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Kifer v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

December 4, 2019

David Kifer, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

          Appeal from the Vanderburgh Circuit Court Cause No. 82C01-1903-F6-1559 The Honorable Michael J. Cox, Magistrate

          Attorney for Appellant Tyler Helmond Voyles Vaiana Lukemeyer Baldwin & Webb Indianapolis, Indiana

          Attorneys for Appellee Frank A. Negangard Chief Deputy Attorney General Stephen R. Creason Angela Sanchez Sarah J. Shores Deputy Attorneys General Indianapolis, Indiana

          RILEY, JUDGE.

         STATEMENT OF THE CASE

         [¶1] Appellant-Defendant, David A. Kifer (Kifer), appeals his conviction for criminal trespass, as a Level 6 felony, Ind. Code § 35-43-2-2(b)(1).

         [¶2] We reverse.

         ISSUE

         [¶3] Kifer presents this court with two issues on appeal, one of which we find dispositive and which we restate as: Whether the State presented sufficient evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to support Kifer's conviction for criminal trespass.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         [¶4] On March 1, 2005, David Rector (Rector), the general manager for the Evansville Vanderburgh County Building Authority (Building Authority), mailed a letter to Kifer, alerting him to "[p]lease be advised that you are no longer permitted to be in the Civic Center Complex. This action is required in order to protect the safety of those who visit and work in the Civic Center Complex." (Transcript Vol. II, p. 63). The Civic Center Complex consists of three buildings and houses different government agencies, including the county courts, the police department, and the city and county administrative offices. On February 14, 2009, Kifer was sentenced in an unrelated case and the trial court, referencing the earlier ban, suggested that he contact the sheriff's office several days in advance if he needed to enter the building. The sheriff's office would then provide him with an escort to the specific office that he needed to visit.

         [¶5] On March 4, 2019, Kifer arrived at the Civic Center Complex wanting to make a report at the police station. Kifer believed that he had just come "from a place where [his] life was threatened, knives were held on [him], and [he] managed to escape." (Tr. Vol. II, p. 108). Kifer entered the Civic Center Complex through the entrance closest to the police department. Two officers staffed the entrance and both of them knew Kifer and were aware that he was banned from the building. The officers did not ask him to leave, nor did an officer escort Kifer, and there is no evidence an escort request had been made. Kifer passed through the entrance's screening mechanisms and proceeded to the police department to make his report. After entering the police department and reporting the alleged crime, Kifer was placed under arrest.

         [¶6] On March 6, 2019, the State filed an Information, charging Kifer with criminal trespass, a Class A misdemeanor, which was enhanced to a Level 6 felony due to a prior trespass conviction. On April 12, 2019, the trial court conducted a bifurcated jury trial, at the close of which Kifer was found guilty of criminal trespass. He subsequently admitted to the prior conviction under the enhancement charge. On May 21, 2019, Kifer was sentenced to a two-year executed sentence at the Department of Correction.

         [¶7] Kifer now appeals. Additional facts will be ...


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