorney informed the court outside the presence of the jury that he would not present testimony by Caliz because he believed Caliz would commit perjury on the stand. Stickrod disagreed with his attorney's decision and told the court that Caliz's testimony was "imperative for [his] defense." Tr. Vol. 2, p. 156. Stickrod further asked the court to fire his attorney. The court denied Stickrod's request to fire his attorney and did not allow Caliz to testify.

         [¶7] The jury determined Stickrod was guilty of the Level 6 felony and the Class C misdemeanor, and the court entered a judgment of conviction. Stickrod waived his right to a jury trial on the Level 5 felony and the habitual offender sentencing enhancement. During the second phase of trial, Stickrod pleaded guilty to the Level 5 felony and to being an habitual offender.

         [¶8] At sentencing, the court dismissed the habitual offender enhancement and imposed a sentence on the Level 6 felony, the Level 5 felony, and the Class C misdemeanor. The court further held the Level 6 ...


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