Guilmette v. State, No. 71S04–1310–CR–705.

Docket NºNo. 71S04–1310–CR–705.
Citation14 N.E.3d 38
Case DateAugust 13, 2014
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

14 N.E.3d 38

Douglas A. GUILMETTE, Appellant (Defendant below)
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee (Plaintiff below).

No. 71S04–1310–CR–705.

Supreme Court of Indiana.

Aug. 13, 2014.


14 N.E.3d 39

Philip R. Skodinski, South Bend, IN, Attorney for Appellant.

Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General of Indiana, Karl M. Scharnberg, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, IN, Attorneys for Appellee.

On Petition to Transfer from the Indiana Court of Appeals, No. 71A04–1205–CR–250

MASSA, Justice.

This appeal presents us with a single question: must police have a warrant before subjecting lawfully seized evidence to laboratory testing if that evidence is unrelated to the crime for which the defendant is in custody? We think not, and thus we affirm the trial court.

Facts and Procedural History

On the evening of September 13, 2010, Doug Guilmette and his co-worker Greg Piechocki were visiting the home of their employer, Kevin Rieder. Around 12:30 a.m., Rieder took a sleeping pill and went to sleep in another room with the door closed and the fan on high. Sometime later, Piechocki went to sleep in the second bedroom. During the early morning hours of September 14, Guilmette entered that bedroom and stole Piechocki's car keys and $280 in cash. Guilmette then drove Piechocki's car to Wal–Mart and Meijer, where he shoplifted several items of merchandise. He returned to Rieder's home around 7:00 a.m., parked Piechocki's car on the street in front of the house, and left again.

That afternoon, Rieder discovered Piechocki's body in the spare bedroom. A forensic pathologist later determined Piechocki suffered at least ten blows to his head, causing multiple skull fractures, and at least fifteen blows to his body—all consistent with being hit by a baseball bat.

Police questioned Guilmette, but he initially denied any involvement in the murder and claimed he rode a bicycle to Wal–Mart and Meijer. At a second interview, however, after police confronted Guilmette with surveillance video showing him driving Piechocki's car at both Wal–Mart and Meijer, Guilmette admitted he took Piechocki's keys and money. At the conclusion of that interview, police arrested Guilmette on two counts of theft. They also seized his clothing, including his shoes, in accordance with their standard booking

14 N.E.3d 40

protocols. When police inspected Guilmette's clothing, they found what appeared to be blood under the laces of his left shoe. Testing revealed the presence of Piechocki's DNA in that blood.

The State charged Guilmette with four felonies: one count of murder, two counts of theft, and one count of habitual offender status. Guilmette moved to suppress the DNA evidence found on his shoe, arguing the police should have obtained a separate warrant before subjecting the shoe to testing. After a hearing, the trial court denied that motion. Guilmette was convicted on all charges, and the trial court sentenced him to ninety-two years of imprisonment.

Guilmette appealed, arguing (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction, (2) the trial court erred by giving the State's tendered instruction on accessory liability, and (3) the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress the DNA evidence found on his shoe. In a published opinion, a panel of our Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court. Guilmette v. State, 986 N.E.2d 335, 343 (Ind.Ct.App.2013). As to the DNA evidence from Guilmette's shoe, the panel stated it should not have been admitted but found the error harmless because “the DNA evidence from the shoe was not the strongest evidence of guilt” and four separate and independent witnesses testified Guilmette had confessed the crime to them. Id. at 341.

We granted transfer, thereby vacating the opinion below. Guilmette v. State, 996 N.E.2d 327 (Ind.2013) (table); Ind. Appellate Rule 58(A).

