Baker v. State , No. 89S01–1109–CR–543.

Docket NºNo. 89S01–1109–CR–543.
Citation968 N.E.2d 227
Case DateJune 12, 2012

968 N.E.2d 227

Michael W. BAKER, Appellant (Defendant below),
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee (Plaintiff below).

No. 89S01–1109–CR–543.

Supreme Court of Indiana.

June 12, 2012.


[968 N.E.2d 228]


Amy K. Noe, Richmond, IN, Attorney for Appellant.

Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General of Indiana, Ann L. Goodwin, Janine S. Huffman, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, IN, Attorneys for Appellee.


On Transfer from the Indiana Court of Appeals, No. 89A01–1010–CR–536.

DICKSON, Chief Justice.

Defendant Michael W. Baker challenges the sufficiency of the evidence underlying his conviction for burglary. He contends that the State failed to adduce any evidence that would permit a reasonable jury to conclude that he acted with the requisite intent. We disagree and hold that there was sufficient evidence of intent to support the defendant's conviction.

On the morning of Monday, January 22, 2008, a member of Harvest Time Tabernacle Church visited the church to pray. The member was the only person present that morning and let himself in using his key to the church. Upon entering, the member proceeded downstairs to the basement where he noticed a broken window and blood nearby. The member then called the pastor of the church and the police, both of whom arrived shortly thereafter. Further inspection of the church revealed dents and scratches on the front door which were characterized by witnesses as pry marks, blood and glass near the front door, a lacerated window screen on another unbroken window, blood on the door leading into the church nursery, and several kitchen cabinets and drawers standing ajar with blood stains on the outside of them. No other evidence of the apparent intruder was discovered, and it appeared that nothing had been removed from the church. DNA collected from the scene matched that of the defendant, and the parties later stipulated that the defendant was the source of the DNA collected at the church.

The State charged the defendant with burglary of a structure used for religious worship with the intent to commit theft, a class B felony under Indiana Code Section 35–43–2–1(1)(B)(ii). The State also filed an Information 1 seeking to have the defendant sentenced, if convicted, as a habitual offender under Indiana Code Section 35–50–2–8 based on two of the defendant's unrelated felony convictions. The defendant pled “not guilty” to the burglary charge and pled “guilty” to the habitual

[968 N.E.2d 229]

offender charge. At his trial, the jury found the defendant guilty of class B burglary. The defendant has appealed his conviction on the ground that there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction for burglary. The Court of Appeals reversed the defendant's conviction for burglary, concluding that “[t]here is insufficient evidence of Baker's intent to commit theft within the church.” Baker v. State, No. 89A01–1010–CR–536, 2011 WL 2436932, at *4 (Ind.Ct.App. June 17, 2011). We granted transfer and now affirm the defendant's conviction for burglary.

When reviewing a claim of insufficient evidence, an appellate court “considers only the evidence most favorable to the verdict and any reasonable inferences that may be drawn from that evidence. If a reasonable finder of fact could determine from the evidence that the defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, then we will uphold the verdict.” Freshwater v. State, 853 N.E.2d 941, 942 (Ind.2006) (citing Justice v. State, 530 N.E.2d 295, 296 (Ind.1988)) (citations omitted) (internal quotation marks omitted). We do not reweigh the evidence or judge the credibility of witnesses. McHenry v. State, 820 N.E.2d 124, 126 (Ind.2005); Walker v. State, 442 N.E.2d 696, 698 (Ind.1982). These evaluations are for the trier of fact, not appellate courts. In essence, we assess only whether the verdict could be reached based on reasonable inferences that may be drawn from the evidence presented. Kidd v. State, 530 N.E.2d 287, 287 (Ind.1988).

