Bessler v. State, No. 15A04-1201-CR-37

CitationNo. 15A04-1201-CR-37
Case DateDecember 31, 2012
CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana

ROY BESSLER, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
STATE OF INDIANA, Appellee-Plaintiff

No. 15A04-1201-CR-37

COURT OF APPEALS OF INDIANA

December 31, 2012


Pursuant to Ind. Appellate Rule 65(D), this Memorandum Decision shall not be regarded as precedent or cited before any court except for the purpose of establishing the defense of res judicata, collateral estoppel, or the law of the case.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT:

JEFFREY E. STRATMAN
Aurora, Indiana

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE:

GREGORY F. ZOELLER
Attorney General of Indiana

JOSEPH Y. HO
Deputy Attorney General
Indianapolis, Indiana

APPEAL FROM THE DEARBORN SUPERIOR COURT
The Honorable Jonathon N. Cleary, Judge
Cause No. 15D01-1105-FA-012

MEMORANDUM DECISION - NOT FOR PUBLICATION

MATHIAS, Judge

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Roy Bessler ("Bessler") was convicted after a jury trial in Dearborn Superior Court of two counts of Class B felony dealing in cocaine and two counts of Class A felony dealing in cocaine. Bessler was sentenced to concurrent sentences for the four counts with an executed sentence of thirty years in the Indiana Department of Correction. Bessler appeals and argues that the trial court improperly admitted evidence of his subsequent bad acts to show his predisposition to engage in the conduct and that his executed sentence of thirty years is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and his character.

We affirm.

Facts and Procedural History

On January 5, 2011, a Confidential Informant ("the CI")1 contacted Detective Shane McHenry ("Detective McHenry") of the Dearborn County Sheriff's Department and informed the detective that Bessler had been dealing cocaine. The CI provided specific details regarding Bessler's operations, and, based on those details, the officers began to surveil Bessler.

On January 14, 2011, the CI contacted Detective McHenry and stated that Bessler had asked her if she had any friends that wanted cocaine. Undercover officer, Detective Nicholas Beetz ("Detective Beetz") met with Bessler and the CI that evening to perform a controlled buy of cocaine. They met in a parking lot, and Detective Beetz got into Bessler's truck. While Detective Beetz, the CI, and Bessler were in the truck, Bessler

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retrieved cocaine2 from the glove box and handed it to the CI, who then conveyed it to Detective Beetz in exchange for $250. On January 17, 2011, Detective Beetz contacted the CI, and Bessler, who was with the CI at the time, agreed to sell Detective Beetz his remaining cocaine and said he could also get Detective Beetz an "eight ball" in a couple of days.3 Later that day, Detective Beetz met with Bessler and purchased Bessler's remaining cocaine4 for $150.

On January 25, 2011, Bessler contacted Detective Beetz, and when Detective Beetz returned his call, Bessler agreed to sell him more cocaine. Detective Beetz purchased over three grams of cocaine5 from Bessler for $300 and was given additional cocaine6 with payment to be made at a later date. On January 28, 2011, Beetz paid Bessler $300 for the cocaine he had received in advance on January 25, 2011. Then later that day he again purchased cocaine7 paying $300 dollars and promising to pay an additional $300 in the future, which Detective Beetz paid on February 4, 2011.

On February 24, 2011, detectives conducted additional surveillance and saw Bessler meet with a suspected supplier of marijuana and return to his apartment with a large duffel bag. Bessler also met with Detective Beetz that day, and Bessler discussed whether Detective Beetz might be interested in transporting marijuana for him. After

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obtaining a search warrant for Bessler's apartment and truck, officers seized twenty pounds of marijuana. Bessler was then arrested and charged, in a separate cause of action from the current case, with Class C felony possession with intent to deliver marijuana.

On May 27, 2011, Bessler was charged with the crimes at issue in this appeal, two counts of Class B felony dealing in cocaine and two counts of Class A felony dealing in cocaine over three grams all based on the earlier cocaine sales to Officer Beetz. On November 22, 2011, Bessler filed a Motion on the Defense of Entrapment.

At trial, which began on December 12, 2011, Bessler argued the defense of entrapment. The State raised Bessler's subsequent possession of marijuana as evidence that he had a predisposition to engage in dealing cocaine. After a four-day jury trial, the jury found Bessler guilty on all counts. On January 6, 2012, Bessler was sentenced to twenty years on both Count I and Count II and to thirty years on both Count III and Count IV, all to be served concurrently in the Indiana Department of Correction. Bessler now appeals.

I. Admission of Subsequent Misconduct into Evidence to Show Predisposition

Bessler argues that the trial court erred by allowing the State to admit evidence of Bessler's subsequent bad acts to show his predisposition to engage in dealing cocaine and that the trial court erred by failing to give a limiting instruction regarding the marijuana

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evidence. At trial, Bessler raised entrapment8 as a defense. The defense of entrapment turns on "the defendant's state of mind[,]" namely whether the defendant originally had the criminal intent or whether government action induced the criminal action. Scott v. State, 772 N.E.2d 473, 475 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002), trans. denied. "If a defendant indicates that he intends to rely on the defense of entrapment and establishes police inducement, the burden shifts to the State to demonstrate the defendant's predisposition to commit the crime." Espinoza v. State, 859 N.E.2d 375,...

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