from the Marion Superior Court Trial Court Cause No.
49G07-1905-CM-19900 The Honorable Clayton A. Graham, Judge
Attorney for Appellant Joel M. Schumm Indianapolis, Indiana
Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Lauren A. Jacobsen Deputy Attorney General
of the Case
Colin Caesar appeals his conviction for theft, as a Class A
misdemeanor, following a bench trial. Caesar raises one issue
for our review, namely, whether the trial court abused its
discretion when it admitted as evidence an officer's
testimony about the content of security footage.
and Procedural History
On May 18, 2019, Taylor Golden was working as a cashier at a
CVS store in Indianapolis. At some point that morning, Caesar
walked into the store, "went right past the front
of" Golden, and went to the refrigerators, where Golden
"saw him grab two Red Bulls[.]" Tr. Vol. II at 9.
Caesar walked up a different aisle of the store and started
"looking to see if anybody was watching him."
Id. at 10. Caesar then filled a bright blue bag with
items from the store and walked toward the doors without
stopping at a cash register to pay. When Caesar got to the
doors, Golden asked him to stop and return the items, but
Caesar told Golden that he "don't gotta give [her]
back s**t." Id. at 10. Caesar then "took
off," and Golden called the police. Id. at 12.
Sergeant Tamar Harper with the Indianapolis Metropolitan
Police Department received a dispatch report that a black
male who was wearing a black shirt and sunglasses on his head
and who was carrying a "bright blue Happy Birthday
bag" had just stolen items from a CVS. Id. at
23. Sergeant Harper and another officer responded to the call
and located Caesar, who had a bright blue bag and who
"match[ed] the description" of the suspect, in a
parking lot across the street from the CVS. Id. At
that point, the other officer detained Caesar, and Sergeant
Harper went to CVS to speak with Golden. Because Sergeant
Harper had already seen Caesar in the parking lot with the
bright blue bag, she reviewed the security footage from CVS
"to see if it was the same person." Id. at
24. On the video, Sergeant Harper was able to see a
"black male wearing sunglasses that had on a black shirt
with some white . . . symbols on there walking out with the
At that point, Sergeant Harper took Golden to Caesar's
location in order to conduct a show-up identification, and
Golden "positively" identified Caesar. Id.
at 25. Because Caesar had been "not even three
feet" away from Golden in the CVS, Golden was
"certain" that Caesar was the same man who had
stolen the items. Id. at 14. Sergeant Harper then
seized the blue bag that Caesar had in his possession, and
she found that it was "full of merchandise" that
"had 'CVS' on them." Id. at 25,
The State charged Caesar with one count of theft, as a Class
A misdemeanor.The trial court held a bench trial on July
22. During the trial, the State presented as evidence the
testimony of Golden and Sergeant Harper. During Sergeant
Harper's testimony, the State asked her to describe what
she had seen on the CVS security footage. At that point,
Caesar objected on the ground that the testimony
"violates the best evidence rule[.]" Id.
at 24. When Caesar attempted to explain his objection
further, the trial court twice interjected and overruled his
objection. Sergeant Harper then testified that, when she
reviewed the security footage, she saw a man who
"matched the description" of "the male that
was being . . . detained at the time" leave the store
"past all points of payment and that he had a bag."
Id. at 25. At the conclusion of the bench trial, the
court found Caesar guilty of theft, as a Class A misdemeanor,
and sentenced him to one year suspended to nonreporting
probation. This appeal ensued.
Caesar contends that the trial court abused its discretion
when it admitted certain evidence. ...