Rodney W. Falls, Appellant-Defendant,
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff
from the Kosciusko Superior Court Trial Court Cause No.
43D03-1802-F6-166 The Honorable Joe V. Sutton, Judge
Attorney for Appellant Donald R. Shuler Barkes, Kolbus, Rife
& Shuler, LLP Goshen, Indiana
Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Tiffany A. McCoy Deputy Attorney General
Rodney Falls appeals his conviction and the sentence imposed
by the trial court for Level 6 Felony Stalking,
arguing that (1) the trial court erred when it refused to
give his proffered jury instruction; (2) the evidence was
insufficient to support his conviction; and (3) the sentence
is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and
his character. Finding no error, the evidence sufficient, and
the sentence not inappropriate, we affirm.
On the evening of February 13, 2018, A.G. left Valparaiso
after visiting with her boyfriend. A.G. exited Interstate 65
onto U.S. Highway 30 and stopped at a red light. A.G. then
saw a man later identified as Falls in the car next to hers.
Falls waved at A.G., but A.G. ignored him and started to
drive as soon as the light turned green. A.G. noticed that
Falls immediately got behind her as she started to drive
A.G. suspected that Falls was following her because every
time she switched lanes, sped up, or slowed down, Falls did
exactly the same. No matter what A.G. did, Falls mimicked her
actions and stayed behind her for almost an hour to an hour
and a half. A.G. realized that she was running low on gas,
but she still had a long distance to drive before she
returned to her school. She began calculating how long she
could go before she had to stop for gas. Ultimately, she
decided to do the following:
[I]t was going to be better to try to push that then it would
to stop and risk. Like I would rather risk knowing that tank
is going to run out and knowing I have that opportunity to
call somebody like a police officer or if I was close enough
to somebody that I know would be able to handle that
situation or like that was the better option for me than
stopping at a place where I don't know anyone and so far
Tr. Vol. II p. 128. A.G. decided to drive until she got to
After exiting U.S. Highway 30 into Warsaw, A.G. saw that
Falls had followed her into town. She then drove through
numerous residential streets, circling different areas and
driving up and down the same lanes to see if it was just a
coincidence that Falls had followed her thus far. Again,
Falls mimicked her actions, drove down the same roads, and
trailed closely behind her.
Terrified, A.G. drove to the Warsaw Police Department to find
help. A.G. parked her vehicle in the visitor's parking
lot, but Falls pulled up and parked in between where A.G. was
parked and the entrance to the police station. Falls waved at
A.G. A.G. testified that she did not want to exit her vehicle
out of fear that Falls would harm her, so she drove back to
the residential streets. Again, Falls followed her. A.G.
called the Warsaw Police Department to make sure it was open.
After someone informed her that it was open, A.G. sped for
the police station in order to lose Falls. A.G. returned,
parked in the same parking space, and quickly walked towards
the front door. A.G. then saw Falls pull into the
visitor's parking lot, park next to her vehicle, and wave
at her again.
Inside, Lynne Lafollette, the Chief's assistant at the
Warsaw Police Department, and Ellen Hoffer, a clerical
worker, saw A.G. walk into the station looking
"nervous" and "very frightened."
Id. at 157. Suspicious that something was not right,
Lafollette buzzed A.G. into the building, even though doing
so went against protocol. Hoffer notified Sergeant Lewis
Fuller about what had happened, and Sergeant Fuller went to
talk with and subsequently arrest Falls for stalking.
Sergeant Fuller then impounded Falls's vehicle because he
had been arrested and because he had parked in a handicap
spot without proper signage. Sergeant Fuller conducted a
search of Falls's vehicle pursuant to his arrest and
found a baggie of marijuana.
On February 15, 2018, the State charged Falls with one count
of Level 6 felony stalking and one count of Class B
misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Falls was released on
bond, but on February 21, 2018, the State filed and was
granted a motion to revoke bond because Falls had been
arrested for criminal battery. Falls had previously been
convicted of Class D felony burglary and theft/receiving
stolen property, along with five other felonies.
Before the end of Falls's October 30, 2018, jury trial,
Falls asked the trial court to provide the jury with an
instruction detailing the Fifth Amendment right to travel as
a constitutionally protected activity. The instruction reads
The right to travel is a constitutionally protected activity.
The right to travel is part of the 'liberty' of which
the citizen cannot be deprived without due process of law
under the 5th Amendment.
The right to remove from one place to another according to
inclination is an attribute of personal liberty protected
by the Constitution.
App. Vol. II p. 117. The State objected to the instruction as
meritless and lacking in probative value. Following rebuttal,
the trial court denied Falls's request to tender it as a
final instruction to the jury. The jury found Falls guilty as
At the November 27, 2018, sentencing hearing, the trial court
identified four aggravating factors: (1) Falls's criminal
history; (2) his prior charges of invasion of privacy; (3)
his bond/pre-trial release violation; and (4) his past
violation of probation. Id. at 185. The trial court
found no mitigating factors. Id. Thereafter, Falls
was sentenced to consecutive sentences of thirty months for