Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Tinker v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

July 16, 2019

Patrick Neil Tinker, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff

          Appeal from the Hamilton Superior Court The Honorable J. Richard Campbell, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 29D04-1602-F6-1201.

          Attorney for Appellant Christopher J. Evans Dollard Evans Whalin LLP Noblesville, Indiana

          Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General Samuel J. Dayton Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          Crone, Judge.

         Case Summary

         [¶1] Patrick Neil Tinker appeals his convictions, following a jury trial, for level 6 felony dealing in marijuana and class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana. During a valid traffic stop of Tinker's vehicle, police officers conducted a dog sniff around the vehicle. After the canine alerted to the presence of an illegal substance, officers searched the vehicle and found marijuana in the trunk. Tinker unsuccessfully moved to suppress the evidence obtained during the search, arguing that the dog sniff prolonged the traffic stop in violation of his constitutional rights. The evidence was subsequently admitted at trial over his renewed objection. The sole restated issue on appeal is whether the trial court abused its discretion in admitting the evidence obtained as a result of the search. Finding no abuse of discretion, we affirm.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2] On February 16, 2016, Fishers Police Department Officer Joseph Hancock was on street patrol conducting traffic stops on Interstate 69. At approximately 11:27 p.m., Officer Hancock was in his fully marked police vehicle parked in the median near exit 206 when he observed a vehicle heading northbound make "some lane movements." Tr. Vol. 2. at 105. Specifically, the vehicle was "in the left lane, [and] quickly jumped over to the right without proper signaling" and then "moved back into the left lane[.]" Id. After Officer Hancock started following the vehicle, the driver "switched again to the right lane without proper signaling" and then at one point "straddled two lanes of traffic." Id. Officer Hancock remembered observing the same vehicle traveling southbound on Interstate 69 approximately forty-five minutes earlier, when he saw it make rapid lane changes and slam on its brakes; he had been unable to "get out on it" safely so he did not attempt a traffic stop at that time. State's Ex. 1.

         [¶3] Officer Hancock activated his emergency lights and initiated a traffic stop of the vehicle a little after 11:27 p.m. Officer Hancock approached the passenger side of the vehicle and asked both the driver and the passenger for identification and spoke to them briefly about where they had been and where they were going. The men indicated that they had traveled from Fort Wayne to Indianapolis and were returning to Fort Wayne. Tinker was the driver and Jerome Dowdell was the passenger. Both Tinker and Dowdell "appeared nervous" and "wouldn't make eye contact" with Officer Hancock, and their "breathing was a little elevated." Tr. Vol. 2 at 107. Officer Hancock collected each man's identification and returned to the police vehicle. At that point, Officer Hancock requested an assisting officer because he "knew that [he] was going to get the driver out and explain the warning to him and to talk to him a little more" and "[i]t's just standard practice to officer's safety to always have another officer there." Id. at 15. Officer Hancock also called for a canine unit. Officer Hancock did so because he believed it was strange that the two men had stated that they were headed back to Fort Wayne from Indianapolis. Having remembered seeing that same vehicle just forty-five minutes earlier, Officer Hancock thought that was an uncommonly "quick turnaround." Id. at 107.

         [¶4] Officer Hancock ran background checks on both Tinker and Dowdell and remained in his police vehicle until an assisting officer arrived on the scene at 11:36 p.m. Officer Hancock spoke with the assisting officer and informed him that his background checks revealed prior drug and handgun possession charges against both Tinker and Dowdell.[1] At almost 11:38 p.m., Officer Hancock returned to Tinker's vehicle and asked Tinker to step out of the vehicle. As Tinker opened the door and exited the vehicle, Officer Hancock could smell the distinct odor of raw marijuana. Officer Hancock asked Tinker if he could pat him down, and Tinker consented. Then Officer Hancock explained to Tinker exactly why he pulled him over, and he stated that he planned to give Tinker only a verbal warning for the traffic infractions. Officer Hancock also questioned Tinker to clarify where he and Dowdell came from and where they were headed. Tinker told Officer Hancock that they were from Fort Wayne and had come to Indianapolis to a barber shop either to meet a friend or to get a haircut, and now they were headed back to Fort Wayne.

         [¶5] At 11:40 p.m., Officer Hancock requested Dowdell to also exit the vehicle in order to ask him the same questions, and while he was speaking to Dowdell, at 11:41 p.m., the canine unit was on the scene and immediately did a walk around the vehicle. The canine quickly alerted on the vehicle, and a subsequent search of the vehicle's trunk revealed 3.45 pounds of marijuana packaged in vacuum-sealed bags. Officers also found two cell phones during the search of the vehicle. Tinker and Dowdell were arrested.

         [¶6] The State charged Tinker with two counts of level 6 felony dealing in marijuana, and two counts of class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Tinker filed a motion to suppress the evidence obtained as a result of the search of his vehicle. Following a hearing, the trial court entered an order denying the motion to suppress. A jury trial was held on August 30, 2018. During trial, Tinker renewed his objection to the admission of any evidence obtained as a result of the search of his vehicle. The trial court overruled his objection and admitted the evidence. The jury found Tinker guilty of one count of level 6 felony dealing in marijuana and one count of class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana.[2] The trial court sentenced Tinker to 730 days, with sixty days executed in the Department of Correction, 305 days on home detention, and 365 days suspended to probation. This appeal ensued.

         Discussion and Decision

         [¶7] Tinker asserts that the trial court abused its discretion in admitting evidence seized during the search of his vehicle. Our supreme court has explained our standard of review when, as here, a defendant fails to seek interlocutory review of the trial ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.