Jevon R. Bates-Smith, Appellant-Defendant,
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff
from the Morgan Superior Court The Honorable Peter R. Foley,
Judge Trial Court Cause No. 55D01-1509-F2-1386
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Ryan P. Dillon Maritza K. Webb Dillon
Legal Group, P.C. Franklin, Indiana
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana J.T. Whitehead Deputy Attorney General
Jevon Bates-Smith appeals his conviction for Level 2 Felony
Dealing in a Narcotic Drug. Bates-Smith argues that the trial
court erred by (1) admitting evidence stemming from a traffic
stop that Bates-Smith contends was unconstitutional; and (2)
admitting testimony in violation of the rule against hearsay
evidence and the federal Confrontation Clause. Finding no
error, we affirm.
Indiana State Police Detective Joshua Allen works for the
drug enforcement section and is assigned to covert operations
in an undercover role investigating people who deal in
cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. He has been involved in
over 500 criminal investigations related to controlled
substances. Detective Allen often employs confidential
informants (CIs), who are usually low-level drug users whose
cooperation leads to the arrest of higher level targets. He
has used CIs over 100 times in his career.
In the summer of 2015, Detective Allen began working with a
CI. This CI has heroin-related cases in his criminal history,
though he had not yet been convicted of any drug offense. At
some point, the CI told Detective Allen that he had purchased
heroin from a dealer for whom the CI had a phone number and a
vague description, but no name.
The CI worked with officers to contact the heroin dealer,
making multiple phone calls and many contacts before finally
succeeding. On September 28, 2015, after Detective Allen and
the CI had been working together for a few months, police
officers were able to contact the dealer using the phone
number provided by the CI. They set up a meeting to purchase
heroin in the amount of $800. Detective Allen contacted
various troopers, sheriff's deputies, and police
officers, telling them to be out of sight at the planned
meeting location and to be prepared to arrest the dealer
after the controlled buy occurred.
The plan was for the controlled buy to take place near a
Steak 'n Shake restaurant and Wal-Mart plaza in
Martinsville. Based on the CI's description, law
enforcement was looking for a blue four-door passenger
vehicle holding a slender, tall, Black male. Detective Allen
and the CI waited for the vehicle to arrive.
Detective Allen saw a blue four-door vehicle arrive and park
in a lot near the restaurant. The detective and CI drove past
the vehicle, which held two Black males. As they drove by,
the CI's cell phone rang; Detective Allen noticed that
the driver of the vehicle, later identified as Bates-Smith,
was on his cell phone. The incoming call to the CI was from
the same number officers had contacted to arrange the
controlled buy. The CI identified Bates-Smith as the dealer.
Evidently, Bates-Smith was contacting the CI to cancel the
deal. Appellee's Br. p. 23.
Bates-Smith began to drive his vehicle out of the parking
lot. Detective Allen contacted the other law enforcement
officials who were waiting nearby with instructions to stop
the vehicle; Detective Allen drove the CI to a gas station
and let him get out of the car so that he would not be
identified by Bates-Smith or his passenger.
As Bates-Smith was driving his vehicle, law enforcement
officials followed it and turned on their lights and sirens.
Bates-Smith continued to drive through the parking lot, with
the officials in pursuit. As officials had blocked the
parking lot exits, Bates-Smith eventually ran out of room and
had to stop. His passenger, later identified as Jeremiah
Moore, jumped out of the car while it was still moving. Moore
tried to run away but was apprehended by law enforcement
officials. He was instructed to get down onto the pavement in
a spread-eagle position. He complied, and then repeatedly
attempted to shove something into his mouth but was unable to
swallow it. It was later determined that the object was a
golf-ball-sized baggy containing heroin.
At the same time, other officials were focused on
Bates-Smith, who was still in the vehicle. He eventually
agreed to exit the vehicle. A later search of the vehicle
revealed a loaded pistol, five cell phones, scales, and