Standard of Review

As a procedural matter, Guilmette contends the trial court should have granted his motion to suppress the DNA evidence. But because his case proceeded to trial where he renewed his objection to the admission of that evidence, his appeal is better framed as a request to review the trial court's ruling on its admissibility. Clark v. State, 994 N.E.2d 252, 259 (Ind.2013) (“Direct review of the denial of a motion to suppress is only proper when the defendant files an interlocutory appeal.”).1

The trial court has broad discretion to rule on the admissibility of evidence. Id. at 259–60. We review its rulings “for abuse of that discretion and reverse only when admission is clearly against the logic and effect of the facts and circumstances and the error affects a party's substantial rights.” Id. But when an appellant's challenge to such a ruling is predicated on an argument that impugns the constitutionality of the search or seizure of the evidence, it raises a question of law, and we consider that

14 N.E.3d 41

question de novo. Kelly v. State, 997 N.E.2d 1045, 1050 (Ind.2013).

The Trial Court Did Not Err by Admitting the DNA from Guilmette's Shoe Into Evidence Against Him.

Guilmette argues the admission of the DNA evidence violated Article 1, Section 11 of...

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81 practice notes
  • Pinner v. State, No. 49S02-1611-CR-610
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • May 9, 2017
    ...is premised on a claimed constitutional violation, we review the issue de novo because it raises a question of law. Guilmette v. State , 14 N.E.3d 38, 40-41 (Ind. 2014).Discussion The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees "[t]he right of the people to be secure in th......
  • Jacobs v. State, No. 49A02–1601–CR–19.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • November 7, 2016
    ...it raises a question of law, and we consider that question de novo. Kelly v. State, 997 N.E.2d 1045, 1050 (Ind.2013).Guilmette v. State, 14 N.E.3d 38, 40–41 (Ind.2014). Further, when reviewing a trial court's ruling on the admissibility of evidence obtained from an allegedly illegal search,......
  • Hardin v. State, Supreme Court Case No. 20S-CR-418
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • June 23, 2020
    ...approach and do not require officers to undertake duplicative tasks. See Garcia , 47 N.E.3d at 1203 (quoting Guilmette v. State , 14 N.E.3d 38, 42 (Ind. 2014) ) (noting that it "would be extremely cumbersome to require law enforcement to take the ‘belt-and-suspenders’ approach of applying f......
  • Barker v. State, Court of Appeals Case No. 45A03–1701–CR–123
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • March 19, 2018
    ...upon trial evidence and may consider hearing [96 N.E.3d 647evidence only if it does not conflict with trial evidence. Guilmette v. State , 14 N.E.3d 38, 40 n.1 (Ind. 2014). [27] Barker argues that he had standing to object to the warrantless search of the apartment under both the Fourth Ame......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
82 cases
  • Pinner v. State, No. 49S02-1611-CR-610
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • May 9, 2017
    ...is premised on a claimed constitutional violation, we review the issue de novo because it raises a question of law. Guilmette v. State , 14 N.E.3d 38, 40-41 (Ind. 2014).Discussion The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees "[t]he right of the people to be secure in th......
  • Jacobs v. State, No. 49A02–1601–CR–19.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • November 7, 2016
    ...it raises a question of law, and we consider that question de novo. Kelly v. State, 997 N.E.2d 1045, 1050 (Ind.2013).Guilmette v. State, 14 N.E.3d 38, 40–41 (Ind.2014). Further, when reviewing a trial court's ruling on the admissibility of evidence obtained from an allegedly illegal search,......
  • Hardin v. State, Supreme Court Case No. 20S-CR-418
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • June 23, 2020
    ...approach and do not require officers to undertake duplicative tasks. See Garcia , 47 N.E.3d at 1203 (quoting Guilmette v. State , 14 N.E.3d 38, 42 (Ind. 2014) ) (noting that it "would be extremely cumbersome to require law enforcement to take the ‘belt-and-suspenders’ approach of applying f......
  • Barker v. State, Court of Appeals Case No. 45A03–1701–CR–123
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • March 19, 2018
    ...upon trial evidence and may consider hearing [96 N.E.3d 647evidence only if it does not conflict with trial evidence. Guilmette v. State , 14 N.E.3d 38, 40 n.1 (Ind. 2014). [27] Barker argues that he had standing to object to the warrantless search of the apartment under both the Fourth Ame......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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