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Reid v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

November 16, 2018

Ashley Reid, Appellant-Defendant,
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

          Appeal from the Bartholomew Superior Court The Honorable Kathleen Tighe Coriden, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 03D02-1702-CM-902

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Heather M. Schuh-Ogle Thomasson, Thomasson, Long & Guthrie, P.C. Columbus, Indiana

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana James B. Martin Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          Brown, Judge.

         [¶1] In this interlocutory appeal, Ashley Reid appeals the trial court's order denying her motion to suppress evidence. Reid raises two issues which we consolidate and restate as whether the trial court erred in denying her motion to suppress. We affirm and remand for further proceedings.[1]

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2] On February 15, 2017, the State charged Reid with: Count I, operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person as a class A misdemeanor; and Count II, operating a vehicle with an ACE of .15 or more as a class A misdemeanor.

         [¶3] On October 30, 2017, Reid filed a motion to suppress all oral and written communications, confessions, statements, or admissions alleged to have been made by her, as well as any test results arising from a July 29, 2016 incident. It stated in part that Officer James Paris of the Columbus Police Department responded to a report of a possible intoxicated driver at a West Ridge residence, that "[u]pon arriving, Officer Paris immediately began questioning Ms. Reid and giving her directives" and "subjected her to coercive and accusatory questioning," and that, without Reid's statements, he "lacked probable cause to request field sobriety tests, a chemical test, or a warrant for a blood draw." Appellant's Appendix Volume II at 34. It also stated:

There was little to no elapsed time between the unlawful search and seizure and the acquisition of the evidence, and there were no intervening circumstances. After questioning [Reid] with no advisement of her Miranda rights, Officer Paris immediately ordered [Reid] to perform field sobriety tests, and immediately following those, read her the "implied consent" law. When she declined, he immediately requested a warrant.

Id. at 35.

         [¶4] On December 4, 2017, the trial court conducted an evidentiary hearing on the motion, at which it heard the testimony of Officer Paris and admitted and played, as State's Exhibit 1, his body camera recording from the July 29, 2016 incident. Officer Paris testified that he was dispatched at 2:09 a.m. "as a possible intoxicated driver or disturbed (garbled)," and that:

I can't remember exact terminology dispatch used. A caller, a Stanley Reid, stated that he had heard a loud noise outside his residence, looked outside and saw his wife, [Reid], staggering in the driveway. Dispatch relayed that he wasn't sure what the noise was but believed she struck something with her vehicle.[2]

Transcript at 5-6. He stated that he proceeded to the scene without his lights or sirens activated, and saw two women in the driveway along with a vehicle with damage to the rear passenger-side bumper and a flat front passenger-side tire with its rubber "shredded around the wheel." Id. at 8. He testified that one of the individuals identified herself as Reid[3] and that he "[i]mmediately noticed that she was intoxicated. She was unsteady on her feet, had blood shot [sic] eyes, [and] had a strong odor of alcoholic beverage about her person," which "became stronger as she spoke . . . ." Id. at 6-7. His body camera recording indicates that he made contact with the two women, that they stated "that was not us" when he informed them of a "call of a possible traffic accident up here . . . a vehicle struck another vehicle," and that, after Reid identified herself, she answered affirmatively when asked "is this your vehicle" and "did you just get home." State's Exhibit 1 at 0:01-0:13, 0:23-0:31.

         [¶5] When questioned about his subsequent conversation with Reid, Officer Paris stated:

I had her step to the rear of the vehicle where the damage was so I could speak to her and then reference the damage.[4] Inquired what she had struck with the vehicle, an open ended what did you hit I believe was the question. She denied having struck anything. I referenced the damage. She said it was old damage that it happened at Walmart and that it did not happen, that it had been there for some time.

Transcript at 8. He indicated that he did not believe Reid's explanation and stated "it's a plastic type bumper and there was a hole in it, it was cracked, dented in, and it appeared to be extremely fresh. It was clean, no dust or dirt on it." Id. at 7. He stated "[o]h yes absolutely I can" when asked if, based on his experience, he was confident in his ability to look "at damage to tell if it's fresh or old . . . ." Id. When asked if Reid had stated she had driven the vehicle, Officer Paris answered affirmatively and testified:

After we had a discussion about the damage on the rear bumper . . . I had her kind of step around to the side and pointed out the damage to the tire and I said how did this happen? Oh that did happen tonight I struck a curb. She said struck a curb either at or near Circle K and that was my first indication that she had been the operator of the vehicle when she said I struck a curb.

Id. at 9.

         [¶6] Regarding the damage, the body camera recording reveals the following conversation between Reid and Officer Paris:

Reid: It's been there.
Officer Paris: That's been there? No ma'am. That's some brand-new damage right there.
* * * * *
Officer Paris: I've done this job for a long time -
Reid: That's fine.
Officer Paris: Okay, and I know when I'm being lied to.
Reid: Okay.
Officer Paris: Okay. I'm being lied to. This vehicle has struck something.
Reid: No, that's been like that.
Officer Paris: And this vehicle has struck something recently. Okay. Where have you been tonight?
Reid: Went uptown.
Officer Paris: Uptown? Uptown Columbus?
Reid: To the Circle-K and then I went to the bar . . . . Yeah, but I didn't hit anything.
Officer Paris: When did that accident ...

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