Britt v. State, No. 3-1278A335

Docket NºNo. 3-1278A335
Citation395 N.E.2d 859, 182 Ind.App. 546
Case DateOctober 24, 1979
CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana

Page 859

395 N.E.2d 859
182 Ind.App. 546
Kenneth BRITT, Appellant (Defendant Below),
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee (Plaintiff Below).
No. 3-1278A335.
Court of Appeals of Indiana, Third District.
Oct. 24, 1979.

Page 860

Harriette Bailey Conn, Public Defender, Susan K. Carpenter, Deputy Public Defender, Indianapolis, for appellant.

Theodore L. Sendak, Atty. Gen., Gordon R. Medlicott, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

[182 Ind.App. 547] STATON, Judge.

Kenneth Britt was found guilty of first degree burglary. In his appeal to this Court, Britt contends that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress certain evidence and that the verdict was not supported by sufficient evidence.

We affirm.

I.

Motion to Suppress

On the evening of March 12, 1975, Ralph and Estalee Stetler received a telephone call from an unidentified person informing them that Britt was threatening them and that he was on his way to their house with a gun. Britt had formerly been married to the Stetlers' daughter. After receiving the call, the Stetlers locked the doors and left the house. When they returned later that night, Ralph Stetler entered the house through the back door. As he proceeded through the darkened house he was confronted by Britt, who was holding a shotgun. Britt had gained access to the house by breaking a pane of glass in the back door and had cut himself in doing so. A struggle ensued during which the shotgun was fired. Britt then departed.

The Stetlers contacted the police and explained what had happened. The police were unable to locate Britt in the vicinity of the Stetler residence, so they proceeded to Britt's house. When they arrived at Britt's house, they observed fresh blood on the door. They knocked on the door, announced themselves as police officers and entered the house. They found Britt in bed fully clothed and placed him under arrest. At the head of the bed, the police observed a shotgun. At trial, Britt objected to the admission of the shotgun contending that it had been obtained in an unlawful search and seizure.

The precise issues before us are: (1) whether police officers may, without consent, enter a suspect's house to make a warrantless arrest; (2) if so, under what circumstances; and (3) whether those circumstances existed in the case at bar. We conclude that the police may make such entries under certain circumstances and that those circumstances existed in the case at bar.

Page 861

In seeking the proper resolution of these issues, we draw upon two [182 Ind.App. 548] important considerations. First, an arrest is not illegal merely because it was effected in the suspect's home. The authority of the police to enter a suspect's home for the purpose of making an arrest with an arrest warrant has been well-recognized in this state. IC 1971, 35-1-19-6, Ind.Ann.Stat. § 9-1009 (Burns Code Ed.), provides:

"To make an arrest in criminal actions the officer may break open any outer or inner door or window of a dwelling house or any other building or inclosure to execute the warrant, if, after notice of his authority and purpose, he be refused admittance."

Second, it is not always necessary to procure an arrest warrant prior to making an arrest. Hadley v. State (1968), 251 Ind. 24, 238 N.E.2d 888. Although an arrest warrant should be obtained whenever practicable, Bryant v. State (1973), 157 Ind.App. 198, 299 N.E.2d 200, an exception to the warrant requirement arises when a police officer has probable cause to arrest a suspect but exigent circumstances make the procurement of an arrest warrant impracticable. 1 Banks v. State (1976), 265 Ind. 71, 351 N.E.2d 4.

A police officer may enter the suspect's home to make a warrantless arrest if the officer complies with the provisions of IC 35-1-19-6. In other words, a police officer may, after "knocking and announcing," 2 enter a suspect's home to make a warrantless arrest when he has probable cause to arrest the suspect and exigent circumstances make it impracticable to obtain a warrant.

Probable cause to arrest exists where the facts and circumstances within the arresting officer's knowledge or of which he had reasonably trustworthy information would lead a reasonably prudent man to believe that the arrestee had committed or was committing an offense. Francis v. State (1974),161 Ind.App. 371, 316 N.E.2d 416. Britt concedes that the police had...

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9 practice notes
  • Bottoms v. B & M Coal Corp., No. 1-379A63
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • June 4, 1980
    ...for illegal acts committed in the presence 11 of police officers. A warrant was therefore unnecessary. Britt v. State, (1979) Ind.App., 395 N.E.2d 859; Gilman v. State, (1979) Ind.App., 389 N.E.2d 327. Additionally, the officers had probable cause to make the arrests. The test for probable ......
  • Harrison v. State, No. 2-680A191
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • August 25, 1981
    ...cause to arrest the suspect and exigent circumstances make it impracticable to obtain a warrant. Britt v. State, (1979) Ind.App., 395 N.E.2d 859. Probable cause to arrest exists where the facts and circumstances within the arresting officer's knowledge, or of which he had reasonably trustwo......
  • Brown v. State, No. 181S13
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • December 29, 1982
    ...Works v. State, (1977) 266 Ind. 250, 362 N.E.2d 144; Hart v. State, (1924) 195 Ind. 384, 145 N.E. 492; Britt v. State, (1979) Ind.App., 395 N.E.2d 859. It is also clear that the existence of probable cause to arrest is determined upon the basis of the collective information known to the law......
  • Hampton v. State, No. 4-1283A414
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • October 4, 1984
    ...(1977) 266 Ind. 250, 258, 362 N.E.2d 144, 148; Elliot v. State, (1982) Ind.App., 435 N.E.2d 302, 304; Britt v. State, (1979) Ind.App., 395 N.E.2d 859, 861, n. 1. The question of whether there is probable cause for the arrest is determined by the facts and circumstances within the knowledge ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • Bottoms v. B & M Coal Corp., No. 1-379A63
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • June 4, 1980
    ...for illegal acts committed in the presence 11 of police officers. A warrant was therefore unnecessary. Britt v. State, (1979) Ind.App., 395 N.E.2d 859; Gilman v. State, (1979) Ind.App., 389 N.E.2d 327. Additionally, the officers had probable cause to make the arrests. The test for probable ......
  • Harrison v. State, No. 2-680A191
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • August 25, 1981
    ...cause to arrest the suspect and exigent circumstances make it impracticable to obtain a warrant. Britt v. State, (1979) Ind.App., 395 N.E.2d 859. Probable cause to arrest exists where the facts and circumstances within the arresting officer's knowledge, or of which he had reasonably trustwo......
  • Brown v. State, No. 181S13
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • December 29, 1982
    ...Works v. State, (1977) 266 Ind. 250, 362 N.E.2d 144; Hart v. State, (1924) 195 Ind. 384, 145 N.E. 492; Britt v. State, (1979) Ind.App., 395 N.E.2d 859. It is also clear that the existence of probable cause to arrest is determined upon the basis of the collective information known to the law......
  • Hampton v. State, No. 4-1283A414
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • October 4, 1984
    ...(1977) 266 Ind. 250, 258, 362 N.E.2d 144, 148; Elliot v. State, (1982) Ind.App., 435 N.E.2d 302, 304; Britt v. State, (1979) Ind.App., 395 N.E.2d 859, 861, n. 1. The question of whether there is probable cause for the arrest is determined by the facts and circumstances within the knowledge ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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