Harrison v. State, No. 2-680A191

Docket NºNo. 2-680A191
Citation424 N.E.2d 1065
Case DateAugust 25, 1981
CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana

Page 1065

424 N.E.2d 1065
David HARRISON, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.
No. 2-680A191.
Court of Appeals of Indiana, Fourth District.
Aug. 25, 1981.

Page 1067

John O. Moss, Moss & Walton, Indianapolis, for appellant-defendant.

Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen., Frederick N. Kopec, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee-plaintiff.

CHIPMAN, Presiding Judge.

David D. Harrison is appealing his conviction by a Marion County jury for burglary, IC 35-43-2-1, and theft, IC 35-43-4-2. 1 Harrison contends the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence found at the time of his arrest, that his verdict was not supported by sufficient evidence and that the court erred by allowing one of the jurors to take written notes continuously during the trial. Harrison also contends counsel failed to provide him with effective assistance at trial.

We affirm the conviction.

I. MOTION TO SUPPRESS

A reading of the record most favorable to the State discloses that at about 7:00 a. m. on October 9, 1978, Indianapolis police were called to investigate a burglary at the PTS Electronics store, 1406 N. Pennsylvania. Upon arrival, the police found a plate glass window broken, blood inside the store, "a pretty big size puddle of blood" on the sidewalk amid the broken glass and drops of blood leading from the store to an apartment building across the street. Several officers followed the trail of blood while officer Robert Davidson interviewed the store manager, who told Davidson that among the items missing were an electric typewriter and an electric calculator.

The trail of blood led up a flight of stairs to a blood-smeared apartment door. Officer Davidson was summoned. Upon his arrival the police knocked at the door and announced themselves as police officers. There was no response from inside the apartment.

Officer Davidson kicked in the door and the police entered without a warrant. They found Harrison standing at his kitchen sink tending to an injured arm. Blood was in the sink and on the floor. Davidson testified that he could see a typewriter smeared with blood at the foot of Harrison's bed. Officers with Davidson testified that upon entering they could see the typewriter, an electric calculator, a paperweight with PTS Electronics printed on it and a planter with broken glass in it. The items were in plain view in the one-room apartment. Harrison was arrested, his arm bandaged, and he was placed in a police car while the store manager identified the items and police took photographs.

Harrison subsequently moved to suppress the evidence found at his apartment as fruit of an illegal search. He contends the police were without probable cause to believe a felony had been committed when they entered the apartment. Consequently no probable cause existed to arrest Harrison and any subsequent search of the apartment was violative of his constitutional right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. Moreover, Harrison contends that even if probable cause could be shown, there was time and opportunity to obtain a proper warrant and accordingly no exigent circumstances existed to justify the warrantless entry.

The first issue framed for appeal, then, is under what circumstances may police officers enter a suspect's home with neither an arrest warrant nor a search warrant, and whether any of those circumstances exist in this case. Where there is probable cause that a particular suspect is

Page 1068

inside the home, a warrant is a condition precedent to a valid search and seizure except where the exigencies of the situation require an immediate response. Payton v. New York, (1980) 445 U.S. 573, 100 S.Ct. 1371, 63 L.Ed.2d 639; Ludlow v. State, (1974) 262 Ind. 266, 314 N.E.2d 750; Rihl v. State, (1980) Ind.App., 413 N.E.2d 1046. The validity of a warrantless search thus turns upon the facts and circumstances of each case. Rihl v. State, supra.

The United States Supreme Court in Payton v. New York, supra, held that the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, made applicable to the states by Mapp v. Ohio, (1961) 367 U.S. 643, 81 S.Ct. 1684, 6 L.Ed.2d 1081 and Wolf v. Colorado, (1949) 338 U.S. 25, 69 S.Ct. 1359, 93 L.Ed. 1782, prohibits police from making a warrantless and nonconsensual entry into a suspect's home to make a routine felony arrest. The Court in Payton, however, did not have an "occasion to consider the sort of emergency or dangerous situation, described in our cases as 'exigent circumstances,' that would justify a warrantless entry into a home for the purpose of either arrest or search." Payton v. New York, supra, 100 S.Ct. 1371 at 1378.

In Indiana, a police officer may enter a suspect's home to make a warrantless arrest if the officer complies with the provisions of IC 35-1-19-6. 2 In other words, a police officer may, after "knocking and announcing," 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. 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 trustworthy information, would lead a reasonably prudent man to believe the arrestee had committed or was committing an offense. Francis v. State, (1974) 161 Ind.App. 371, 316 N.E.2d 416.

Harrison's two-prong attack on the evidence in the case at bar challenges both the sufficiency of probable cause and the existence of exigent circumstances. The defendant contends the police could not have known a felony had been committed when they entered the apartment, and there was no emergency which would justify entry without a warrant. We disagree. The facts necessary to demonstrate the existence of probable cause for a warrantless search are not materially different from those which would authorize the issuance of a warrant if presented to a magistrate. Whiteley v. Warden, (1971) 401 U.S. 560, 91 S.Ct. 1031, 28 L.Ed.2d 306; State v. Mooney, (1979) Ind.App., 398 N.E.2d 698. The record indicates Officer Davidson had interviewed the PTS manager before going to Harrison's apartment and knew certain items had been stolen. Therefore, Davidson knew he was investigating a burglary. Testimony at trial indicates that blood at the scene and on the apartment door was still wet and led directly from the burglarized store to the apartment. It was therefore at least probable the suspect was inside and bleeding. Where police are led by a still-wet trail of blood to an apartment from a burglary scene where there is broken glass and a pool of blood, sufficient probable cause exists to support a warrant to search the apartment for the suspect believed to be hiding inside.

