Anthony J. Johnson, Appellant-Defendant,
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.
from the Bartholomew Circuit Court Trial Court Cause No.
03C01-1803-F3-1704 The Honorable Kelly S. Benjamin, Judge.
Attorney for Appellant Christopher L. Clerc Columbus, Indiana
Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Caroline G. Templeton Deputy Attorney General
Anthony J. Johnson ("Johnson") appeals the trial
court's order increasing his bail bond from $175, 000 to
$500, 000. Johnson raises one issue on appeal which we
restate as whether the trial court abused its discretion when
it increased his bail bond.
and Procedural History
On March 28, 2018, a detective with the Columbus Police
Department ("CPD") filed a probable cause affidavit
in which he swore as follows. On January 30, 2018, and
February 28, 2018, the CPD used a confidential informant
("CI") to conduct controlled buys of
methamphetamine from Johnson. The CI conducted two more
controlled buys of heroin from Johnson on March 21, 2018, and
March 22, 2018. During the latter buy, Johnson forced the CI
to remove her clothes so he could check for a wire.
Initially, the CI removed only her shirt and bra, but Johnson
forced her to remove her pants. Johnson forcibly put his
fingers in the CI's vagina and pulled her towards him.
The sergeant conducting the strip search of the CI afterwards
noticed blood in the CI's underwear that was not there
before the buy. The CI reported that Johnson scratched her
vagina. She was then transported to the hospital for a sexual
assault exam. Johnson was arrested on March 23, 2018, and
after transporting him to the jail, the officer found
methamphetamine and heroin in the back of his police car.
The State charged Johnson on March 28, 2018, with rape, as a
Level 3 felony; two counts of dealing methamphetamine, as
Level 3 felonies; two counts of dealing in a narcotic drug,
as Level 5 felonies; possession of methamphetamine, as a Level
5 felony; and possession of a narcotic drug, as a
Level 5 felony. On May 14, 2018, Johnson filed a motion to
reduce his bail bond, which had been set at $175, 000, and
the court held a hearing on that motion on May 17.
Johnson testified at the hearing as follows. He is 39 years
old and has lived in Indiana for thirteen or fourteen years.
His mother still lives in Brooklyn, New York, but he has four
children who live in Columbus, Indiana. Johnson is ordered to
pay child support but owes an unknown amount in arrearage.
Johnson was last employed in 2017 and held that job for
approximately one month. Before that job, he did not have
consistent employment and worked at a series of temporary
jobs. Johnson's girlfriend's sister had promised him
a job upon his release from jail. Johnson has arrests or
convictions in Kentucky, New York, and Delaware, in addition
to previous convictions in Indiana. In addition, in the past
Johnson has failed to appear for two hearings in two
different Indiana criminal cases.
Detective Kelly Hibbs ("Det. Hibbs") of the CPD
testified as follows at the bond reduction hearing. After
Johnson's arrest, the CI was assaulted by three people,
sustaining injury to her head and a black eye. Det. Hibbs
listened to recorded phone calls made by Johnson from the
Bartholomew County Jail and was able to connect Johnson's
communications to the assault of the CI. Johnson used the
code words "wine stain" in reference to the CI and
stated that, if the "wine stain" was "cleaned
up" before his trial, he would be "good." Tr.
at 24. Two of the perpetrators of the assault were in custody
at the time of the bond hearing, while the police continue to
search for the other perpetrator.
During the jail phone calls Det. Hibbs heard Johnson express
a concern for his girlfriend's safety and arrange for her
to obtain a gun. CPD officers executed a search warrant for
Johnson's residence and found several firearms. Det.
Hibbs testified that Johnson's "access to firearms
is apparently readily available," and, based on
Johnson's phone calls from jail, Det. Hibbs did not
believe that Johnson "will do anything legally when he
gets out." Tr. at 22.
At the conclusion of the hearing, the State asked the court
to consider an increase in Johnson's bail bond. After
summarizing the testimony, the ...