Burglary is the breaking and entering of the building or structure of another person with the intent to commit a specific felony therein.2Ind. Code § 35–43–2–1; Gilliam v. State, 508 N.E.2d 1270, 1270 (Ind.1987); Yeagley v. State, 467 N.E.2d 730, 736 (Ind.1984). The defendant admits that the evidence is sufficient to prove that he broke and entered the church, Appellant's Am. Br. at 4, but he argues that the State failed to produce any evidence that would support the inference that he broke and entered with the intent to commit theft inside the church.3 He claims that the “evidence only establishes that [he] entered through a window, went to the kitchen, and opened cupboards and drawers” but not that he “rummaged through” them in any manner that would evince an intent to commit theft. Id. He also asserts that there is no evidence that he took anything or “went anywhere near valuable property.” Id. The State responds that evidence suggesting that the defendant opened the cupboards and drawers in the kitchen is enough to support a reasonable inference that the defendant “was looking for something to steal” and thus enough to support an inference that he broke and entered the church with the intent to commit theft inside. Appellee's Br. at 5. We agree with the State.

“Burglars rarely announce their intentions at the moment of entry,” Gilliam, 508 N.E.2d at 1271, and indeed many times there is no one around...

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93 practice notes
  • Ward v. State, No. 49A02–1401–CR–25.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • August 15, 2014
    ...only whether the verdict could be reached based on reasonable inferences that may be drawn from the evidence presented.” Baker v. State, 968 N.E.2d 227, 229 (Ind.2012) (emphasis in original). Upon review, appellate courts do not reweigh the evidence or assess the credibility of the witnesse......
  • Weathers v. State, No. 49A04–1601–CR–3.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • August 17, 2016
    ...only whether the verdict could be reached based on reasonable inferences that may be drawn from the evidence presented.” Baker v. State, 968 N.E.2d 227, 229 (Ind.2012) (emphasis in original). Upon review, appellate courts do not reweigh the evidence or assess the credibility of the witnesse......
  • Bradley v. State, No. 49A05–1404–CR–181.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • September 16, 2015
    ...only whether the verdict could be reached based on reasonable inferences that may be drawn from the evidence presented.” Baker v. State, 968 N.E.2d 227, 229 (Ind.2012) (emphasis in original). Upon review, appellate courts do not reweigh the evidence or assess the credibility of the witnesse......
  • Rodgers v. State, No. 71A05–1302–CR–73.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • June 10, 2013
    ...only whether the verdict could be reached based on reasonable inferences that may be drawn from the evidence presented.” Baker v. State, 968 N.E.2d 227, 229 (Ind.2012). Upon review, appellate courts do not reweigh the evidence or assess the credibility of the witnesses. Stewart v. State, 76......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
93 cases
  • Ward v. State, No. 49A02–1401–CR–25.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • August 15, 2014
    ...only whether the verdict could be reached based on reasonable inferences that may be drawn from the evidence presented.” Baker v. State, 968 N.E.2d 227, 229 (Ind.2012) (emphasis in original). Upon review, appellate courts do not reweigh the evidence or assess the credibility of the witnesse......
  • Weathers v. State, No. 49A04–1601–CR–3.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • August 17, 2016
    ...only whether the verdict could be reached based on reasonable inferences that may be drawn from the evidence presented.” Baker v. State, 968 N.E.2d 227, 229 (Ind.2012) (emphasis in original). Upon review, appellate courts do not reweigh the evidence or assess the credibility of the witnesse......
  • Bradley v. State, No. 49A05–1404–CR–181.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • September 16, 2015
    ...only whether the verdict could be reached based on reasonable inferences that may be drawn from the evidence presented.” Baker v. State, 968 N.E.2d 227, 229 (Ind.2012) (emphasis in original). Upon review, appellate courts do not reweigh the evidence or assess the credibility of the witnesse......
  • Rodgers v. State, No. 71A05–1302–CR–73.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • June 10, 2013
    ...only whether the verdict could be reached based on reasonable inferences that may be drawn from the evidence presented.” Baker v. State, 968 N.E.2d 227, 229 (Ind.2012). Upon review, appellate courts do not reweigh the evidence or assess the credibility of the witnesses. Stewart v. State, 76......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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