However, probable cause alone is not sufficient to justify entry into a suspect's home to search or arrest without a warrant. Payton v. New York, supra. In the case at bar, the fresh blood on the door was not only an indication the suspect was inside but also was injured and possibly still bleeding. Because the suspect failed to respond to the officer's knocks and calls, it was not unreasonable to infer he was unconscious or at least unable to answer. Police officers

Page 1069

testified there was a "fairly good amount of blood on the glass" at the store, that "there was a considerable amount of blood in front of the store and going to the apartment," that "there was blood smeared on the door," and that there were "drops of blood on the carpet leading to Mr. Harrison's apartment." Officer Davidson testified that, "Well, we believed that possibly the suspect who had been involved was in there and that, also, since there was a considerable amount of loss of blood, we were concerned for the safety of his life. There was, like I say, a lot of blood and we didn't know exactly what situation he was in."

It does not seem unreasonable to this court that a police officer could believe a person was injured and bleeding heavily inside the apartment and time was of the essence to aid the injured. That hindsight might later show emergency aid was not required is not material to determining the reasonableness of the officer's judgment immediately before entering the home.

We hold that evidence of bleeding in sufficient quantity to produce a puddle of fresh blood at the scene and a trail of blood across a street and up a flight of stairs is a sufficient exigent circumstance to permit police to enter a home without a warrant to aid the victim after there is no response to the officer's knocks or calls.

Where there is probable cause that a suspect is inside his home, and where there is evidence he is injured and bleeding heavily, police need not delay their efforts to reach him. Justification to enter the privacy of a home to aid the injured, however, is not a carte blanche to search a home for criminal evidence. In the case at bar, only those crime-connected items within the plain view of the officers may be subject to seizure and then only if observed from a vantage point at which the officer is lawfully present, its incriminating nature is immediately apparent and its discovery is inadvertent. Coolidge v. New Hampshire, (1971) 403 U.S. 443, 91 S.Ct. 2022, 29 L.Ed.2d 564; Ludlow v. State, (1974) Ind., 314 N.E.2d 750.

At the time of entry, police officers knew an office typewriter and calculator had been stolen. At trial, officers testified that upon entering the...

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14 practice notes
  • State v. Straub, No. 41A01-0101-CR-23.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • May 30, 2001
    ...cause to arrest the suspect and exigent circumstances making it impractical to first procure an arrest warrant. Harrison v. State, 424 N.E.2d 1065, 1068 (1981) (emphasis added). We have Courts should take a very hard line against the search of a person's home without a warrant or consent; a......
  • Mowrer v. State, No. 4-782A164
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • April 19, 1983
    ...warrant. No warrant is required where exigent circumstances make procuring a warrant impracticable. Harrison v. State, (1981) Ind.App., 424 N.E.2d 1065, 1068. In this case, the arresting officers had gotten the tip implicating Mowrer on March 4, 1980, and had located him in his hotel by 3 a......
  • Sayre v. State, No. 3-184A26
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • December 5, 1984
    ...search for more explosives held proper to protect public); 2) to aid a person in need of assistance, Harrison v. State (1981), Ind.App., 424 N.E.2d 1065 (puddle of blood at scene and fresh trail of blood followed to house where police entered after receiving no response to knocks and calls)......
  • Hampton v. State, No. 4-1283A414
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • October 4, 1984
    ...defendant committed the offense in question. See, Battle v. State, (1981) Ind., 415 N.E.2d 39, 42; Harrison v. State, (1981) Ind.App., 424 N.E.2d 1065, Page 1080 Under the facts here presented, Hampton's behavior provided probable cause for his arrest for public intoxication. Porter v. Stat......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
14 cases
  • State v. Straub, No. 41A01-0101-CR-23.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • May 30, 2001
    ...cause to arrest the suspect and exigent circumstances making it impractical to first procure an arrest warrant. Harrison v. State, 424 N.E.2d 1065, 1068 (1981) (emphasis added). We have Courts should take a very hard line against the search of a person's home without a warrant or consent; a......
  • Mowrer v. State, No. 4-782A164
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • April 19, 1983
    ...warrant. No warrant is required where exigent circumstances make procuring a warrant impracticable. Harrison v. State, (1981) Ind.App., 424 N.E.2d 1065, 1068. In this case, the arresting officers had gotten the tip implicating Mowrer on March 4, 1980, and had located him in his hotel by 3 a......
  • Sayre v. State, No. 3-184A26
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • December 5, 1984
    ...search for more explosives held proper to protect public); 2) to aid a person in need of assistance, Harrison v. State (1981), Ind.App., 424 N.E.2d 1065 (puddle of blood at scene and fresh trail of blood followed to house where police entered after receiving no response to knocks and calls)......
  • Hampton v. State, No. 4-1283A414
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • October 4, 1984
    ...defendant committed the offense in question. See, Battle v. State, (1981) Ind., 415 N.E.2d 39, 42; Harrison v. State, (1981) Ind.App., 424 N.E.2d 1065, Page 1080 Under the facts here presented, Hampton's behavior provided probable cause for his arrest for public intoxication. Porter v. Stat......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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