726 N.E.2d 823 (Ind.App. 2000), 49A02-9910-CR-708, Whitney v State

Docket Nº49A02-9910-CR-708
Citation726 N.E.2d 823
Party NameJOHN WHITNEY, Appellant-Defendant, vs. STATE OF INDIANA, Appellee-Plaintiff.
Case DateApril 07, 2000
CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana

Page 823

726 N.E.2d 823 (Ind.App. 2000)

JOHN WHITNEY, Appellant-Defendant,

vs.

STATE OF INDIANA, Appellee-Plaintiff.

No. 49A02-9910-CR-708

In the Court of Appeals of Indiana

April 7, 2000

APPEAL FROM THE MARION COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT: The Honorable John Downer, Judge, Cause No. 49F18-9901-DF-007625

Page 824

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: JANICE L. STEVENS, Marion County Public Defender, Indianapolis, Indiana

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: JEFFREY A. MODISETT, Attorney General of Indiana, KOSTAS A. POULAKIDAS, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana

OPINION

VAIDIK, Judge

Case Summary

John Whitney challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction for possession of cocaine, 1 a class D felony, following a bench trial. Specifically, he asserts that the State failed to show that he had constructive possession of the cocaine found in the car. He argues that 1) he did not have the intent to commit the crime because he did not have knowledge of the cocaine's presence, and 2) he did not have the ability to maintain control over the cocaine because it was hidden in a secret compartment of a vehicle he had borrowed from another. Because we conclude that Whitney's exclusive possession

Page 825

of the car, along with the evidence of his marijuana use, establishes his intent and ability to control the cocaine, we affirm.

Facts and Procedural History

The facts most favorable to the judgment are as follows. On January 14, 1999, around 8:00 pm, police officer Charles Benner stopped Whitney for a traffic violation. Whitney was the sole occupant of the vehicle. Officer Benner asked Whitney for his driver's license. Since he did not have a license, Whitney produced a state identification card. Officer Benner returned to his police vehicle and ran a check on the status of Whitney's license. The check revealed that Whitney was driving with a suspended license. At that time, Officer Benner placed Whitney under arrest. Officer Benner handcuffed Whitney and took him to the back of the car.

During his contact with Whitney, Officer Benner smelled the odor of marijuana in the car and saw in plain view a partially smoked marijuana cigarette on the floor of the driver's compartment. Record at 47. After the arrest of Whitney, Officer Benner returned to the vehicle Whitney had been driving and retrieved the marijuana cigarette. Upon collection of the cigarette, Officer Benner searched the vehicle for other contraband. During the search, Office Benner noticed that the panel above the glove compartment was loose, so he popped it open. Officer Benner found a brown paper bag containing two plastic bags hidden inside. One plastic bag contained marijuana and the other cocaine.

Whitney was charged with possession of marijuana, 2 a class A misdemeanor, possession of cocaine, a class D felony, and driving while suspended, 3 a class A misdemeanor. Following a bench trial on May 26, 1999, the trial court found Whitney guilty of possession of cocaine and possession of marijuana. Whitney now appeals his conviction for possession of cocaine. 4

Discussion and Decision

When reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence, we neither reweigh the evidence nor determine the credibility of witnesses. Smith v. State, 678 N.E.2d 1152, 1155 (Ind. Ct. App. 1997), trans. denied. We look solely to the evidence most favorable to the verdict together with all reasonable inferences to be drawn therefrom. Id. A conviction will be affirmed if the probative evidence and reasonable inferences to be drawn from the evidence could have allowed a reasonable trier of fact to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Wooden v. State, 657 N.E.2d 109, 111 (Ind. 1995). "Where the evidence of guilt is essentially circumstantial, the question for the reviewing court is whether reasonable minds could reach the inferences drawn by the jury; if so, there is sufficient evidence." Bruce v. State, 268 Ind. 180, 375 N.E.2d 1042, 1080 (1978), cert. denied, 439 U.S. 988. Furthermore, we "need not determine whether the circumstantial evidence is adequate to overcome every reasonable hypothesis of innocence, but rather whether inferences may be reasonably drawn from that evidence which supports the verdict beyond a reasonable doubt." Bustamante v. State, 557 N.E.2d 1313, 1318 (Ind. 1990) (citation omitted).

Whitney alleges that the evidence is not sufficient to support his conviction. Specifically, he argues that he lacked the necessary intent and the ability to maintain dominion...

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41 practice notes
  • 762 N.E.2d 208 (Ind.App. 2002), 49A02-0107-CR-485, Armour v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • February 5, 2002
    ...the State must demonstrate that the defendant is able to reduce the controlled substance to his personal possession. Whitney v. State, 726 N.E.2d 823, 826 (Ind.Ct.App.2000). "Proof of a possessory interest in the premises in which the illegal drugs are found is adequate to show the cap......
  • 930 N.E.2d 633 (Ind.App. 2010), 40A05-0911-CR-659, Calvert v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • July 27, 2010
    ...is whether reasonable minds could reach the inferences drawn by the jury; if so, there is sufficient evidence." Whitney v. State, 726 N.E.2d 823, 825 (Ind.Ct.App.2000) (quotation omitted). B. Attempted Robbery Calvert argues the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction of att......
  • 787 N.E.2d 473 (Ind.App. 2003), 49A05-0208-CR-408, Allen v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • May 5, 2003
    ...reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence, we neither reweigh the evidence nor determine the credibility of witnesses. Whitney v. State, 726 N.E.2d 823, 825 (Ind.Ct.App.2000). We look solely to the evidence most favorable to the verdict together with all reasonable inferences to be drawn th......
  • 925 N.E.2d 787 (Ind.App. 2010), 49A02-0907-CR-682, Bush v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • April 27, 2010
    ...on the part of the passenger, which may have long predated Bush's rental of the car, was likely to be found inside. Cf. Whitney v. State, 726 N.E.2d 823, 826 (Ind.Ct.App.2000) (court will not impute intent to possess hidden contraband based solely upon possession of borrowed automobile). Fu......
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41 cases
  • 925 N.E.2d 787 (Ind.App. 2010), 49A02-0907-CR-682, Bush v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • April 27, 2010
    ...on the part of the passenger, which may have long predated Bush's rental of the car, was likely to be found inside. Cf. Whitney v. State, 726 N.E.2d 823, 826 (Ind.Ct.App.2000) (court will not impute intent to possess hidden contraband based solely upon possession of borrowed automobile). Fu......
  • 762 N.E.2d 208 (Ind.App. 2002), 49A02-0107-CR-485, Armour v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • February 5, 2002
    ...the State must demonstrate that the defendant is able to reduce the controlled substance to his personal possession. Whitney v. State, 726 N.E.2d 823, 826 (Ind.Ct.App.2000). "Proof of a possessory interest in the premises in which the illegal drugs are found is adequate to show the cap......
  • 787 N.E.2d 473 (Ind.App. 2003), 49A05-0208-CR-408, Allen v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • May 5, 2003
    ...reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence, we neither reweigh the evidence nor determine the credibility of witnesses. Whitney v. State, 726 N.E.2d 823, 825 (Ind.Ct.App.2000). We look solely to the evidence most favorable to the verdict together with all reasonable inferences to be drawn th......
  • 990 N.E.2d 68 (Ind.App. 2013), 02A05-1210-CR-518, Walton v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • June 28, 2013
    ...review is whether reasonable minds could reach the inferences drawn by the jury; if so, there is sufficient evidence. Whitney v. State, 726 N.E.2d 823, 825 Walton argues there was insufficient evidence he carried a handgun without a license. " [A] person shall not carry a handgun in an......
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